The National Security Agency is the U.S. government's cryptologic intelligence agency, administered by the Department of Defense. It was designed to focus specifically on foreign communications, but its role has changed since Sept. 11.
As part of National Security Presidential Directive 54/Homeland Security Presidential Directive 23, signed on Jan. 8 by President Bush, the NSA was named the lead agency responsible for monitoring and protecting all federal government computer networks from cyber-attacks.
While the governor is feeling the effects of this growing domestic-surveillance effort, its scope could affect millions of law-abiding Americans.
"Spitzer was a self-destructive idiot," Taplin observed, "but at the end of the day, we have to realize that nobody has any privacy anymore."
Taplin is a former producer of TV documentaries and films. In January 2007, he was appointed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to the California Broadband Task Force, and he also serves on the advisory board of the University of Maryland's Democracy Collaborative.