- Paperback: 784 pages
- Publisher: Anchor Books; Reprint edition (April 30, 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0385499086
- ISBN-13: 978-0385499088
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1.3 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 178 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #85,534 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Body of Secrets: Anatomy of the Ultra-Secret National Security Agency Reprint Edition
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“A magnificent achievement and a compelling read for anyone interested in espionage.” —The Baltimore Sun
“Extraordinary. . . . A galvanizing narrative brimming with heretofore undisclosed details.” —The New York Times Book Review
“Crisply written and prodigiously researched, Body of Secrets . . . is the most detailed picture yet of the activities of the world’s largest intelligence-gathering operation.” —The Washington Post Book World
“Part history, part expose, the book offers an ‘anatomy’ of the NSA, seeking to strip away the myth surrounding it. . . . [An] authoritative and engaging book.” –The Wall Street Journal
“Body of Secrets is one fascinating book…chock-full of juicy stuff…. Interesting to read, well-written and scrupulously documented.”–Salon
“An engaging and informed history…. Bamford weaves a narrative about the NSA that includes…many heretofore undisclosed tidbits of information.”–The Nation
“James Bamford, who wrote one of the really good books about American intelligence twenty years ago…has now done it again…. Body of Secrets has something interesting and important to add to many episodes of cold war history…[and] has much to say about recent events.”–The New York Review of Books
“At times surprising, often quite troubling but always fascinating…. Writing with a flair and clarity that rivals those of the best spy novelists, Bamford has created a masterpiece of investigative reporting.”–Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Body of Secrets adds fresh material about the world’s nosiest and most secret body…. Will fascinate anyone interested in the shadow war.”–The Economist
From the Inside Flap
The National Security Agency is the world's most powerful, most far-reaching espionage. Now with a new afterword describing the security lapses that preceded the attacks of September 11, 2001, Body of Secrets takes us to the inner sanctum of America's spy world. In the follow-up to his bestselling "Puzzle Palace, James Banford reveals the NSA's hidden role in the most volatile world events of the past, and its desperate scramble to meet the frightening challenges of today and tomorrow.
Here is a scrupulously documented account-much of which is based on unprecedented access to previously undisclosed documents-of the agency's tireless hunt for intelligence on enemies and allies alike. Body of secrets is a riveting analysis of this most clandestine of agencies, a major work of history and investigative journalism.
Top customer reviews
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The best parts of the book are about the agency's involvement in certain geopolitical events. The most damning was Israel's murderous attack on the USS Liberty during the '67 War, including the failure of Congress, or anyone else in D.C., to hold the Israelis to account to this day. Eisenhower's use of electronic eavesdropping and over flights of the USSR is covered in great detail, including a seemingly very provocative flight of multiple RB-47 aircraft over the Soviet's northern regions, a move that could easily have been interpreted as a surprise nuclear attack - had the Soviets had radars in that region, that they didn't. Ike comes across as a bit of a madman with his constant probing of Soviet air defenses and here I'd be a bit critical of what the author left out: Eisenhower did not believe the reports he was getting from the U.S. military about the Soviet's bomber or ICBM nuclear capabilities; the country simply didn't have the economic capacity to carry out such an effort, something that was becoming increasingly clear from photographic over flights of various air bases and missile sites. Once Ike had sufficient proof about the inadequacies of the Soviet threat he planned on launching a peace offensive, basically telling the Soviets to get real. One more mission was required to make this case, and it was flown by Gary Powers. One final nail in the coffin of our Vietnam disaster was the total disregard Westmoreland & Co had for the NVA's signals intelligence program, one that was quite sophisticated. The U.S. military refused to believed the gooks had this capacity and broadcast the details of upcoming missions, including B-52 strikes, in the clear with disastrous results.
- Eisenhower frequently sent fighter/bomber formations into Soviet airspace to see how far they could get before being detected, and how quickly the Soviet air defenses could react. This provocative action led to aircraft being shot down on several occasions before they could get out of Soviet airspace, and lives were lost. This finally ended when Gary Powers' U-2 was shot down.
-The reason we wanted the UN in New York? To make spying on everyone easier!
-The USS Liberty saw Israelis massacre 150 Egyptian POWs... so the Israelis tried to sink it, fully knowing it was a U.S. gov't ship.
All in all, a very readable, very informative book. While every page doesn't have jaw-dropping secrets from US history, there are enough to ensure you'll have fun while learning a bit of history.
One excellent point of education was the many disasters in our history resulting from agencies not sharing information. One thing Bush did right was making sure that something like 9/11 will never happen again because of this inter-service rivalry.
A very enjoyable book. The only reason I didn't give it 5 stars is that it's not as cutting edge as when I first read it. (Body of Secrets was published within one-two years of many classified documents being made public.)
Most recent customer reviews
All of James Bamford works need to be read.