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Watching Me Watching You

With the recent revelations about the monitoring of German chancellor Angela Merkel’s cell phone, the American intelligence community has come under unprecedented public scrutiny. Even the ultra-secretive National Security Agency is being asked to justify its information-gathering activities. Questions are being raised about electronic surveillance not only overseas but also here at home. Check out these recent titles in Richland Library’s collection to follow the controversy over U.S. intelligence policy.


Amazon Says: A New York Times bestseller Now also an Oscar-nominated documentary In Dirty Wars, Jeremy Scahill, author of the New York Times bestseller Blackwater, takes us inside more...
Amazon Says: A New York Times bestseller Now also an Oscar-nominated documentary In Dirty Wars, Jeremy Scahill, author of the New York Times bestseller Blackwater, takes us inside America's new covert wars. The foot soldiers in these battles operate globally and inside the United States with orders from the White House to do whatever is necessary to hunt down, capture or kill individuals designated by the president as enemies. Drawn from the ranks of the Navy SEALs, Delta Force, former Blackwater and other private security contractors, the CIA's Special Activities Division and the Joint Special Operations Command ( JSOC), these elite soldiers operate worldwide, with thousands of secret commandos working in more than one hundred countries. Funded through “black budgets,” Special Operations Forces conduct missions in denied areas, engage in targeted killings, snatch and grab individuals and direct drone, AC-130 and cruise missile strikes. While the Bush administration deployed these ghost militias, President Barack Obama has expanded their operations and given them new scope and legitimacy. Dirty Wars follows the consequences of the declaration that “the world is a battlefield,” as Scahill uncovers the most important foreign policy story of our time. From Afghanistan to Yemen, Somalia and beyond, Scahill reports from the frontlines in this high-stakes investigation and explores the depths of America's global killing machine. He goes beneath the surface of these covert wars, conducted in the shadows, outside the range of the press, without effective congressional oversight or public debate. And, based on unprecedented access, Scahill tells the chilling story of an American citizen marked for assassination by his own government. As US leaders draw the country deeper into conflicts across the globe, setting the world stage for enormous destabilization and blowback, Americans are not only at greater risk—we are changing as a nation. Scahill unmasks the shadow warriors who prosecute these secret wars and puts a human face on the casualties of unaccountable violence that is now official policy: victims of night raids, secret prisons, cruise missile attacks and drone strikes, and whole classes of people branded as “suspected militants.” Through his brave reporting, Scahill exposes the true nature of the dirty wars the United States government struggles to keep hidden. less...
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Amazon Says: In this eye-opening work, the president of the ACLU takes a hard look at the human and social costs of the War on Terror. Over a decade after 9/11, it is far from clear that t more...
Amazon Says: In this eye-opening work, the president of the ACLU takes a hard look at the human and social costs of the War on Terror. Over a decade after 9/11, it is far from clear that the government's hastily adopted antiterrorist tactics--such as the Patriot Act--are keeping us safe, but it is increasingly clear that these emergency measures in fact have the potential to ravage our lives--and have already done just that to countless Americans. From the Oregon lawyer falsely suspected of involvement with terrorism in Spain to the former University of Idaho football player arrested on the pretext that he was needed as a "material witness" (though he was never called to testify), this book is filled with unsettling stories of ordinary people caught in the government's dragnet. These are not just isolated mistakes in an otherwise sound program, but demonstrations of what can happen when our constitutional protections against government abuse are abandoned. Whether it's running a chat room, contributing to a charity, or even urging a terrorist group to forego its violent tactics, activities that should be protected by the First Amendment can now lead to prosecution. Blacklists and watchlists keep people grounded at airports and strand American citizens abroad, although these lists are rife with errors--errors that cannot be challenged. National Security Letters allow the FBI to demand records about innocent people from libraries, financial institutions, and internet service providers without ever going to court. Government databanks now brim with information about every aspect of our private lives, while efforts to mount legal challenges to these measures have been stymied. Barack Obama, like George W. Bush, relies on secrecy and exaggerated claims of presidential prerogative to keep the courts and Congress from fully examining whether these laws and policies are constitutional, effective, or even counterproductive. Democracy itself is undermined. This book is a wake-up call for all Americans, who remain largely unaware of the post-9/11 surveillance regime's insidious and continuing growth. less...
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Amazon Says: Based on access to never-before-seen task forces and FBI bases from Budapest, Hungary, to Quantico, Virginia, this book profiles the visionary agents who risked their lives to more...
