Project SHAMROCK

May 15th, 2006

Project SHAMROCK, considered to be the sister project for Project MINARET, was an espionage exercise that involved the accumulation of all telegraphic data entering into or exiting from the United States. The Armed Forces Security Agency (AFSA) and its successor NSA were given direct access to daily microfilm copies of all incoming, outgoing, and transiting telegraphs via the Western Union and its associates RCA and ITT. Operation Shamrock lasted well into the 1960s when computerized operations (HARVEST) made it possible to search for keywords rather than read through all communications.

Project SHAMROCK became so successful that in 1966 the NSA and CIA set up a front company in Lower Manhattan (where the offices of the telegraph companies were located) under the codename LPMEDLEY. At the height of Project SHAMROCK, 150,000 messages a month were printed and analyzed by NSA agents. In May 1975 however, congressional critics began to investigate and expose the program. As a result, NSA director Lew Allen terminated it. The testimony of both the representatives from the cable companies and of director Allen at the hearings prompted Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Sen. Frank Church to conclude that Project SHAMROCK was probably the largest government interception program affecting Americans ever undertaken.”

One result of these investigations was the creation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) which limited the powers of the NSA and put in place a process of warrants and judicial review.
“Operation Shamrock” was also the name of a plan to bring chidren to Ireland from post World War II Germany

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_SHAMROCK

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