Timeline of NSA revelations
"13 Ways the NSA Has Spied on Us"
One of the NSA's least known and most potent surveillance tools: EO 12333
The false and propagandistic notion of an American "oath" of secrecy
Not so many burning Humvees in Desert Storm, true, but see Day 15 and Day 41
How an undersea oil eruption became a "leak"
"Enhanced Interrogation" sounds better in the original German
It's almost as though all these "narcissist" hacks were working off the same set of talking points
Speaking of the "narcissism" talking points/projection, don't miss Jay Rosen on the "Toobin Principle"
"They are using the exact same deny, degrade, distract, disrupt, destroy playbook against [Snowden] that his own revelations show are being used against every other activist."
Our august lawmakers solicit the Defense Intelligence Agency for dirt they can use to undermine Snowden's credibility
1.2 million people on US government watch list
US/Turkish intelligence cooperation
More on NSA Special Liaison Advisors
Mesh network CCTV surveillance systems are trivial to hack
Harvard secretly installs cameras in its classrooms
Identifying people via biometric data like height, stride length, and walking speed
"New Surveillance Technology Can Track Everyone in an Area for Several Hours at a Time"
Facial recognition technology is everywhere, even in churches
Who is this Marcy Wheeler?!
Intelligence agencies achieve greater openness by prohibiting officials from talking to media
How the NSA tracks cell phone locations
A lost dog identified three thousand miles from home via a microchip implant. Coming soon to babies everywhere, no doubt
Amazingly, about a day after I wrote the scene where the director ruminates about using a kidnapping to persuade Americans to have microchips implanted in their children, this was published (and quickly debunked)
Another place the government used the all-seeing eye of providence was as part of the design for the Total Information Awareness program. The Latin means "knowledge is power"
The brilliant cartoonist Tom Tomorrow summed up Total Information Awareness perfectly . . . all the way back in 2002
United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture finds Chelsea Manning's treatment cruel and inhuman
Yemenis seek justice in wedding drone strike
The best coverage of America's drone wars ever is courtesy of comedian John Oliver
Detaining someone assisting in journalism under the pretext of antiterrorism
Airplanes are vulnerable to cyberhacking, too
Everything in a high-end car is microprocessor-controlled—even the steering
Hertz puts cameras inside some of its rental cars
It's possible Manus has seen this video on concealing a handgun inside a vehicle
How Western media is manipulated by ISIS into spreading jihadist propaganda
The real starship Enterprise-like "Information Dominance Center," used by former NSA chief Keith Alexander, is at Fort Belvoir, not Fort Meade. But I couldn't resist moving it
See how excited Brian Williams gets when the government permits him a peek inside the (gasp) Situation Room!
If you think Brian's interview of the director was deferential to the point of parody, you probably haven't seen Wolf Blitzer's version, with FBI director James Comey:
Pakistani government forces cell phone users to turn over fingerprints or lose their service
ACLU rendition of just how powerful a tool location data can be
Leaving your cell phone at home when you go out? Using encryption? The NSA might think you're a terrorist
NSA spied on US senators
"We Kill People Based on Metadata"
ISIS waterboarded journalist James Foley
Obama prosecutes whistleblowers under the 1917 Espionage Act more than twice as many times as all administrations in history combined
Secret FISA "court" is nothing but an administrative rubber stamp
FISA "court" approves 99.97 percent of government surveillance requests
Journalists relying on face-to-face meetings and human couriers
NSA spends billions to weaken international standards, install backdoors, and otherwise subvert encryption
NSA intercepts shipments of Internet-ordered computers; infects them with malware
"Secret Documents Reveal NSA Campaign Against Encryption"
"A Few Thoughts on Cryptographic Engineering"
The menace of "insider threats"
Over 700,000,000 people changing their online behavior to evade NSA surveillance
US Postal Service logs all mail for law enforcement
Over 1.5 million people with top secret clearances (more than the population of Norway)
"New Hi-Tech Police Surveillance: The 'StingRay' Cell Phone Spying Device"
In case you're wondering how the director can come up with spare grenade launchers to trade like playing cards
NSA's AURORAGOLD cell phone eavesdropping and encryption subversion program
NASA's SHARAD technology
And other existing and coming means of peering through brick and concrete
Mobile IMSI-catcher cell phone trackers
Pakistani government forces cell phone users to turn over fingerprints or lose their service
"We don't know if it was terrorism" means "We don't know if it was Muslims," and other aspects of the "terrorism expert" industry
If you think Barbara Stirr's exchange with the director was deferential to the point of parody, you probably haven't seen Wolf Blitzer's version, with FBI director James Comey
"US Military Drone Network in the Middle East and Africa"
US automatically counts all military-age males killed as terrorists
ISIS claims US hostage killed in coalition air strike in Syria
On the CIA choosing its own pet reporters, by two great journalists for whom I've named characters in other books—Dan Froomkin and Scott Horton
Wolf Blitzer is a particularly compliant tool
The New York Times helpfully publishes the government's side of the story: Sure, American hostages were killed, but counterterrorism officials and analysts say the drone program overall is effective . . .
