The Rise of America's Surveillance State
By Shane Harris
(Penguin Books, Paperback, 9780143118909, 424pp.)
Publication Date: January 25, 2011
List Price: $17.00*
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Given recent terrorist events in the U.S. and the document leaks by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, "The Watchers" is more timely than ever, drawing on access to political and operational insiders to create a brilliant expose of why and how the American government spies on its own citizens. Born in the wake of the 1983 massacre of 241 Marines in Beirut, the domestic surveillance program introduced by Ronald Reagan's national security advisor, John Poindexter, to coordinate intelligence on terrorists has claimed billions of government dollars. Despite the cost, it has failed in its mission to identify new threats. But as Harris shows, it has provided the government with a tool for the electronic surveillance of Americans that has ushered in an age of constitutionally questionable intrusion into the lives of every citizen.