A Most Unusual Collection Agency

How the U.S. undid UNSCOM through its empire of electronic ears

As NSA outstations were closed or remoted, new and relatively smaller intercept facilities— such as the "gateway" facility in Bahrain, reportedly used for retransmit signals intercepted in Baghdad last year to the U.S.— sprang up around the world. In addition to providing NSA operators with fresh and exotic duty stations, the new stations reflected an enhanced mission for NSA economic intelligence gathering. Scrapping its old Cold War A and B Group SIGINT organization, NSA expanded the functions of its W Group to include SIGINT operations against a multitude of targets. Another unit, M Group, would handle intercepts from new technologies like the Internet.

Many people who follow the exploits of SIGINT and NSA are eager to peruse lists of secret listening posts operated by the agency and its partners around the world. While a master list probably exists somewhere in the impenetrable lair that is the NSA's Fort Meade, Maryland, headquarters, it is assuredly stamped with one of the highest security classifications in the U.S. intelligence community. — W.M. & J.V.


The United States SIGINT System (USSS)

The following list is the best unclassified shot at describing the locations of the ground-based "ears" of the Puzzle Palace. It is culled from press accounts, informed experts, and books written about the NSA and its intelligence partners. It does not include the numerous listening units on naval vessels and aircraft nor those operating from U.S. and foreign embassies, consulates, and other diplomatic missions.

United States


NSA Headquarters, Fort Meade, Maryland
Buckley Air National Guard Ground Base, Colorado
Fort Gordon, Georgia (RSOC)
Imperial Beach, California
Kunia, Hawaii (RSOC)
Northwest, Virginia
Sabana Seca, Puerto Rico
San Antonio, Texas (RSOC)
Shemya, Alaska -3
Sugar Grove, West Virginia
Winter Harbor, Maine
Yakima, Washington

Albania


Durrës -6
Shkodër -6
Tirana -6

Ascension Island


Two Boats -1

Australia


Bamaga -6 -7
Cabarlah -7
Canberra (Defense Signals Directorate Headquarters) -5
Harman -7
Kojarena, Geraldton -1
Nurunggar -1
Pearce -1
Pine Gap, Alice Springs -1
Riverina -7
Shoal Bay, Darwin -1
Watsonia -1

Austria


Konigswarte -7
Neulengbach -7

Bahrain


Al-Muharraq Airport -3
Bosnia and Herzegovina

Botswana


Mapharangwane Air Base

British Indian Ocean Territory

Brunei

Canada


Alert -7
Gander -7
Leitrim -1
Masset -6 -7
Ottawa [Communications Security Establishment (CSE) Headquarters] -5

China


Korla -1 -6
Qitai -1 -6

Croatia


Brac Island, Croatia -6
Zagreb-Lucko Airport -7

Cuba

Cyprus


Ayios Nikolaos -1

Denmark


Aflandshage -7
Almindingen, Bornholm -7
Dueodde, Bornholm -7
Gedser -7
Hjørring -7
Løgumkløster -7

Eritrea


Dahlak Island -1 (NSA/Israel "8200" site)

Estonia


Tallinn -7

Ethiopia

Finland


Santahamina -7

French Guiana

Germany


Achern -7
Ahrweiler -7
Bad Aibling -2
Bad Münstereifel -7
Braunschweig -7
Darmstadt -7
Frankfurt -7
Hof -7
Husum -7
Mainz -7
Monschau -7
Pullach (German Federal Intelligence Service Headquarters) -5
Rheinhausen -7
Stockdorf -7
Strassburg -7
Vogelweh, Germany

Gibraltar


Gibraltar -7

Greece


Iráklion, Crete

Guam


Finegayan

Hong Kong


British Consulate, Victoria ("The Alamo") -7

Iceland

India


Charbatia -7

Israel


Herzliyya (Unit 8200 Headquarters) -5
Mitzpah Ramon -7
Mount Hermon, Golan Heights -7
Mount Meiron, Golan Heights -7

Italy


San Vito -6
Sorico

Japan


Futenma, Okinawa
Hanza, Okinawa
Higashi Chitose -7
Higashi Nemuro -7
Kofunato -7
Miho -7
Misawa
Nemuro -7
Ohi -7
Rebunto -7
Shiraho -7
Tachiarai -7
Wakkanai

Korea (South)


Kanghwa-do Island -7
Osan -1
Pyong-dong Island -7
P'yongt'aek -1
Taegu -1 -2 -6
Tongduchon -1
Uijongbu -1
Yongsan -1

Kuwait


Kuwait

Latvia

Lithuania


Vilnius -7

Netherlands


Amsterdam (Technical Intelligence Analysis Center (TIVC) Headquarters)-5
Emnes -7
Terschelling -7

New Zealand


Tangimoana -7
Waihopai -1
Wellington (Government Communications Security Bureau Headquarters -5

Norway


Borhaug -7
Fauske/Vetan -7
Jessheim -7
Kirkenes -1
Randaberg -7
Skage/Namdalen -7
Vadsø -7
Vardø -7
Viksjofellet -7

Oman


Abut -1
Goat Island, Musandam Peninsula -3
Khasab, Musandam Peninsula -3
Masirah Island -3

Pakistan

Panama


Galeta Island -3

Papua New Guinea

Portugal


Terceira Island, Azores

Rwanda

São Tomé and Príncipe


Pinheiro

Saudi Arabia


Araz -7
Khafji -7

Singapore


Kranji -7

Spain


Pico de las Nieves, Grand Canary Island -7
Manzanares -7
Playa de Pals -3
Rota

Solomon Islands


Honiara -7

Sri Lanka


Iranawilla

Sweden


Karlskrona -7
Lovön (Swedish FRA Headquarters) -7
Muskö -7

Switzerland


Merishausen -7
Rüthi -7

Taiwan:


Quemoy -7
Matsu -7
Shu Lin Kuo -5 (German Federal Intelligence Service/NSA/Taiwan J-3 SIGINT service site)

Turkey


Adana
Agri -7
Antalya -7
Diyarbakir
Edirne -7
Istanbul -7
Izmir -7
Kars
Sinop -7

Thailand


Aranyaprathet -7
Khon Kaen -1 -3
Surin -7
Trat -7

Uganda


Kabale
Galangala Island, Ssese Islands (Lake Victoria)

United Arab Emirates


Az-Zarqa¯ -3
Dalma¯ -3
Ras al-Khaimah -3
Sir Abu Nuayr Island -3

United Kingdom:


Belfast (Victoria Square) -7
Brora, Scotland -7
Cheltenham (Government Communications Headquarters) -5
Chicksands -7
Culm Head -7
Digby -7
Hawklaw, Scotland -7
Irton Moor -7
Menwith Hill, Harrogate -1 (RSOC)
Molesworth -1
Morwenstow -1
Westminster, London -7
(Palmer Street)
Yemen
Socotra Island (planned)

KEY:

-1 Joint facility operated with a SIGINT partner.

-2 Joint facility partially operated with a SIGINT partner.

-3 Contractor-operated facility.

-4 Remoted facility.

-5 NSA liaison is present.

-6 Joint NSA-CIA site.

-7 Foreign-operated "accommodation site" that provides occasional SIGINT product to the USSS.

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