Despite its title, James Bamford’s The Shadow Factory does everything it can to bring the most secretive of government agencies, the National Security Agency, out of the shadows and into the light. Bamford’s extensive research reveals for the first time what this powerful spy factory does. He carefully describes how the Bush administration allowed the NSA to bypass the traditional warrant requirements of wiretapping to effectively listen in on nearly every digital signal in the U.S. He uncovers the countless number of secret rooms in AT&T and Verizon buildings which house equipment that monitors all Internet traffic. He reveals what the NSA sees and hears: your email, your phone calls, the websites you visit, what you buy with a credit card. And what’s worse, he describes in detail the outsourcing of this massive wiretapping system to foreign companies such as Narus and Verint, whose founders are now on the run from charges of bribery and extortion. At times, it’s impossible to believe The Shadow Factory is anything more than a sci-fi, conspiracy theory thriller written decades ago. Bamford's book, however, is a very real account of very real events which affect every American citizen.
Tonight on PBS there will be a NOVA special dedicated to Bamford's studies - it airs Feb. 3rd at 8pm on PBS and streams online at PBS.org
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