Amazon Says: Based on access to never-before-seen task forces and FBI bases from Budapest, Hungary, to Quantico, Virginia, this book profiles the visionary agents who risked their lives to bring down criminals and terrorists both here in the U.S. and thousands of miles away long before the rest of the country was paying attention to terrorism. Given unprecedented access, thousands of pages of once secret documents, and hundreds of interviews, Garrett M. Graff takes us inside the FBI and its attempt to protect America from the Munich Olympics in 1972 to the attempted Times Square bombing in 2010. It also tells the inside story of the FBI's behind-the-scenes fights with the CIA, the Department of Justice, and five White Houses over how to combat terrorism, balance civil liberties, and preserve security. The book also offers a never-before-seen intimate look at FBI Director Robert Mueller, the only U.S. national security leader still in office from 9/11, and the most important director since Hoover himself. Covering more than 30 years of history and coming right up until the present day of the Obama administration's response to terrorist attacks like that on Christmas Day 2009 in Detroit, the book explores the transformation of the FBI from a domestic law enforcement agency, handling bank robberies and local crimes, into an international intelligence agency--with more than 500 agents operating in more than 60 countries overseas today--fighting extremist terrorism, cyber crimes, and, for the first time, American suicide bombers. Brilliantly reported and suspensefully told, The Threat Matrix peers into the darkest corners of this secret war and will change your view of the FBI forever. less...
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Amazon Says: From the author's Introduction: Let me start by saying what this book is not.It is not an attack on the men and women of the Clandestine Service of the Central Intelligence more...
Amazon Says: From the author's Introduction: Let me start by saying what this book is not.It is not an attack on the men and women of the Clandestine Service of the Central Intelligence Agency, the overwhelming majority of whom are dedicated, patriotic Americans working hard everyday on behalf of their fellow citizens. God knows that they do not do it for the money nor do they do it for the recognition. They do it because they believe in the work, and because they know, as I do, that there really are monsters in the world, and someone has to protect us from them.It is also not an argument against the existence of a central human intelligence collection organization within the United States Government. We desperately needed a central intelligence agency in 1947 when the CIA was created. We even more desperately need such an entity today. The threats facing us are multiplying and becoming more complex. The time horizons in which threats are emerging are shortening. Technology is evolving at an astonishing rate, and we really are fast approaching the day when there will be dozens of groups and nations on this planet capable of threatening us with biological, chemical, radiological and nuclear weapons. This is not pulp fiction. This is reality.This book is an argument that the existing Central Intelligence Agency is no longer capable of performing the task for which it was designed and must, rapidly, be replaced. less...
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Amazon Says: Using exclusive access to key insiders, Shane Harris charts the rise of America's surveillance state over the past twenty-five years and highlights a dangerous paradox: Ou more...
Amazon Says: Using exclusive access to key insiders, Shane Harris charts the rise of America's surveillance state over the past twenty-five years and highlights a dangerous paradox: Our government's strategy has made it harder to catch terrorists and easier to spy on the rest of us. Our surveillance state was born in the brain of Admiral John Poindexter in 1983. Poindexter, Reagan's National Security Advisor, realized that the United States might have prevented the terrorist massacre of 241 Marines in Beirut if only intelligence agencies had been able to analyze in real time data they had on the attackers. Poindexter poured government know-how and funds into his dream-a system that would sift reams of data for signs of terrorist activity. Decades later, that elusive dream still captivates Washington. After the 2001 attacks, Poindexter returned to government with a controversial program, called Total Information Awareness, to detect the next attack. Today it is a secretly funded operation that can gather personal information on every American and millions of others worldwide. But Poindexter's dream has also become America's nightmare. Despite billions of dollars spent on this digital quest since the Reagan era, we still can't discern future threats in the vast data cloud that surrounds us all. But the government can now spy on its citizens with an ease that was impossible-and illegal-just a few years ago. Drawing on unprecedented access to the people who pioneered this high-tech spycraft, Harris shows how it has shifted from the province of right- wing technocrats to a cornerstone of the Obama administration's war on terror. Harris puts us behind the scenes and in front of the screens where twenty-first-century spycraft was born. We witness Poindexter quietly working from the private sector to get government to buy in to his programs in the early nineties. We see an army major agonize as he carries out an order to delete the vast database he's gathered on possible terror cells-and on thousands of innocent Americans-months before 9/11. We follow General Mike Hayden as he persuades the Bush administration to secretly monitor Americans based on a flawed interpretation of the law. After Congress publicly bans the Total Information Awareness program in 2003, we watch as it is covertly shifted to a "black op," which protects it from public scrutiny. When the next crisis comes, our government will inevitably crack down on civil liberties, but it will be no better able to identify new dangers. This is the outcome of a dream first hatched almost three decades ago, and The Watchers is an engrossing, unnerving wake-up call. less...
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Amazon Says: In the first complete history of the National Security Agency, America's most powerful and secretive intelligence organization. In February 2006, while more...
Amazon Says: 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. less...
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Amazon Says: In this entertaining and highly revealing account of his attempt to dodge Britain's 4.2 million CCTV cameras and other forms of surveillance, Ross Clark lays bare the astonish more...
Amazon Says: In this entertaining and highly revealing account of his attempt to dodge Britain's 4.2 million CCTV cameras and other forms of surveillance, Ross Clark lays bare the astonishing amount of personal data which is hoarded by the state and by commercial organizations, and asks whom should we fear most: the government agencies who are spying on us - or the criminals who seem to prosper in the swirling fog of excessive data-collection. less...
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