NOVA: The Spy Factory
Bestselling author James Bamford teams with Emmy Award-winning producer Scott Willis to expose the National Security Agency's failure to prevent the 9/11 terrorist attacks on America, and the controversial eavesdropping program that allows them to listen to the conversations of millions of Americans without a warrant. Based on Bamford's 2008 best-seller of the same name, The Spy Game utilizes dozens of interviews with agency insiders, transcripts from terrorist trials, and an FBI chronology of terrorist movements to chronicle the NSA's role in spying on the American public. The NSA is three times bigger than the CIA, and infinitely more secretive. In this program, curious viewers learn that the NSA started tapping Osama bin Laden's now-disconnected satellite phone in 1996, and get a look at the three-story house in Yemen that once served as Al Qaeda headquarters. For years prior to the attacks, the NSA had been listening to calls to and from that house, so how is it that they could have been caught completely off-guard on the morning of 9/11 as claimed? By following the path of a single e-mail sent from Asia to the U.S., the producers of The Spy Game reveal how the top linguists, mathematicians, and technologists employed by the NSA are able to not only intercept the vast majority of Asian e-mail messages, but monitor the entire U.S. internal Internet traffic as well. But why do they suddenly feel the need to monitor the communications of ordinary Americans? And what implications does this have on the future of personal freedom? As the NSA's massive archive of phone calls and e-mails grows exponentially, former NSA, CIA, and FBI analysts and officials such as Mark Rossini reveal how intelligence turf wars can actually cause more harm than good.