Quiz: Can You Answer All of These Questions About the NSA?
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Can You Answer All of These Questions About the NSA?
By: Geoff Hoppe
Image: Photography by Stuart Mackenzie / Moment / Getty Images

About This Quiz

Founded in 1952, the National Security Agency has been responsible for collecting vital information for decades. But as one of America's premiere cloak-and-dagger organizations, information about the NSA is not easy to come by. 

The NSA has been responsible for cracking enemy codes, encrypting vital American communications and even alerting America to Soviet spies who sought to steal American nuclear secrets. While the NSA has come under fire in the second decade of the 2000s, that controversy is merely one part of the longer history of the National Security Agency. 

The NSA has been involved in the development of computers, codes, espionage and even satellite technology that have helped protect the United States. Thanks to their work, America was able to keep up with the Soviet Union during the darkest days of the Cold War. On the other hand, some cite NSA programs as examples of overreaching. Whichever side of the debate you lean toward, the only way to make an informed decision is to first see just how much you know about America's most secret spy agency.

Can you ferret out the necessary facts to piece together a picture of the National Security Agency? 

1 of 35
In what year was the NSA founded?
3 of 35
Which NSA project decoded Soviet communications, and has been called a "central reference point" for anti-Soviet counter-intelligence?
4 of 35
What mysterious-sounding organization, founded in 1919, was the forerunner of the NSA?
5 of 35
What Indianan was responsible for the creation of the NSA's forerunner?
6 of 35
Where were the NSA's headquarters going to be, until too many employees objected?
7 of 35
Which NSA director is famous for centralizing different military cryptologic units under NSA authority?
8 of 35
What is the formal name for the study of code-breaking?
9 of 35
The NSA is currently experimenting with this field, which builds on revolutionary ideas in physics.
10 of 35
Which NSA contractor famously exposed classified intelligence documents in 2013?
11 of 35
Where is the NSA's massive new data storage facility?
12 of 35
Which NSA project's goal was to increase computer speed?
13 of 35
Which NSA project created a think tank focused on solving cryptologic challenges?
14 of 35
Which NSA body brought academics and government cryptographers together, so the NSA could keep up with new research?
15 of 35
Which director of the NSA was appointed in May 2018?
16 of 35
Which longtime NSA deputy director got the name "Dr. No" for his tendency to refuse proposals?
18 of 35
What two-word alliterative nickname has been applied to the NSA?
19 of 35
What was the nickname for the giant antenna arrays the NSA used to intercept foreign signals?
22 of 35
Which NSA director took over in 1977, restructured the agency's system of promotions, and helped navigate NSA-congressional relations?
23 of 35
Which committee's report determined that the NSA's work was integral to American intelligence, and that this work would require outside help?
24 of 35
Which NSA project monitored all telegraphs sent to, or from, America?
25 of 35
Which airplane, used from the 1960s to 1990, became an important asset in data collection for the NSA?
26 of 35
What was the nickname assigned to satellites whose information was used by the NSA?
27 of 35
Which class of satellite allowed the NSA to monitor microwave communications?
28 of 35
What listening station in Iran allowed the NSA to monitor Soviet missile launches?
29 of 35
Which 1978 legislation curtailed the powers of the NSA, and other intelligence agencies?
30 of 35
Which West Virginia site is the location of one failed NSA project, but is still used as a listening post?
31 of 35
Which surveillance program, formally begun in 1971, was started to monitor the Soviet Union and its allies?
32 of 35
Which NSA program gathers intelligence from internet companies?
33 of 35
Which surveillance program, begun shortly after 9/11, allowed the NSA to monitor domestic communications?
34 of 35
The NSA seal depicts an eagle holding what object?
35 of 35
NSA communications intercepts provided the necessary justification for the bombing of what African dictatorship?
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