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Body of Secrets  
Body of Secrets

Anatomy of the Ultra-Secret National Security Agency
James Bamford
Current Affairs - Military; History - U.S. - 20th Century | Anchor | Trade Paperback | April 2002 | $14.95 | 0-385-49908-6
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Hidden behind tall earthen berms and thick forest trees halfway between Washington and Baltimore is a dark and mysterious place, virtually unknown to the outside world. Nicknamed Crypto City, it is protected from outsiders by a labyrinth of barbed wire fences, massive boulders placed close together, motion detectors, hydraulic anti-truck devices, and thick cement barriers. Should a threat be detected, commandos dressed in black paramilitary uniforms, wearing special headgear and brandishing an assortment of weapons including Colt 9mm submachine guns stand guard. They are known as the "Men-in-Black." Telephoto surveillance cameras peer down, armed police patrol the boundaries, and bright yellow signs warn against taking any photographs or making so much as a note or a simple sketch, under the penalties of the Internal Security Act. What lies beyond is a city unlike any other place on earth, one that contains what is probably the largest body of secrets ever created. It is the home of America's ultrasecret National Security Agency, responsible for eavesdropping on the world and breaking virtually impossible foreign code and cipher systems.

In Body of Secrets, James Bamford explores the NSA's secret role in the major events of the Cold War, its current struggle to eavesdrop on ever advancing forms of communications, and how it is attempting to find new ways to break the code and cipher systems of the future. Finally, he takes the reader past the steel and cement no-mans-land for an inside glimpse of Crypto City. Made up more than sixty office buildings, warehouses, factories, laboratories, and living quarters, it is a place where tens of thousands of people work in absolute secrecy. Most will live and die never having told their spouses exactly what they do. The secret community is also home to the largest collection of hyper-powerful computers, advanced mathematicians and skilled language experts on the planet. Within the city, time is measured in femtoseconds—one million billionth of a second, and scientists work in secret to develop computers capable of performing more than one septillion (1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000) operations every second.

James Bamford first explored the secrets of NSA in his bestselling book, The Puzzle Palace. Now he brings the story up to the present, filling in the many blank holes along the way.

Praise for Body of Secrets

“An extraordinary work of investigative journalism, a galvanizing narrative brimming with heretofore undisclosed details.”–The New York Times Book Review

“A magnificent achievement and a compelling read for anyone interested in espionage.”–The Baltimore Sun

“Part history, part expose, Body of Secrets is an anatomy of NSA, seeking to strip away the myth surrounding it…authoritative and engaging.”–The Wall Street Journal

“Crisply written and prodigiously researched…. It is the most detailed picture yet of the activities of the world’s largest intelligence agency.”–The Washington Post Book World

Body of Secrets is one fascinating book…chock-full of juicy stuff…. Interesting to read, well-written and scrupulously documented.”–Salon

“An engaging and informed history…. Bamford weaves a narrative about the NSA that includes…many heretofore undisclosed tidbits of information.”–The Nation

“James Bamford, who wrote one of the really good books about American intelligence twenty years ago…has now done it again…. Body of Secrets has something interesting and important to add to many episodes of cold war history…[and] has much to say about recent events.”–The New York Review of Books

“At times surprising, often quite troubling but always fascinating…. Writing with a flair and clarity that rivals those of the best spy novelists, Bamford has created a masterpiece of investigative reporting.”–Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Body of Secrets adds fresh material about the world’s nosiest and most secret body…. Will fascinate anyone interested in the shadow war.”–The Economist

 

 

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