No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State Hardcover – 13 May 2014
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"Impassioned . . . gripping . . . Greenwald amplifies our understanding of the N.S.A.'s sweeping ambitions . . . and delivers a fierce argument in defense of the right of privacy." --Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
"Rings with authority . . . vital for anyone interested in civil liberties . . . this book is an antidote to the common public perception that government spooks are only interested in 'bad' people." --Chicago Tribune
"Incisive, slashing . . . Greenwald's pugilistic skills are on full display . . . If you want to get a handle on what was at stake when Snowden downloaded the government's most precious secrets onto a thumb drive, this book is your primer." --Slate
"Provides an excellent overview of the NSA's still-classified activities and lack of legal controls, putting the pieces together in a way that daily journalism cannot." --The Economist
"A vital discussion on Snowden's revelations." --Los Angeles Times
"Reads like a thriller . . . With heart-pounding suspense, John le Carre-like intrigue and Jeffersonian fidelity to the principles of human freedom . . . No Place to Hide is also a morality tale about the personal courage required of Snowden and Greenwald and his colleagues to expose government wrongdoing and the risk to their lives, liberties and properties in doing so." --Judge Andrew P. Napolitano, FOX News
"Shocking . . . It is hard to argue with Greenwald's contention that 'the NSA is the definitive rogue agency.'" --The Christian Science Monitor
"A fascinating read that adds much to the debate on national security and privacy." --Los Angeles Review of Books
"A smart, impassioned indictment of what Greenwald calls 'fear-driven, obsequious journalism.'" --San Francisco Chronicle
"A compelling narrative that puts the most explosive revelations about official criminality into vital context . . . The book ends with a beautiful, barn-burning coda in which Greenwald sets out his case for a society free from surveillance. It reads like the transcript of a particularly memorable speech--an 'I have a dream' speech; a 'Blood, sweat, toil and tears' speech. . . . It's a speech I hope to hear Greenwald deliver himself someday." --Cory Doctorow, Boing Boing
"Eloquent . . . powerful . . . Greenwald makes a persuasive case that this is a battle that has engulfed us all, and one that has not yet ended" --VICE
About the Author
- Publisher : Metropolitan Books (13 May 2014)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 259 pages
- ISBN-10 : 162779073X
- ISBN-13 : 978-1627790734
- Dimensions : 16.03 x 2.34 x 24.08 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: 205,942 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from Australia
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Greenwald spends the last third of the book trying to convince you of his journalistic merits and rebut negative claims published against him by the major American media outlets.
Despite this the book is an informative read with excellent source material.
The author discusses his treatment at the hands of Government and his peers, which is deeply disturbing. If the authors account is true then it highlights the strong 'status quo' bias of mainstream media. The political interference of media moguls such as Rupert Murdock is well documented, but I had no idea it extended as far and as pervasively as depicted.
Snowdens actions, although linked by the author to his own decisions to release the classified material; is an entirely different matter. The author paints Snowden as a hero of free speech. Snowden by his own admission actively sought positions and postings to gain further access to classified material aimed at embarrassing and highlighting the actions of the NSA. Although NSA has moved from targeted surveillance to 'collect it all' under Hayden; this is no justification for Snowdens actions.
He had ample avenues to raise his concerns or to simply leave. Instead he chose to break his oath of secrecy and release classified material. The author goes to great lengths to justify Snowdens actions on the premise that 'no one was killed' but this ignores the basic fact of Government, that some issues, such as intelligence, have to remain secret.
Edward Snowden will be consigned to history as one of, if not the worst traitor in US history.
Top reviews from other countries
The fact the NSA is spying on global communications is not anything new, it's the size, scope and illegal nature of the spying that is causing the scandal, for example they were tracking every phone call made by users of AT&T (without needing to get a warrant) and were intercepting routers been sent abroad to put spying devices on them.
This book follows Glenn's first meeting with Edward Snowden, basic information about what is in the documents, the release of the documents, the response to the leaking and what this means politically and philosophically.
It is interesting to read about how the media handle the revealing of government secrets.
"Worse, I knew that the Post would dutifully abide by the unwritten protective rules that govern how the establishment media report on official secrets. According to these rules, which allow the government to control disclosures and minimize, even neuter, their impact, editors first go to officials and advise them what they intend to publish. National security officials then tell the editors all the ways in which national security will supposedly be damaged by the disclosures. A protracted negotiation takes place over what will and will not be published. At best, substantial delay results. Often, patently newsworthy information is suppressed. This is most likely what led the Post, when reporting the existence of CIA black sites in 2005, to conceal the identities of those countries in which prisons were based, thus allowing the lawless CIA torture sites to continue. "
"This same process caused the New York Times to conceal the existence of the NSA's warrantless eavesdropping program for more than a year after its reporters, James Risen and Eric Lichtblau, were ready to report it in mid-2004. President Bush had summoned the paper's publisher, Arthur Sulzberger, and its editor in chief, Bill Keller, to the Oval Office to insist, ludicrously, that they would be helping terrorists if they revealed that the NSA was spying on Americans without the warrants required by law. The New York Times obeyed these dictates and blocked publication of the article for fifteen months--until the end of 2005, after Bush had been reelected (thereby allowing him to stand for reelection while concealing from the public that he was eavesdropping on Americans without warrants). Even then, the Times eventually ran the NSA story only because a frustrated Risen was about to publish the revelations in his book and the paper did not want to be scooped by its own reporter."
