Body of Secrets - Anatomy of the ultra-secret National Security Agency (James Bamford, Anchor Books)


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.

Definitely recommended.