The Secret Sentry
The Untold History of the National Security Agency
By Matthew M. Aid
(Bloomsbury Press, Hardcover, 9781596915152, 432pp.)
Publication Date: June 9, 2009
Other Editions of This Title: Paperback
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In the first complete history of the National Security Agency, America’s most powerful and secretive intelligence organization.In February 2006, while researching this book, Matthew Aid uncovered a massive and secret document reclassification program—a revelation that made the front page of the New York Times. This was only one of the discoveries Aid has made during two decades of research in formerly top-secret documents. In The Secret Sentry, Aid provides the first-ever full history of America’s largest security apparatus, the National Security Agency. This comprehensive account traces the growth of the agency from 1945 to the present through critical moments in its history, from the cold war up to its ongoing involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq. Aid explores the agency’s involvement in the Iraqi weapons intelligence disaster, where evidence that NSA officials called “ambiguous” was used as proof of Iraqi WMD capacity, and details the intense debate within the NSA over its unprecedented role, pressed by the Bush-Cheney administration, in spying on U.S. citizens. Today, the NSA has become the most important source of intelligence for the U.S. government, providing 60 percent of the president’s daily intelligence briefing. While James Bamford’s New York Times bestseller The Shadow Factory covered the NSA since 9/11, The Secret Sentry contains new information about every period since World War II . It provides a shadow history of global affairs, from the creation of I srael to the War on Terror.
Matthew M. Aid is a leading intelligence historian, expert on the National Security Agency, and regular commentator on intelligence matters for the New York Times, the Financial Times, the National Journal, the Associated Press, CBS News, NPR, and many other media outlets. He lives in Washington, D.C.
"This, very simply, is the most informative book ever written on the inside bureaucratic struggles and the outside operations of the National Security Agency. Matthew Aid is our reigning expert on the NSA."—Seymour M. Hersh, author of Chain of Command: The Road from 9/11 to Abu Ghraib
“NSA analysis now comprises as much as 60 percent of the president’s daily intelligence briefing, and Aid provides a critical history of the agency that has the ear of the leader of the free world. A sprawling but revealing look at a powerful, shadowy agency of the American government.”—Kirkus