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Even in the 1960s, the NSA was sweeping up phone call records 'like a giant vacuum'

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NSA HQ 1950s
NSA HQ 1950s

Face it: the NSA knows plenty about you, and our growing reliance on technology is only making the agency's controversial surveillance efforts easier. But the National Security Agency has been around for a long time, predating the internet and your email inbox by decades. Even when the agency wasn't collecting cell phone records or purposefully looking at your Gmail inbox, its mission was largely the same. The Washington Post recently took a look at the agency's ways of old, and much like today, the NSA's aggressive approach to monitoring international communications often raised eyebrows.

During the 1960s, every call placed between the US and Cuba was monitored by NSA staffers. The agency also put a microscope on political radicals, anti-war protestors, and civil rights activists throughout that era. And it wasn't long before technology provided a powerful assist; by 1983, the NSA's computers gave it the ability to analyze each and every international telegram sent to and dispatched from the United States.