How America Lost Its Secrets

  • by Edward Jay Epstein
  • Narrated by Michael Bybee
  • 12 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

A groundbreaking exposé that convincingly challenges the popular image of Edward Snowden as hacker turned avenging angel, while revealing how vulnerable our national security systems have become - as exciting as any political thriller, and far more important.
After details of American government surveillance were published in 2013, Edward Snowden, formerly a subcontracted IT analyst for the NSA, became the center of an international controversy: Was he a hero, traitor, whistle-blower, spy? Was his theft legitimized by the nature of the information he exposed? When is it necessary for governmental transparency to give way to subterfuge?
Edward Jay Epstein brings a lifetime of journalistic and investigative acumen to bear on these and other questions, delving into both how our secrets were taken and the man who took them. He makes clear that by outsourcing parts of our security apparatus, the government has made classified information far more vulnerable; how Snowden sought employment precisely where he could most easily gain access to the most sensitive classified material; and how, though he claims to have acted to serve his country, Snowden is treated as a prized intelligence asset in Moscow, his new home.

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What the Critics Say

"Powerful and convincing." (The Hollywood Reporter)
"In addition to giving a full and nuanced portrait of the man himself, Epstein details the shattering impact Snowden's theft and famous June 9, 2013, video announcement has had on the agency and the intelligence community worldwide. A riveting and informative work for both Snowden watchers and espionage buffs." (Booklist)
"Nuanced...A wild and harrowing detective story and impressively evenhanded portrait of a very sticky case." (Kirkus)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Rewriting the narrative

I was conflicted about the Snowden story. I hold some libertarian values, although I have since come to believe libertarianism is rooted in idealistic naivety. . . A truly libertarian from of government is not practical given realities of human nature. Everyone is not an ethical humanist. Society benefits from protection of consequences, even unintended ones, of stupid and self-destructive decisions.

I challenge anyone that considers Snowden to be a patriotic hero to read this book, consider the facts, and explain why you still think he is an American patriot. There were other ways to accomplish his alleged mission without hand delivery intelligence to our political enemies. I am open minded, my mind can be changed, but it would take one hell of an argument to convince me is is not a narcissistic traitor. Much like Putin, he is a great liar. Convincing, sincere delivery. I completely understand how people find both Putin and Snowden credible and honest. Even when I KNOW Putin is lying, I find him believable. That might be the trait that Trump so admires about Putin--80% approval rating, in part, because he is a MUCH better liar than Trump. Trump is better than average liar, I think he is able to believe his own BS, but he is no Putin.
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- Jared T Wilsey

interesting information

the book was slow in parts, but it was overall informative. need three words 3
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- Andy R

Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-17-2017
  • Publisher: Random House Audio