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Publisher's Summary

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 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 best seller 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 Israel to the War on Terror.

©2009 Matthew Aid (P)2010 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"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)
“A sprawling but revealing look at a powerful, shadowy agency of the American government.” (Kirkus Reviews)

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Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall

A Favorite!

Anyone interested in intelligence, spying, and history, will enjoy this book, especially if they come from a technical background (radio electronics, computers, etc). Good narration and well written!

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Great research, fills in a lot of gaps

'The Secret Sentry' is a great piece of scholarship and reporting. NSA Directors are the main characters, and Aid does a stellar job bringing a story to life which could easily be just a dry retelling of facts. It is worth listening to -- I listened to it right after 'The Dead Hand' by David Hoffman, and they compliment each other well.

The narrator is okay. There are worse narrators, but his mispronunciations and errors demonstrate a distracting unfamiliarity with the subject (e.g. Douglas Feith's name, referring to the Korean Airlines call sign "KAL" as "cal" lots of little things like that throughout).

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Great facts and info

Where does The Secret Sentry rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

It was a good listen, but not the most engaging.

Any additional comments?

Great history and facts regarding not only the NSA, but also American security and sentry. Starts to feel redundant after a little while although its not. If you want facts and history, this is for you.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Eric
  • Norwich, CT, USA
  • 05-14-10

Very disappointing

I found the early history of the intelligence agencies interesting, but was disappointed by what seemed to me a very deliberately negative slant on just about everything NSA did after 1960. The rare positive comments were of the "damning with faint praise" category, while the negatives were scathing.

5 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Lot of past not enough now.

Lot of good information. Not enough about local current spying. But a good book. Worth the money.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Informative

Well researched and detailed accounts, at times there were run on's. Very satisfied with the content and complete coverage of NSAs history.