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The Puzzle Palace

Inside the National Security Agency, America's Most Secret Intelligence Organization
Narrated by: Paul Boehmer
Length: 20 hrs and 24 mins
Categories: Non-fiction, Politics
5 out of 5 stars (4 ratings)

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Summary

In this remarkable tour de force of investigative reporting, James Bamford exposes the inner workings of America's largest, most secretive, and arguably most intrusive intelligence agency. The NSA has long eluded public scrutiny, but The Puzzle Palace penetrates its vast network of power and unmasks the people who control it, often with shocking disregard for the law. So sensitive was the information uncovered that the agency twice attempted to suppress the book, threatened the author with prosecution, and even raided one of the libraries he used. 

This is a brilliant account of the use and abuse of technological espionage.

©1982 V. James Bamford (P)2018 Tantor

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  • E. M.
  • 05-12-18

Great NSA genesis - but watch the publication date

This book is an excellent telling of the genesis of the NSA and how they got to be so pervasive and secretive. Many struggles they have encountered around legality and ethics are documented in this detailed history, and it seems many of these issues are still faced daily today. But keep in mind this book was published in 1982 - so the story telling ends abruptly before the end of the cold war and doesn't cover anything more modern than a Cray 1 supercomputer. Your 5 year old iPhone 4 had more processing power than what the NSA had to work with at the time. Bamford states that the NSA's goal is to stay 5-years ahead of the state-of-the-art commercially available computing power - so I'd really like to read an updated version of this expose with a look at their current capabilities.

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