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The Puzzle Palace: Inside the National Security Agency, America's Most Secret Intelligence Organization

Customer Reviews:

It Makes One Wonder

By Loren D. Morrison "amateur_reviewer" - June 22, 2000

It's hard to take a fresh look at a book that has already been so well reviewed, but I feel that I do have a few more worthwhile comments, hence another review.Even though PUZZLE PALACE has been around for eighteen years, it still seems to be the best researched book on NSA that's available. It would be nice if Bamford could update us on what has happened in those intervening years.None of the following is classified information. I was an enlisted man in the Army Security Agency, stationed in the Philippines, from 1955 to 1957. I had been trained as a French Linguist at the Army Language School. It wasn't until I got to the Philippines that I even knew that there was an organization known as the National Security Agency (NSA). Even more amazing is the fact that, until I read Bamford's book, I had no idea how what I was doing fit into the scheme of things. Thanks, James Bamford, for clearing that up for me some forty five years later. Better late than never,... read more

What's Bamford going to say next?

By Victor A. Vyssotsky "mandvav" - December 23, 2000

When "The Puzzle Palace" first came out in 1982, it caused a certain amount of controversy and angst. Bamford now has a new book on NSA scheduled to appear this Spring. I wonder what it will contain? "The Puzzle Palace" was quite a good job of investigative reporting, especially considering the customary reluctance of NSA to reveal much about itself. I found "The Puzzle Palace" an interesting read, and I learned much from it that I had not learned during my 20 years of previous occasional contact with NSA. The book is not friendly to NSA, but neither is it muckraking.In the 1980s I wished that "The Puzzle Palace" had not been written; it seemed to me to contain considerable material that would have best been left unpublished (and would have been if the United States had anything like the British Official Secrets Act.) Looking back from the vantage point of 2001, I note only one brief item in "The Puzzle Palace" that I know harmed... read more

Best book on SIGINT, best use of open sources

By Robert David STEELE Vivas - April 8, 2000

The book is nothing short of sensational, for two reasons: itis the first and still the only really comprehensive look at globalsignals intelligence operations as dominated by the National Security Agency; and second, because all of his research was done using only open sources, including unclassified employee newsletters at Alice Springs, and he did a great job of making the most out of legally and ethically available information. James is still around, working on another book about SIGINT, and I believe that only he will be able to top this one.

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