A common defence for government spying is if your doing nothing wrong you have nothing to fear, but unfortunately anybody that pisses off the authorities becomes the target for spying, both Martin Luther King and John Lennon were spied on by American government agencies and just knowing that authorities may be listening causes people to be more likely to accept the status que rather than risk attention by speaking out against injustice. And the files leaked show the information was been used for economic spying as well.
It is also interesting to read about the character attacks unleashed on Greenwald and Snowden with all manner of name calling ( this a logical fallacy known as "ad hominem" because even if those claims are true it does not make any difference to the fact that the NSA are illegally spying on people). Government intimidation and bullying of journalists involved with the case is also covered.
"Internet freedom-- the ability to use the network without institutional constraints, social or state control, and pervasive fear-- is central to the fulfillment of that promise. Converting the Internet into a system of surveillance thus guts it of its core potential. Worse, it turns the Internet into a tool of repression, threatening to produce the most extreme and oppressive weapon of state intrusion human history has ever seen. That's what makes Snowden's revelations so stunning and so vitally important. By daring to expose the NSA's astonishing surveillance capabilities and its even more astounding ambitions, he has made it clear, with these disclosures, that we stand at a historic crossroads. Will the digital age usher in the individual liberation and political freedoms that the Internet is uniquely capable of unleashing? Or will it bring about a system of omnipresent monitoring and control, beyond the dreams of even the greatest tyrants of the past? Right now, either path is possible. Our actions will determine where we end up."
In the book, Greenwald does his best to make us ordinary people understand how pernicious the NSA spying is. I believe that most of us think that the US are just wasting their effort by collecting data about our more or less trivial activities, but the thing is that IF we get by chance caught in a web of suspicion, the data can be used to build up a case against almost anybody. As long as we are in the great swarm of small fish,we are safe, but who knows what can happen? When the swarm disappears and you are left alone, then the data concerning you can prove fatal.
So this is a very dark book which leaves one very much disturbed and worried! Is Greenwald paranoid, am I becoming paranoid, or should I really worry about this? You choose,after reading the book!
Your interpretation of this book will therefore depend very much on what you think of its subject: is Edward Snowden a brave, whistle-blowing patriot, who forfeited a lucrative career in Hawaii and had to sever links with his girlfriend and family and risk a potential lifetime in prison, all to expose how anybody who uses mobile phones or the Internet, has no privacy whatsoever and that everything they do and say, every website they visit, message or email they send, every phonecall they make and social media they interact with, is all being hoovered up and stored by an organisation that has little effective oversight; or, is Snowden a cowardly traitor who illegally stole secrets and publicised them for the world to see and has therefore impeded the "war against terror", jeopardising the public's security for the sake of his own ego and personal agenda, taking refuge in that bastion of openness and democracy, Russia?
Regardless of your take on this matter, the importance of the story itself is beyond debate and this is where the value of Greenwald's book lies. Greenwald breaks the story down into three highly readable sections: the first details how Snowden at first made contact with Greenwald and they met up in Hong Kong. This facet reads in some respect like a spy story: all encrypted communications and surreptitious meetings.
The second section and perhaps the driest to read, covers the revelations themselves, illustrated with NSA PowerPoint presentations. This part covers what is actually happening, in terms of a global eavesdropping mission. The targets are not only the predictable bogeymen (Iran et al) but friendly countries like Germany and Mexico, along with spying on economic targets (oil businesses that rival US businesses) and diplomat targets such as the United Nations, all to give the US the upper hand when it comes to international negotiations.
The third part of the book - and for me the most interesting - is Greenwald's analysis of the mainstream mass media's reaction to his revelations. In this part, Greenwald accuses a complacent media of taking a deferential position to power as their default setting and that those that challenge this convention are "irresponsible" "naive" or at worst, giving help to terrorists and therefore treasonous.
No Place to Hide is a hugely important book that deserves the widest possible audience - perhaps Oliver Stone's forthcoming film will help raise it's profile. It is well written and highly engaging in most respects, even if the middle section loses its way somewhat. Author Glenn Greenwald's background is as a former litigator and as a consequence, the book has a certain courtroom, accusatory touch to it, which elevates it above mere dry reportage. Regardless of your position on this controversy, No Place to Hide will be extremely informative for you - a crucial book on the biggest national security leak in the history of the United States.
It does sometimes feel like a screenplay waiting to be produced but aside from the style (possibly the ego) of the writer this is well worth reading.
The implications of such mass surveillance are worth thinking about properly and this book lays bare the scope of US ambition. It also is quite frightening in the way it documents how the US administration has lied about surveillance when specifically asked by those authorities to whom it is supposed to be accountable!
Not only should this book be required reading for every Amercian, every high-school student in America should be promptly provided with a copy, because it is only the younger generation who will be able to return America to constitutional government.
Edward Snowden reminded Americans that every Federal government employee, from the President on down, and every member of the armed services takes an oath to "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States,” not to follow unconstitutional orders or perform unconstitutional acts, even when they are law of the land.
Therefore, in order to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, if may sometimes be necessary to break the law or disobey orders. That is because the “supreme law of the land” as defined in the Constitution is the actual laws within the Constitution of the United States itself.
The "supreme law of the land" means that no other law within the United States of America trumps or surpasses the power of the laws within the Constitution.
Therefore, Edward Snowden may have broken the law, but he definitely did not violate the Constitution of the United States of America; instead, he defended the Constitution, just as his oath of office required.