• by Patrick Radden Keefe
  • Narrated by Robertson Dean
  • 10 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In Chatter, Patrick Radden Keefe investigates the international eavesdropping alliance known as Echelon, sorting facts from conspiracy theories to determine just how much privacy Americans unknowingly sacrifice in the name of greater security. Keefe's riveting investigation moves from a secret listening station in England's Yorkshire moors to the intelligence bureaucracies of Washington and London; from an abandoned National Security Agency base hidden in the mountains of North Carolina to the European Parliament in Brussels.Along the way Keefe meets intelligence eavesdroppers who listen in on other people's private conversations, protestors who believe that systems like Echelon will end privacy as we know it, former senators who feel American intelligence operates without any effective legislative oversight, and the journalists who brought Echelon to light. As the struggle between national security and civil liberties becomes ever more pronounced against a backdrop of global terrorism, Chatter is sure to fire debate.


What the Critics Say

"Mr. Keefe writes, crisply and entertainingly, as an interested private citizen rather than an expert." (The New York Times)
"Intelligent and polemical, Keefe's study is sure to spark some political chatter of its own." (Publishers Weekly)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Really neat look at intelligence gathering/secrecy

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.
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- E. Lundin "eal5b"

Good but not great

The book does an okay job discussing some of the world of SIGINT. The book doesn't progress to solid conclusions, but as previous reviewer said, tends to jump around.

As a former SIGINT worker, I think that the book best details the goverments over reliance on technical intelligence as well as indirectly exposes the results of the brain drain of the 80's from the agencies as we left to join the "gold rush" of technology start-ups.

The best parts for me are the discussion of how public technologies have caught and surpassed NSA capabilities. There are some interesting character analysis of people who do this work. As a former traffic and crypto-analyst, I have to agree with the section on how we perceive ourselves, relative to the others within the intelligence community.

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- Joseph

Book Details

  • Release Date: 02-17-2005
  • Publisher: Books on Tape