Title: New Contact-Chaining Procedures to Allow Better, Faster Analysis

Release Date: 2013-09-28

Document Date: 2011-01-03

Description: This NSA memo, dated 3 January 2011, draws analysts’ attention to a rule change, allowing “contact chaining, and other analysis, from and through any selector, irrespective of nationality and location, in order to follow or discover valid foreign intelligence targets”: see the New York Times article N.S.A. Gathers Data on Social Connections of U.S. Citizens, […]

Document: (S//SI//REL) New Contact-Chaining Procedures to Allow Better,
Faster Analysis


Run Date: 01/03/2011

(U//FOUO) Editor’s note: A briefing will be held on 7 January from 1000-1130
in the Friedman Auditorium at NS AW regarding the new procedures described
below. All SID employees are welcome to attend.

(S//SI//REL) Analysts and Mission Managers: On 29 November. SIGINT
I signed SID Management Directive fSMDi 424. which changes
procedures regarding metadata analysis. Specifically, these new procedures
permit contact chaining, and other analysis, from and through
any selector, irrespective of nationality or location, in order to
follow or discover valid foreign intelligence targets. (Formerly
analysts were required to determine whether or not selectors w:ere associated
with US communicants.)

(U) The Impact

(S//SI//KEL) These new procedures allow NS A to fully exploit
communications metadata (which is strictly defined in the procedures), for
foreign intelligence purposes, without the restrictions associated with selection
of communications content. The impact of the new procedures is two-fold. In
the first place it allows NSA to discover and track connections between foreign
intelligence targets and possible 2nd Party or US communicants. I11 the second
place it enables large-scale graph analysis on very large sets of
communications metadata without having to check foreignness of every node
or address in the graph. Analysts in S2 have used this to great benefit over the
past year and a half under a pilot program,

(U) Compliance Issues

(S//SI//REL) SIGIIST Management Directive 424 (“SIGDJT Development --
Communications Metadata Analysis"} provides guidance on the NSA/CSS
implementation of the “Department of Defense Supplemental Procedures
Governing Communications Metadata Analysis? (SPCMA), as approved by the
U.S. Attorney General and the Secretary of Defense. The SPCMA covers
communications metadata collected under Executive Order 12333 authorities.

(S//SI//REL) As does any new authority or capability, the Supplemental
Procedures (SPCMA) come with a cost in terms of additional care that we must
take with respect to compliance responsibilities and obligations. The
primary new responsibility is the requirement:

* to enter a foreign intelligence (FI) justification for making a query
or starting a chain,


* to perform spot-checks of user queries.

Additionally, the analyst must remain cognizant of minimization procedures
associated with retention and dissemination of US person information,

SPCMA covers analytic procedures and does not affect existing procedures
for collection, retention or disseminatio n of US person information,

(S/SI//REL) SPCMA obligations also include the need for additional training
on what the procedures do and do not cover, advisory banners on SPCMA
enabled metadata databases, query auditing, and annual reports to the
Department of Justice. Details on this implementation are included in

(U) Next Steps

(S//SI//REL) In order to take advantage of the Supplemental Procedures
(SPCMA), analysts will need to be identified for use of SPCMA through their
miss ion-management chain and complete the online informational briefing.
This will be managed through GATEKE EPER and/or the Account Admin
processes. In addition to the required online informational briefing, a series of
live information briefings are being planned. The first of these will be held in
the Friedman Auditorium on 7 January from 1000-1130, and is open to all SID

(C//REL) POCs: The A&P Product lines have identified the following
individuals to be SPCMA POCs for their respective organizations. We
anticipate that they will be conducting small group SPCMA sessions more
tailored to their particular missions.


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