‘The Shadow Factory’

James Bamford’s excellent book on the National Security Agency’s record of work between 1990 and 2007 or 2008 reads better than a novel. The Shadow Factory was published in 2008. I would have liked to have got to this book sooner since it has such a fine record of the trail of the 9-11 terrorists in the Unites States. It is surprising to learn that some of them lived their final days two miles away from the N.S.A. headquarters at Ft. Mead, Md. before driving over to board flight 77 at Dulles airport.

I opposed the confirmation of General Hayden to lead the N.S.A. in the blogosphere of the time, and wasn’t too surprised to learn that he suppressed key evidence that would have alowed the F.B.I. , state department and the Oklahoma Highway Patrol amongst other agencies to arrest some of the hijackers and foil the plot. The General had an M.A. in history and not enough spookiness to his resume beyond air force intelligence to be able to lead the agency through some critical decisions optimally. Not the General’s fault of course-just his nature, but another bad federal appointee at high level following the public’s usual bad decisions about who to run for the top job since Ronald Reagan.

Anyway, the book is perhaps the best researched one might find and to the point.

http://www.nsa.gov/about/_images/pg_hi_res/nsa_aerial.jpg