Below is a quick and dirty timeline of issues relating to NSA surveillance, with links to histories, individuals, subtexts, code names, and reports; NYCLU also has a timeline. The timeline outlined here is a rough history to illustrate warrantless surveillance and whistleblowing are not recent issues of concern, nor is surveillance recently institutionalized via law, regulation, and so on. I’m sure a few individual whistleblowers and codenames are missing, so apologies.
2014 ~ Citizenfour | Bill Binney explains the Snowden docs | Bill Binney testifies to the German Bundestag’s NSA inquiry committee | PCLOB Report: We Don’t Know How Many Americans’ Emails the NSA Collects Under Section 702 | “NSA is Targeting Users of Privacy Services” (TOR) | More revelations from the “Snowden files”
2013 ~ Edward Snowden | National Security Agency Data Collection Programs (June 18, House Select Committee on Intelligence, C-SPAN) | More from Russ Tice | Executive Order 13636 | National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2013 | 2009 NSA-FISA Court IG report released
2006 ~ Mark Klein | Russ Tice | James Risen | Lesley Cauley on “call detail records” | Wartime Executive Power and the National Security Agency’s Surveillance Authority: Hearing before the Committee on the Judiciary, United States Senate, One Hundred Ninth Congress, second session, (February 6, February 28, and March 28) | EPIC NSA FOIA docs | ACLU vs. NSA
2003 ~ CAPPS II
2000 ~ Carnivore Diagnostic Tool
1996 ~ Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, P.L. 104-132 enacted | Hager, Secret Power
1994 ~ Current and Projected National Security Threats to the United States (includes material on NSA) | Interception of International Telecommunications by the National Security | Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, P.L. 103-414 enacted
1984 ~ James Bamford discusses the NSA
1982 ~ James Bamford
1981 ~ Executive Order 12333
1975 ~ Church Committee (L. Britt Snider) | Operation Shamrock | The National Security Agency and Fourth Amendment Rights, Hearings, Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities (October 29 and November 6)
1973 ~ Ervin Committee
1970 ~ Christopher Pyle
For additional historical information, see Jeffrey T. Richelson’s (Ed.; 2000) The National Security Agency: Declassified.