Synopses & Reviews
An explosive look at the domestic agencies charged with spying on all of us
Given recent terrorist events in the U.S. and the document leaks by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, The Watchers is more timely than ever, drawing on access to political and operational insiders to create a brilliant exposé of why and how the American government spies on its own citizens. Born in the wake of the 1983 massacre of 241 Marines in Beirut, the domestic surveillance program introduced by Ronald Reagan's national security advisor, John Poindexter, to coordinate intelligence on terrorists has claimed billions of government dollars. Despite the cost, it has failed in its mission to identify new threats. But as Harris shows, it has provided the government with a tool for the electronic surveillance of Americans that has ushered in an age of constitutionally questionable intrusion into the lives of every citizen.
Using exclusive access to key insiders, Harris charts the rise of America's surveillance state over the past 25 years and highlights a dangerous paradox: The government's strategy has made it harder to catch terrorists and easier to spy on civilians.
About the Author
Shane Harris writes about electronic surveillance, intelligence, and counterterrorism for National Journal.