Establishment "journalists" detest whistleblowers
The surveillance state never stops looking for excuses to increase its powers
"Former FBI Assistant Director: To Keep Budgets High, We Must 'Keep Fear Alive'"
The FBI's tendency to create, then take credit for dismantling, terror plots that could never have existed without the FBI's assistance
TED talk by Trevor Aaronson on how the FBI's tactics create domestic terrorists
To get what you want it's good to "scare hell" out of the American people
New eavesdropping equipment sucks all the data off your cell phone
"A Decade After 9/11, Police Departments Are Increasingly Militarized"
FBI behind mysterious surveillance aircraft over US cities
More on domestic surveillance aircraft
This ACLU domestic drone "nightmare scenario" from 2012 doesn't sound so far-fetched now, does it?
Spy organizations routinely monitor email accounts of journalists, assessing investigative journalists as a threat comparable to terrorists and hackers
More on the NSA spying on journalists
FBI's instructions to police: "Do not advise this individual that they [sic] may be on a terrorist watchlist"
White House: "It is with tremendous sorrow that we recently concluded that a US Government counterterrorism operation in January killed two innocent hostages held by al-Qaeda"
One day after the news that US drones killed American hostages, the PR counteroffensive kicks into gear: "Counterterrorism officials and analysts say . . ."
"5 NSA Whistleblowers Who Came Before Snowden"
More on what happened to every NSA whistleblower who tried to work through the system can be found in chapter 9 of James Risen's excellent book, Pay Any Price: Greed, Power, and Endless War (New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014)
More on Jesselyn Radack, whistleblower and lawyer to whistleblowers
Peyton Quinn's Five Rules for Managing Impending Violence
HUMINT, SIGINT . . . and now, LOVEINT
The National License Plate Reader (LPR) Initiative—the DEA's massive license plate tracking system, open to other federal agencies
Using license plate trackers to monitor gun shows . . . and what else?
License plate readers are being paired with facial recognition technology, just like Evie's camera network
The NSA targets the privacy conscious
XKeyscore: NSA's Google for the World's Private Communications
How XKeyscore works
How the FBI caught Petraeus: cross-referencing metadata, all without a warrant
MIT researchers report they don't need an individual's name, address, or credit card number to identify people
Don't worry; it's just metadata!
The CIA intercepts whistleblower communications
How a surveillance system ostensibly targeted at terrorists in fact sucks in massive amounts of unrelated people and data: Canada's download dragnet
How to leak securely using SecureDrop
CIA director's attempt to conceal emails by saving them as drafts, not sending
If you're using encryption, the NSA is watching extra closely
Lawyer-client privileged communications are of particular interest
Governments monitor WikiLeaks website, collect IP addresses of visitors
Thinking about searching for privacy-enhancing tools? The NSA is watching for that
UK Parliamentary Committee: "GCHQ's bulk interception capability is used primarily to find patterns in, or characteristics of, online communications which indicate involvement in threats to national security"—aka God's Eye
NSA spies on journalists
"Surveillance Forces Journalists to Think and Act Like Spies"
This is by design: "When journalists must compete with spies and surveillance, even if they win, society loses."
Another example of God's Eye-type pattern recognition: the NSA's SKYNET program
Israel's Unit 8200 uses compromising information gathered from captured emails to coerce key Palestinians. Unthinkable NSA does anything similar?
Turning a phone into a listening device via WARRIOR PRIDE and NOSEY SMURF (yes, they really have names like that—your tax dollars at work)
New exploit turns Samsung Galaxy phones into remote bugging devices
Using a cell phone's gyroscopes like a microphone
The $2.8 billion JLENS blimps floating over Maryland
The CIA/US Marshals joint cell phone tracking initiative
Accessing baby monitors and other listening devices
Entertainment systems listening in on your living room conversations
The NSA converts spoken words into searchable text so surveillance of conversations can be conducted at huge scale
I wish I were inventing the phrase "civil liberties extremist," as clear a sign of our authoritarian times as any. Alas, I'm not. Pity Barry Goldwater
"When you collect it all, when you monitor everyone, you understand nothing."
"We are drowning in information. And yet we know nothing."
Former CIA and NSA director Michael Hayden's "off-the-record" interview gets live-tweeted
Former NSA director Keith Alexander doesn't cover his laptop webcam
Not quite the "privacy advocate" position imagined in the book, but close enough: the president's blue ribbon intelligence reform panel recommends "public interest advocate"
Names change; programs continue
For more on the real-world events depicted in the prologue and in the novel generally, I recommend Glenn Greenwald's No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2014)
And Laura Poitras's Oscar- and other award-winning documentary, Citizenfour
A brief history of the US surveillance state
Julian Assange's When Google Met WikiLeaks (New York: OR Books, 2014)
Scott Horton's Lords of Secrecy: The National Security Elite and America's Stealth Warfare (New York: Nation Books, 2015)
For an overview of the ever-metastasizing international surveillance state, I recommend two great books:
Julia Angwin's Dragnet Nation: A Quest for Privacy, Security, and Freedom In a World of Relentless Surveillance (Times Books, 2014)
Bruce Schneier's Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World (W. W. Norton & Company, 2015)
If you'd like some historical context for Edward Snowden's actions and what the government has been trying to do to him, Judith Ehrlich's and Rick Goldsmith's Academy Award-nominated The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers is as illuminating as it is riveting