of Secrets – Anatomy of the ultra-secret National Security Agency (James Bamford,
With the exception of the stillborn “Clipper Chip”, the NSA has done their best to
stay out of the public light. This book discusses how the NSA was formed, what it
does, and how it does it. It also exposes some interesting information – that the
Joint Chiefs had plans to attack Americans and blame it on Cuba, and that perhaps
the same thing happened in the Gulf of Tonkin.
After reading this book, I’m somewhat conflicted over the NSA. Sometimes, I think
they’re an incredible national asset, and that the intelligence they gather makes
the world a safer place. Sometimes, I think they’re the biggest threat to personal
liberty around. And other times, I think they’re an agency that has become increasingly
irrelevant with the spread of the internet and strong encryption.