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Using exclusive access to key insiders, Harris charts the rise of America''s surveillance state over the past 25 years and highlights a dangerous paradox: The government''s strategy has made it harder to catch terrorists and easier to spy on civilians.
"Mr. Harris....uses smart technical analysis and crisp writing to put the reader inside the room with the watchers and to help better understand the mind-set that gave rise to the modern surveillance state....At its best THE WATCHERS provides an insightful glimpse into how Washington works and how ideas are marketed and sold in the back rooms of power, whether the product being peddled is widgets or a radical model for intelligence gathering."
From the Publisher
Charts the rise of America's surveillance state throughout the past quarter century, arguing that government strategy has made it harder to catch terrorists and easier to spy on everyday citizens, in an account that cites the contributions of such figures as Admiral John Poindexter and General Mike Hayden.
According to journalist Shane Harris, the "War on Terrorism" has provided the U.S. government with an excuse to implement unprecedented surveillance technologies and procedures which currently enable covert agencies such as the NSA to illegally monitor private communications and gather mountains of confidential data on any citizen. Harris traces this development directly back to Ronald Reagan's National Security Advisor John Poindexter, who called for the creation of "real-time" surveillance capabilities after a terrorist attack in Beirut killed more than 200 U.S. Marines in 1983. Working in the private sector in the 1990s, Poindexter introduced a system with the Orwellian name of "Total Information Awareness," which was enacted by the Bush administration after 9/11. Citing inside sources, Harris illustrates the frightening capabilities of this invasive (and illegal) security apparatus, and demonstrates its ineffectiveness at identifying terrorist activity.