SID Today isone, two, sometimes three pages of usually secret (or higher) banter that started popping up on NSA desktops back in March 2003. The first edition of SID Today popped on screens on the last day of March 2003 and, in lighthearted language, introduced the NSA’s newest internal communications efforts: “The idea is to bring together communications from across the SIGINT Directorate in a single webpage. This should provide a good picture of what’s going on in SID, and enable easy access. Let’s go on a quick tour.” Yes, lets.  The welcome letter explains that some of the information is administrative in nature—calendars and employee outreach (“Mo’s Mailbag and What’s on Your Mind”). And some of it’s more sensitive—SID reports and information about the grinding war in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the war on terror spanning the globe.


You can .zip all of this to your own computer, so I’ll just hit a few eye-catching highlights. Respected journalist Peter Maass reports, “In the first nine years of SIDtoday’s life, more than 4,500 stories were posted on the website, a gold mine of often mundane, occasionally revealing articles that made the agency human and comprehensible in a way that technical documents could not.”

Indeed, in this latest dump of 2004’s SID Today, you find reports like “Practical Jokes and April Fools (repost),” “Go to the Pentagon, Get a Pay Raise!” and the “First Annual ‘Sidney’ Award,” essentially the best of SID Today’s articles selected by readers. And there are helpful guides for cleared employees like “OPSEC in SID – Some Answers” that reminds “that OPSEC is a five-step process which can be applied to any position or job function . . . .”

Then there are more interesting titles: “What Does the Future Hold? SINIO Forecast for 2006-2010,” which answer the (U) question “What will the World Look Like at the End of the First Decade of this Century?” with a (S) response predicting that the “world is likely to see terrorists conduct a chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear (CBRN) attack on the United States or its overseas interests, more involvement of criminal elements in enabling terrorists to penetrate US borders, and continued, but highly cloaked efforts by potential adversary states to acquire WMD capabilities for their perceived deterrence qualities.” Nope.

Check out “(S//SI) Exploiting Terrorists’ Passwords.” “Exploiting Terrorists’ Passwords” explains, that when ops capture terrorists’ computers and etc., the SIGINT Forensics Lab hands them over to POD 31 (hmmmmm): “The Pod’s suite of tools automatically scans text documents, e-mails, web pages and other files to identify passwords. In this manner they harvested hundreds of thousands of occurrences of passwords, some accompanied by collateral account information, all of which can be used to support SIGINT exploitation in various ways.” (TS//SI) The JUMBLEDPET Password-Guessing Team that may “break very hard passwords with very little work.”


So, if you’re done (or bored) diving into CIA’s declassified reports, spend some time reading through NSA classifieds.

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Ed Ledford enjoys the most challenging, complex, and high stakes communications requirements. His portfolio includes everything from policy and strategy to poetry. A native of Asheville, N.C., and retired Army Aviator, Ed’s currently writing speeches in D.C. and working other writing projects from his office in Rockville, MD. He loves baseball and enjoys hiking, camping, and exploring anything. Follow Ed on Twitter @ECLedford.