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Customer Review

31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Confirms worst fears, January 13, 2009
This review is from: The Shadow Factory: The Ultra-Secret NSA from 9/11 to the Eavesdropping on America (Hardcover)
NSA can vacuum clean just about everything going over telcom, and indeed has been doing it. Bamford confirms this is not a paranoid nightmare, but an operational reality. He diligently details how and where NSA has spliced into telcom and internet centers, and whose technology they are using - prominently among them Israeli companies closely tied to that nation's intelligence agencies. Bamford strongly implies that these companies, including Narus and Verint, have a backdoor into everything NSA is vacuuming up.

Bamford's book could well be used in preparing prosecution cases against NSA officials including former Director Michael Hayden, who pushed into warrantless wiretapping post-911. What Hayden et al did, prodded by Bush and Cheney, was to basically set up the facilities to mass suck virtually everything that went over telcom or internet. While this has been exposed, the current status of these operations is unclear. But it seems a pretty safe bet to assume that from somewhere, Big Ears are listening.

Bamford is the great historian of NSA. His "Puzzle Palace" was the first extensive revelation of the agency. "Shadow Factory" is the best current telling of the NSA story. He underscores that the technology exists for total surveillance. The agency's greatest current difficulty, actually interpreting the information flow, is being addressed with super-fast computers and advanced software coming on line in the next few years. So if the ability of the big ears to actually track all conversations and messages for keywords is not quite here, it will be soon. And by the way, it appears that voiceprint programs will be able to pick out anyone's unique signature out of millions of calls. Yeah, it's "Enemy of the State," and it's real.

My conclusion - Americans must make a choice between maintaining a global empire or restoring their personal privacy. It's that stark.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Apr 25, 2010 9:57:08 AM PDT
Marina says:
The total surveillance state has already been set in place and is being run by nationwide DHS Fusion centers. The Fed fusion centers have communications links with all police departments and fire departments. The Feds have put monitors on cellphone tower relays across the nation, which can deliver directed energy attacks. The Feds can monitor each citizen, millions of us, simultaneously. They can read our email, listen to our cellpones, follow our EZPasses and GPSs, and secretly RFID-chip us (by easily co-opting doctors and nurses for "reasons of national security".) It has been done in our best interests, of course -- and will only be used on "enemies."

Posted on Jun 29, 2016 10:35:18 AM PDT
AJ says:
I guess, if your not a terrorist you don't have much to worry about.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 29, 2016 9:23:22 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 29, 2016 9:25:02 PM PDT
Pogue says:
Oh, the old "if you aren't doing anything wrong/don't have something to hide, then it's not a problem, don't worry about it" rationale. Which quickly becomes the "if you're against it, you must have done something wrong/have something to hide" accusation. Baloney! The courts have determined that Americans have a constitutional right to privacy under the 4th amendment. We have a right to be free from warrantless searches and seizures, yet that's what's happening.

At a time when people are squawking daily about their 1st amendment rights, and a powerful organization with millions of members exists only to ensure 2nd amendment rights are not lessened by one iota, I find it baffling that many Americans have no problem with ceding their 4th amendment rights, expect that others should do the same in the "interest of national security," and look suspiciously at those Americans who don't think they should have to give up the Constitution for security. Given the statistical risks of being hurt in a terrorist attack vs being the victim of random gun violence, people would actually be safer rather than just "feel" safer if we worked on refining the 2nd amendment rather than totally negating the 4th.

But of course, since privacy is important to me, i must have something to hide, right? Well, let me ask you, if you are having sex with your partner, you're not doing anything wrong, but do you want everyone listening/looking in?
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