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It's a shame this book hasn't been more widely listened to (only 3 ratings at time of this writing, all 5 stars) because it's extremely informative and brings to light issues/events that you might not be aware of, or even think of when you consider the topic of intelligence. It's an ideal book for anyone curious about the subject, and if you're interested in learning a little from a neat non-fiction book, this one is a great choice. Just listen to the audio sample first, the narrator's voice is quite deep and maybe a little exaggerated. My mp3 player lets me select a higher playback speed so I can make the voice sound more normal and it's not a problem for me. I still highly recommend it regardless.
14 of 15 people found this review helpful
This is a really solid introduction to a topic I knew almost nothing about. If you want to learn something substantive about Signals Intelligence (electronic evesdropping) in an utterly painless way, this is a great download.
It's pretty well-written, and although it meanders about at times, by the time it's all done, you've had a very broad exposure to the topic.
The author here is not some privacy zealot out to do a hatchet job on the NSA. Rather, he seems to approach his topic with a genuine sense of intellectual curiousity and an understanding of the inherent trade-offs between privacy and security interests. But what emerges from this fair and frank analysis of the available information is no less troubling.
If you are concerned about your personal privacy, this book shows you have every reason to be justified in those concerns. If you aren't particularly concerned about privacy and just hope our spys manage to find a way to stay ahead of the bad guys and head off the next 9/11, you should also be very concerned about what this book has to say about the effectiveness of U.S. evesdropping capabilities.
The picture that emerges here is that of a traditional, hide-bound government bureaucracy, unable to adapt to the changes in modern communication, rather than the all-seeing, all powerful, Great Eye of the U.S. that some would have us fear.
Yet at the same time, this very bureaucracy is almost completely shielded by secrecy, and still possesses incredible power to invade our privacy, both at home and overseas.
We may have the worst of all possible worlds: an ineffective NSA that often can't actually find the bad guys, spends billions of our dollars, possesses powerful tools for the invasion of our privacy, and has been basically left to its own devices.
The book not only shows you these problems, it also gives you enough exposure to the field to understand why they all are going to be very difficult to solve.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful