Summary and Info
A no-holds-barred examination of the National Security Agency packed with startling secrets about its past, newsbreaking revelations about its present-day activities, and chilling predictions about its future powers and reach. 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 the 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 on global personal communications. Like the breakout bestsellers on Cold War espionage The Sword and the Shield and Blind Man's Buff, 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.