Press

Listen in on friends, but only when necessary

FORTY-FOUR years before German Chancellor Angela Merkel discovered that the National Security Agency had been listening to her cellphone calls, President Nixon met with South Korean President Park Chung-Hee to discuss a substantial boost in American military aid to thwart a worrisome threat from North Korea.

That August 1969, summit meeting in San Francisco was as lopsided as a diplomatic mismatch could be: Well before the two men sat down, Nixon had a detailed list of what Park would ask for — and another list of what he was willing to settle for — all thanks to the cryptographers at the NSA, spying on yet another US ally. In that technologically primitive era, the agency easily intercepted scores of encrypted high-level South Korean government cables, handily broke the codes, and let the US intelligence community in on the most closely held secrets in the Seoul government.

Read the full article at The Boston Globe →