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The Spy Factory

PBS’s Nova series recently did a feature titled “The Spy Factory“, which TDG readers might be interested in checking out:

In this program, an eye-opening documentary on the National Security Agency (NSA) by best-selling author James Bamford and Emmy Award-winning producer Scott Willis, NOVA exposes the ultra-secret intelligence agency’s role in the failure to stop the 9/11 attacks and the subsequent eavesdropping program that listens in without warrant on millions of American citizens.

…NOVA follows the trail of just one typical e-mail sent from Asia to the U.S. Streaming as pulses of light into a fiber-optic cable, it travels across the Pacific Ocean, coming ashore in California, and finally reaching an AT&T facility in San Francisco, where the cable is split and the data sent to a secret NSA monitoring room on the floor below. This enables the NSA to intercept not only most Asian e-mail messages but also the entire U.S. internal Internet traffic.

Thus, since 9/11, the agency has turned its giant ear inward to monitor the communications of ordinary Americans, many of whom are on the government’s secret watch list, now more than half-a-million names long.

The entire program can be watched online, but only if you live in the United States due to rights restrictions (which I like to spell A-S-S). As such, I can’t tell you much more as I can’t see it without some fancy proxy fiddling. But even if you can’t watch the program, you can still access some of the extra features on the website, such as this article on the latest technology being used by the NSA to ‘read your mind’.

For more information you could also check out some of the books written by James Bamford, such as The Puzzle Palace (Amazon US and UK) and The Shadow Factory (Amazon US and UK).

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