The Puzzle Palace: A Report on America's Most Secret Agencyby James Bamford
In this remarkable tour de force of investigative reporting, James Bamford exposes the inner workings of America's largest, most secretive, and arguably most intrusive intelligence agency. The NSA has long eluded public scrutiny, but The Puzzle Palace penetrates its vast network of power and unmasks the people who control it, often with shocking disregard/b>… See more details below
In this remarkable tour de force of investigative reporting, James Bamford exposes the inner workings of America's largest, most secretive, and arguably most intrusive intelligence agency. The NSA has long eluded public scrutiny, but The Puzzle Palace penetrates its vast network of power and unmasks the people who control it, often with shocking disregard for the law. With detailed information on the NSA's secret role in the Korean Airlines disaster, Iran-Contra, the first Gulf War, and other major world events of the 80s and 90s, this is a brilliant account of the use and abuse of technological espionage.
- Penguin Publishing Group
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- Product dimensions:
- 5.15(w) x 7.84(h) x 1.47(d)
- Age Range:
- 18 Years
What People are saying about this
"There have been glimpses inside the NSA before, but until now no one has published a comprehensive and detailed report on the agency. . . Mr. Bamford has emerged with everything except the combination to the director's safe." —The New York Times Book Review
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When you read a book like this you are looking for exciting tidbits of security & espionage operations ( well, I am ) In this book those stories are there but they are few and far between. Most of the book reads like a Corporation Directory listing of personnel. That said, there is one great chapter about the relationship between govt & Academia; as well as an illuminating surmise of what is going on with commercial cryptography.( Public & Private key technology) If you are a web master or system guru, it will leave you nonplussed.
At one time, NSA had employees sign an agreement that they would not break any laws in their community in their personal life.This is significant because does this mean it is o.k. to break the law while performing a job in NSA? Also this book seems to downplay the role of NSA in the private sector and how much pull it has in affecting the personnel makeup of private companies through its financial clout in awarding contracts or its ability to secure obedience through security requirements.One of the most disturbing aspects in this book is how NSA recruits new employees but also how this employment might affect thse employees later on. Once someone has joined NSA, is it impossible to leave without being destroyed personally or professionally? 60 Minutes recently did a story on how NSA and other govt agencies outsource surveillance services on US citizens to skirt provisions banning domestic surveillance,often times at the behest of the President or other high ranking govt officials. Despite these concerns, NSA must do a lot of good work that basically goes unrecognized because of the inherent secrecy of the agency.It must be very frustrating for this agency and other agencies that depend on veil of secrecy to be protecting while distrusted simultaneously.
This book does a good job of mentioning the positives but not the negatives. For example: 1) preoccupation by the agency towards a prospective recruit's sexual preferences and tendencies to an extreme degree, 2) the capacity for domestic surveillance of US citizens unchecked and for hidden agendas, 3) extralegal, or above the law status by individuals with little or no oversight even by Congress-- the possibility that NSA sets agendas irrespective of public consensus? 4) the effect employ with such an agency has on those who work for it and the deceptive tactics used to recruit people to work for them, and 5) Does NSA help shape political and other outcomes through its controls over its employees and associates and through its economic and protective clout with the private sector?