was formed in November 4th, 1952 by President Harry Truman, to ensure the country's safety by analyzing and intercepting intelligence, data and other forms of foreign communications it collects. This includes information that may be cryptic in nature and classified in detail, requiring decryption and decoding of said material. In the years after its' inception, the NSA
has been charged with monitoring all forms of terrorist threats to America
and its' allies. This includes conducting surveillance within US borders. This hasn't gone unnoticed by the public and the NSA
has received criticism with some of its' methods, specifically warrant-less surveillance for anti-terrorist purposes.
In the Splinter Cell
series, main protagonist Sam Fisher
works for the "Third Echelon" a fictional division within the NSA
that conducts black-ops with "Splinter Cell" operatives. These "cells" are tasked with collecting information and data in various political climates around the globe. Many of these locations include global 'hot spots' that are politically unstable or technologically stunted, rendering any form of signal intelligence (SIGINT) gathering difficult or impossible; these areas tend to leave "boots on the ground" intelligence gathering methods such as HUMINT (Human Intelligence: simply talking to and listening to local people) and ELINT (Electronics Intelligence: the use of direct-observation bugs, taps, and recording devices) as the most expedient and reliable options.