From the Inside Flap
If a democracy can be judged by the secrets it keeps, it's hard to know what to make of the United States. The American government declares all manner of information "top secret," but little remains secret for very long. Whether the constant stream of leaks from numerous sources is as good for democracy as it is bad for national security is debatable, but why do leaks happen? How do leaks happen? Is there any way to stop them? Do we want to stop them?
In Deep State, veteran journalists and national security analysts Marc Ambinder and D. B. Grady reveal how the exponential increase in state secrets has resulted in an unprecedented number of secret holders and a rapidly growing legion of secret leakers.
This penetrating exposé delves into the key elements of the secrecy apparatus in the United States. Based on a foundation of original and historical research as well as unprecedented access to lawmakers, intelligence agency heads, White House officials, and secret program managers, Deep State also draws from thousands of recently declassified documents and interviews with more than a hundred officials. Many of the interviews are on-the-record, candid, and insightful.
The authors explain how the increased exposure of secrets affects everything from budgets to Area 51 (and what really goes on there) to Congress to Seal Team Six, Delta Force, the FBI, CIA, NSA, and organizations that remain official secrets. They provide the fullest account to date of the NSA's controversial surveillance program spun up in the dark days after 9/11, and they explore President Obama's attempt to reconcile his instincts as a liberal with the realities of the executive branch he inherited. They also explore the ways in which the ubiquity of information access has become the secrecy industry's toughest opponent to date. This discussion includes a full account of how WikiLeaks and other organizations are changing the government's approach to handling sensitive information, for better or worse.
As the deep state's influence in our daily lives has become pervasive, it has also become clear that its edifice is crumbling. Real secrets can't be kept, trivial ones are held forever, and sensitive ones are far too susceptible to political manipulation. Deep State turns the secrecy apparatus of the United States inside out, and explores the real-world ramifications of a trend that ought to trouble everyone from the most hardened hawk to the most ardent civil libertarian.
From the Back Cover
"A riveting look at the nation's most closely held secrets. I learned more from this detailed and absorbing account than I ever thought possible in one book. Through phenomenal research and powerful writing, this is a book not to be missed. From the inside look at our country's deadly drone program to the surveillance programs that could affect every one of us, Ambinder and Grady have given us a careful, thoughtful view of a world once hidden and why it matters."
Martha Raddatz, ABC News Chief Global Affairs Correspondent
"An intense journey down the rabbit hole of U.S. government secrecy. They have written an adrenaline-fueled, fast paced spy story that will change the way our society views its government. As I read Deep State, I had to continually remind myself that what I was reading was not a novel. There will be some in the chambers of power who do not want this book published, and there will be others in the dark corners of Washington's world of covert ops who read it to understand the secret apparatus they actually help run. Deep State is the must-read book of 2013."
Jeremy Scahill, author of Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army
"Marc Ambinder and D. B. Grady have delivered a fine, clarifying history of the secretive American national security apparatus which does so much to avoid the necessary sunshine of public scrutiny. Deep State is deeply reported and very well written and shines some much needed light on the murky 'deep state.'"
Peter Bergen, author of Manhunt: The Ten-Year Search for bin Laden, from 9/11 to Abbottabad
"Many books promise to take you inside and reveal the hidden side of the U.S. national security state. This book delivers on its promises, revealing previously secret details about the U.S. intelligence community and the U.S. military's shadowy special operations forces units. A must-read for those seriously interested in national security matters."
Matthew M. Aid, author of Intel Wars and The Secret Sentry
An unprecedented look at the surprising truths of national security and secrecy that are found in the darkest corners of the American government
There is a hidden country within the United States. It was formed from the growing number of secrets held by the government and the expanding ranks of secret-keepers given charge over them. The government secrecy industry speaks in a private language of codes and acronyms, and follows an arcane set of rules and customs designed to perpetuate itself, repel penetration, and deflect oversight. It justifies itself with the assertion that the American values worth preserving are often best sustained by subterfuge and deception.
Deep State tells the inside story of how state secrets are created, why they get leaked, and what the government is currently hiding. It explains how the American secrecy apparatus works, unveils the largely unknown key players and agencies, and explores the dangerous trend of weaponizing secrets for political warfare.