Deep State: Inside the Government Secrecy Industry

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Overview

There is a hidden country within the United States. It was formed from the astonishing number of secrets held by the government and the growing ranks of secret-keepers given charge over them. The government secrecy industry speaks in a private language of codes and acronyms, and follows an arcane set of rules and customs designed to perpetuate itself, repel penetration, and deflect oversight. It justifies itself with the assertion that the American values worth preserving are ...

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Overview

There is a hidden country within the United States. It was formed from the astonishing number of secrets held by the government and the growing ranks of secret-keepers given charge over them. The government secrecy industry speaks in a private language of codes and acronyms, and follows an arcane set of rules and customs designed to perpetuate itself, repel penetration, and deflect oversight. It justifies itself with the assertion that the American values worth preserving are often best sustained by subterfuge and deception.

There are indications that this deep state is crumbling. Necessary secrets are often impossible to keep, while frivolous secrets are kept forever. The entire system has fallen prey to political manipulation, with leaks carefully timed to advance agendas, and over-classification given to indefensible government activities.

Deep State, written by two of the country's most respected national security journalists, disassembles the secrecy apparatus of the United States and examines real-world trends that ought to trouble everyone from the most aggressive hawk to the fiercest civil libertarian. The book:

- Provides the fullest account to date of the National Security Agency’s controversial surveillance program first spun up in the dark days after 9/11.

- Examines President Obama's attempt to reconcile his instincts as a liberal with the realities of executive power, and his use of the state secrets doctrine.

- Exposes how the public’s ubiquitous access to information has been the secrecy industry's toughest opponent to date, and provides a full account of how WikiLeaks and other “sunlight” organizations are changing the government's approach to handling sensitive information, for better and worse.

- Explains how the increased exposure of secrets affects everything from Congressional budgets to Area 51, from SEAL Team Six and Delta Force to the FBI, CIA, and NSA.

- Assesses whether the formal and informal mechanisms put in place to protect citizens from abuses by the American deep state work, and how they might be reformed.

Deep State is based on the authors' insatiable curiosity for the ground truth and layered on a foundation of original and historical research as well as unprecedented access to lawmakers, intelligence agency heads, White House officials, and secret program managers. It draws on thousands of recently declassified documents and candid interviews with more than 100 military, industry, and government officials.

By the bestselling authors of The Command: Deep Inside the President's Secret Army: Marc Ambinder, editor at large at The Week, contributing editor at GQ and the Atlantic, who has covered Washington for CBS News and ABC News; and D.B. Grady, a correspondent for the Atlantic, national security columnist for The Week, and former U.S. Army paratrooper and Afghanistan veteran.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Journalists Ambinder and Grady provide a rendering of the U.S. government’s secrecy apparatus in both international and domestic affairs, offering an acronym-laden fest for fans of the NSA, CIA, and Department of Defense while providing few revelations. The authors display unabashed enthusiasm for the machinery of shadows, particularly the secretive Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) profiled in Ambinder and Grady’s earlier book The Command, entire chapters of which are reprinted here. A congratulatory account of the coordinated spying activities conducted in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the operations that resulted from them, are labeled as unprecedented successes. Meanwhile, the authors are blithely dismissive of Julian Assange and Wikileaks. Admiration of JSOC and others, and a subtle contempt directed at those who would question “official stories,” trickles through, forming two overarching themes. The first is an Orwellian feat of circular logic that states that no secrets really exist, because if they did, we would already know about them. The second defensively posits that neither the government nor American citizens can stomach the truth about what it really takes to keep us safe. Despite some insights in a chapter on the NSA’s controversial wiretapping program, the majority of the book details the players, rationalizes their actions, and, ironically, keeps their secrets. (Apr.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781118146682
  • Publisher: Turner Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 4/1/2013
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 157,094
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

MARC AMBINDER is a contributing editor at GQ and the Atlantic and a former White House correspondent for National Journal. He has covered politics and policy for CBS News and ABC News.

D. B. GRADY is a correspondent for the Atlantic and a regular contributor to the Week and Mental Floss. He is a former U.S. Army paratrooper and a veteran of the war in Afghanistan.

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Table of Contents

Authors’ Note xi

Introduction: Asleep under Fire 1

1. Need to Know 12

2. The Curious Case of Primoris Era 21

3. From Inception to Eternity 33

4. Fairly Modest 48

5. Vital Information 67

6. The Horrors Book 78

7. Conspiracies 91

8. Inside the Enclave 101

9. The Tip of the Spear 110

10. Necessary Secrets 122

11. The Tools for the Job 136

12. The Known Unknowns 147

13. The Structure of Secrecy 159

14. Partisan Transparency 176

15. Open Source Strikes Back 187

16. Resistance 194

17. The Flicker of a Piercing Eye 213

18. Olympic Games 254

19. The Next Battlespace 261

Conclusion: Shooting at Ahmadinejad 280

Acknowledgments 291

Notes 293

Index 311

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Customer Reviews

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2014

    Meeting Place

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    Posted May 7, 2013

    If this does not spark some discussion and controversy¿. nothing

    If this does not spark some discussion and controversy…. nothing else ever written will

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