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The Puzzle Palace: Inside America's Most Secret Intelligence Organization: A Report on America's Most Secret Agency [Tapa blanda]

James Bamford

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"There have been glimpses inside the NSA before, but until now no one has published a comprehensive and detailed report on the agency. . . Mr. Bamford has emerged with everything except the combination to the director's safe." --The New York Times Book Review

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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. With detailed information on the NSA's secret role in the Korean Airlines disaster, Iran-Contra, the first Gulf War, and other major world events of the 80s and 90s, this is a brilliant account of the use and abuse of technological espionage.

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Amazon.com: 4.2 de un máximo de 5 estrellas  69 opiniones
84 de 87 personas piensan que la opinión es útil
5.0 de un máximo de 5 estrellas It Makes One Wonder 22 de junio de 2000
Por Loren D. Morrison - Publicado en Amazon.com
Formato:Tapa blanda
It's hard to take a fresh look at a book that has already been so well reviewed, but I feel that I do have a few more worthwhile comments, hence another review.
Even though PUZZLE PALACE has been around for eighteen years, it still seems to be the best researched book on NSA that's available. It would be nice if Bamford could update us on what has happened in those intervening years.
None of the following is classified information. I was an enlisted man in the Army Security Agency, stationed in the Philippines, from 1955 to 1957. I had been trained as a French Linguist at the Army Language School. It wasn't until I got to the Philippines that I even knew that there was an organization known as the National Security Agency (NSA). Even more amazing is the fact that, until I read Bamford's book, I had no idea how what I was doing fit into the scheme of things. Thanks, James Bamford, for clearing that up for me some forty five years later. Better late than never, they say.
What I think that Bamford has done so well is to tell the true story of the creation of a modern "Frankenstein's Monster." He presents a cogent case for the very real need for communication interception and code breaking in the early days of NSA's existence. He proceeds to take us through, step by step, the process whereby a protector of our freedoms seems to have evolved into a threat to those very freedoms.
According to Bamford, the communications security community seems almost paranoid in their fears that "unless we absolutely control it, it's dangerous." They are devious enough to get around any and every safeguard to the privacy of the individuual that might be established. To wit: Jimmy Carter, when he was President, put a few safeguards in place. With time on their side, the NSA waited until Ronald Reagan was President and got him to remove those safeguards. (See page 374 of the 1982 hardback edition.)
It makes one wonder: In today's world of e-mail, high speed faxes, cel phones, etc., all using the air waves, is anything sacred or has Orwell's prediction come true. As I mentioned above, I'd really like for Bamford to bring us up to date.
A few reviewers have complained about problems keeping up with all the initials used in PUZZLE PALACE. One has to understand that no discussion of the magnitude of the situation can be held without mentioning all of the organizations and committees involved.
It is true that a bit of hard work on the part of the reader is necessary to get all, or most, of the impact of the information contained in PUZZLE PALACE, but I think that the knowledge gained is definitely worth the effort.
52 de 56 personas piensan que la opinión es útil
4.0 de un máximo de 5 estrellas What's Bamford going to say next? 23 de diciembre de 2000
Por Victor A. Vyssotsky - Publicado en Amazon.com
Formato:Tapa blanda
When "The Puzzle Palace" first came out in 1982, it caused a certain amount of controversy and angst. Bamford now has a new book on NSA scheduled to appear this Spring. I wonder what it will contain? "The Puzzle Palace" was quite a good job of investigative reporting, especially considering the customary reluctance of NSA to reveal much about itself. I found "The Puzzle Palace" an interesting read, and I learned much from it that I had not learned during my 20 years of previous occasional contact with NSA. The book is not friendly to NSA, but neither is it muckraking.
In the 1980s I wished that "The Puzzle Palace" had not been written; it seemed to me to contain considerable material that would have best been left unpublished (and would have been if the United States had anything like the British Official Secrets Act.) Looking back from the vantage point of 2001, I note only one brief item in "The Puzzle Palace" that I know harmed the United States, and in that case the harm was minor. (Furthermore, Bamford got that item from a senior NSA official, and may not have know that it was sensitive.) And I note several places where Bamford must have known certain things he chose to omit from "The Puzzle Palace" that might indeed have imperiled some aspect of national security, even though they were not, are not, and never have been classified. So, overall, I consider that Bamford walked the tightrope quite well in "The Puzzle Palace."
It will be interesting not only to read his new book when it comes out, but also to compare the new book with "The Puzzle Palace." I intend to keep them side by side on my bookshelf.
28 de 28 personas piensan que la opinión es útil
5.0 de un máximo de 5 estrellas Best book on SIGINT, best use of open sources 8 de abril de 2000
Por Robert David STEELE Vivas - Publicado en Amazon.com
Formato:Tapa blanda
The book is nothing short of sensational, for two reasons: itis the first and still the only really comprehensive look at globalsignals intelligence operations as dominated by the National Security Agency; and second, because all of his research was done using only open sources, including unclassified employee newsletters at Alice Springs, and he did a great job of making the most out of legally and ethically available information. James is still around, working on another book about SIGINT, and I believe that only he will be able to top this one.
16 de 16 personas piensan que la opinión es útil
5.0 de un máximo de 5 estrellas A Secret History 14 de febrero de 2002
Por Peter Mackay - Publicado en Amazon.com
Formato:Tapa blanda
It is incredible that someone could have written this book, given the lengths to which the US and other governments went to in order to hide the very existence of such a major organisation. But time and again Bamford slips behind the scenes, behind the walls of secrecy, to tell the world the intimate secrets of the NSA.
This, even after so many years, is the definitive history of the National Security Agency. Or at least the most definitive work ever to have been available to the general public. It starts at the start in World War One, and traces the development of what has become a monster, frequently acting beyond the law and in clear violation of basic rights of privacy and freedom of speech.
It is not a history of codebreaking or of the science of interception, but rather a history of the organisation that was set up to do this, and though we are told of the machines and systems that do the work, the tale revolves around the people who defended their secrets and sought out others.
It is fascinating reading, pitched at an average understanding, and accessible to the people who should be most concerned about the activities of the NSA. If it has a flaw it is a simple one - it needs updating.
In the wake of the S11 tragedies, it is indisputable that there is a need for such an organisation. Never let it be said otherwise. But what of the collateral damage to millions of innocent individuals, American citizens with nothing but love for their country, who are regularly spied upon by the NSA?
A disturbing and thoughtful book.
Recommended reading for anybody with an interest in codebreaking and communications security. Here you will find details of some of the leading figures in the "industry" not available anywhere else. Essential for your bookshelf.
21 de 24 personas piensan que la opinión es útil
5.0 de un máximo de 5 estrellas A definite must-read ... 2 de agosto de 1999
Por Un cliente - Publicado en Amazon.com
Formato:Tapa blanda
I first read this report on the NSA (National Security Agency) in 1987 and was so moved by author James Bamford descriptions that I visited Fort Meade, Maryland to verify its existence. As it is a non-fiction work I must admit that it is rather dry reading for the reader used to spy-vs-spy fictional excitement. Nonetheless it is extremely well written and will inform (and shock) the average reader as to the depth (and history) of signal intelligence by the United States Government. It has been rumored that Bamford is working on a sequel. The Puzzle Palace was published in 1983, this is 1999, one can only imagine ...
Ir a Amazon.com para ver las 69 opiniones existentes 4.2 de un máximo de 5 estrellas

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