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Body of Secrets: Anatomy of the Ultra-Secret National Security Agencyby James Bamford
Synopses & Reviews
The NSA is the largest, most secretive, and most powerful intelligence agency in the world. With a staff of thirty-eight thousand people, it dwarfs the CIA in budget, manpower, and influence. Recent headlines have linked it to economic espionage throughout Europe and to the ongoing hunt for the terrorist leader Osama bin Laden.
James Bamford first penetrated the wall of silence surrounding the NSA in 1982, with the much-talked-about bestseller The Puzzle Palace. In Body of Secrets, he offers shocking new details about the inner workings of the agency, gathered through unique access to thousands of internal documents and interviews with current and former officials. Unveiling extremely sensitive information for the first time, Bamford exposes the role the NSA played in numerous Soviet bloc Cold War conflicts and discusses its undercover involvement in the Vietnam War. His investigation into the NSA's technological advances during the last fifteen years brings to light a network of global surveillance ranging from on-line listening posts to sophisticated intelligence-gathering satellites. In a hard-hitting conclusion, he warns that the NSA is a two-edged sword. While its worldwide eavesdropping activities offer the potential for tracking down terrorists and uncovering nuclear weapons deals, it also has the capability to listen in on global personal communications.
Like the breakout bestsellers on Cold War espionage, The Sword and the Shield and Blind Man's Bluff, Body of Secrets is must-reading for people fascinated by the intrigues of a shadowy underworld. As one of the most important works of investigative journalism to come out of Washington in years, it should be read by everyone concerned about the inevitability of Orwell's Big Brother.
"Body of Secrets adds fresh material about the world’s nosiest and most secret body…. Will fascinate anyone interested in the shadow war." The Economist
"At times surprising, often quite troubling but always fascinating…. Writing with a flair and clarity that rivals those of the best spy novelists, Bamford has created a masterpiece of investigative reporting." Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"James Bamford, who wrote one of the really good books about American intelligence twenty years ago…has now done it again…. Body of Secrets has something interesting and important to add to many episodes of cold war history…[and] has much to say about recent events." The New York Review of Books
"[C]ontroversy over the Liberty attack has endured, generating conspiracy theories, ethnic defamation, and charges of mass homicide. And, although a series of recently declassified documents seem to exonerate the Israelis once and for all, a new book, Body of Secrets: Anatomy of the Ultra-Secret National Security Agency, has resurrected the canard by setting forth what is arguably the most audacious theory of all....Body of Secrets has no more basis in fact than its predecessors. Indeed, it may be the shoddiest screed of all." Michael Oren, The New Republic (read the entire New Republic review)
The National Security Agency is the worlds most powerful, most far-reaching espionage. Now with a new afterword describing the security lapses that preceded the attacks of September 11, 2001, Body of Secrets takes us to the inner sanctum of Americas spy world. In the follow-up to his bestselling Puzzle Palace, James Banford reveals the NSAs hidden role in the most volatile world events of the past, and its desperate scramble to meet the frightening challenges of today and tomorrow.
Here is a scrupulously documented account-much of which is based on unprecedented access to previously undisclosed documents-of the agencys tireless hunt for intelligence on enemies and allies alike. Body of secrets is a riveting analysis of this most clandestine of agencies, a major work of history and investigative journalism.
About the Author
James Bamford is the author of The Puzzle Palace. Until recently, he was Washington Investigative Producer for ABCs World News Tonight with Peter Jennings. He lives in Washington, D.C.
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History and Social Science » Military » Espionage