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Being a super-secret spy agency and all, it's tough to get a handle on what's really going on at the NSA. However, James Bamford has done great work in documenting the agency's origins and Cold War exploits in The Puzzle Palace. Beginning with the earliest days of cryptography (code-making and code-breaking are large parts of the NSA's mission), Bamford explains how the agency's predecessors helped win World War II by breaking the German Enigma machine and defeating the Japanese Purple cipher. He also documents signals intelligence technology, ranging from the usual collection of spy satellites to a great big antenna in the West Virginia woods that listened to radio signals as they bounced back from the surface of the moon.
Bamford backs his serious historical and technical material (this is a carefully researched work of nonfiction) with warnings about how easily the NSA's technology could work against the democracies of the world. Bamford quotes U.S. Senator Frank Church: "If this government ever became a tyranny ... the technological capacity that the intelligence community has given the government could enable it to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back, because the most careful effort to combine together in resistance to the government ... is within the reach of the government to know." This is scary stuff. --David Wall --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
Bamford's books would be okay if he weren't such an ardent anti-Israel diehard. Throughout all his books he really seems to have it in for the Israelis, to the point of implying... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Conan
I don't know how he got all the detail, I was aware of NSA. But I was amazed at the detail given.Published 3 months ago by bill
This is a great detailed history of the NSA from creation of the OSS under Herbert Yardley in WWI to disbanding after Stimson's “gentlemen don't read each other's mail',... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Gderf
Way beyond the "looking glass", Alice read this and nothing seems the same!Published 8 months ago by Mark Gutierrez
Recommended reading especially if one is questioning methods used by the NSA and Our so called Government in general. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Ray F. Longaker Jr.