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No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA,…

No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State (2014)

by Glenn Greenwald

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I gave this a 4 star because I want to withhold a star for healthy skepticism. It is such alarming an book, that I need to be skeptical! The power of the NSA can't be that bad. Surely this whole panopticon paranoia is in the same category as Area 51 coverups and the staging of the first lunar landing. Right?

If you were like me, and didn't pay attention to the whole Snowden story in the first place, then this is a way to circle back and take look. I've read other reviews hailing Snowden as a hero, and certainly this book is about repairing lost reputations of Snowden and his supporters. But I'm not ready to call him a hero. Neither would I call him a villain or even a narcissist. A traitor? Maybe. He did break the law, and I wonder what the ramification are in regards to our national security. Was it right for him to make the decision to leak secret documents on our behalf to expose the NSA? I think you'll have to read and decide for yourself.

Greenwald unfolds the Snowden story for us, as well as breaks down the capabilities the US has when it comes to sweeping up our information in indiscriminate quantities. He also takes a whack at the "so what" if the government scans my emails. There are many valid points to why we should all be concerned (or outraged and paranoid) about the power the NSA has to access our lives. Basically you'll be seeing the Eye of Sauron in your sleep after you read this book. Regardless if Snowden's actions were right or wrong, this book will challenge you to rethink the way you view national security, privacy, and personal freedom.

( )
  kerchie1 | Jun 9, 2017 |
As I write this, the conclusion of the Edward Snowden story remains unresolved. The fallout after the leaks were a mix of outrage and apathy, and Snowden himself is still exiled overseas.

No Place to Hide by Glenn Greenwald is well-researched and well-written. Though I can't say I have an interest in the topic much more than what crops up in the news from time to time. Many who intersect with this narrative seem to border on the side of reactionary conspiracy theory alarmists. Not all, but far too many for my regard. ( )
  Daniel.Estes | Feb 14, 2017 |
I'm giving this book five stars, even though the book isn't perfect. The first part drags a bit, and if you're looking for a fast-paced tale of espionage, this isn't it either. But it took some serious courage for both Snowden to reveal what he did and for Greenwald to stand up to the US government (amid calls for his arrest and prosecution for even daring to print articles using the leaked NSA documents), and I am just giving two thumbs up (and would give more if I had more thumbs) for them refusing to back down.

I think most (if not all) readers coming to this book know about Edward Snowden, at least a little bit, so I'm not going to talk about him in this review. And Greenwald doesn't go into great detail about Snowden, either; sure, he mentions Snowden's background and how he got to be where he was, but this is no biography of Snowden. Instead, Greenwald's main focus for the last half of the book (which is by far the more interesting half) is the NSA and the American surveillance state - and that is how Snowden wanted it.

Look, everyone has an opinion about Snowden. He's a hero. He's a traitor. He's a patriot. He's a turncoat. He's selfless. He's a narcissistic egomaniac. He's a paragon of virtue. He belongs in prison. He's trying to set the country right by exposing the NSA. He's trying to bring the country down by exposing state secrets. But you know what? None of that fucking matters. Because instead of demonizing Snowden, or even putting him on a pedestal, we should be focused on what the documents he released actually say, rather than focusing on the medium.

I have my own opinions of Snowden. I do see him as a patriot. But my opinion of him does not matter.

What matters is that the NSA, under both Republican and Democratic presidencies, has been spying on American citizens and doesn't give one fucking shit about civil liberties. And someone can argue, which many have, "oh, if you don't have anything to hide, you shouldn't be afraid." Can anyone HONESTLY say that they have nothing to hide? Really? Never looked at some porn you'd not want your parents, significant other, or kids to find out about? Never cheated on a boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse? Never torrented files (music, ebooks, movies, whatever)? Never totally trashed your boss in an email? Never broke a law, no matter how petty? Never smoked some weed in an illegal state?

I am not saying the NSA will target anyone in particular. But if you cross their radar paths and they view you, for whatever reason, as a threat, they can and WILL use anything against you that they can dig up - and as the documents Edward Snowden released shows, they can dig up a whole bunch of shit.

Greenwald prints a lot of things in this book that the NSA definitely did not want people to see. There are PowerPoint slides, memos, briefings, etc that are all in this book (see chapter three, mostly). And they paint a picture that is absolutely chilling.

And not only does Greenwald expose the NSA - he exposes corporate "journalism," which toadies up to those in charge. I've said for a long while that mass media can't be trusted, and the treatment of Snowden, Greenwald, the Guardian, and the NSA in "journalistic" circles just proves that. Hell, I grew up in a town where the newspaper only printed news that the "powers that be" in the town decided was newsworthy - and if they didn't want a story getting printed in the local paper, it sure didn't, even if the Columbus Dispatch and other local papers were running it on the front page. To think that this isn't happening on a national level is willful ignorance at this point.

Greenwald is far more optimistic about Snowden's leak than I am. I'm a pessimist at heart. And I see so many people trying to flay Snowden's character instead of focusing on what ACTUALLY FUCKING MATTERS. But there was definitely some good that came from the NSA leaks, if only to show the blatant disregard that the US government (and it doesn't matter WHICH party) has for those it is supposedly serving (the people) and their rights.

Highly recommended. ( )
  schatzi | Nov 10, 2016 |
My opinion for this novel is multi-faceted. I understand the gravity of the issue at hand, which is that America is becoming dominated by an omnipotent "Big Brother". I think that this is a topic that every American should at least be familiarized with and take a position on. As technology progresses and becomes more and more invasive, now is the time to create legislature that regulates such invasions. This legislature should be produced with heavy influence by the people themselves because his is a matter of the government directly engaging with the populace, and our representatives seem to lack the trust to make such decisions ( as Snowden reports). On the other hand, I found the author's personal conjecture at the end to be unnecessary, as I find the hard story and facts to be the meat of any production. His perceptions seemed to be shrouded by the heat of such a riveting, "modern-day espionage" story. ( )
  Justantolin | Mar 31, 2016 |
Interesting read and quick read. Book is nicely orgainzed. ( )
1 vote _RSK | Jan 26, 2016 |
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The United States government has perfected a technological capability that enables us to monitor the messages that go through the air. . . That capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything -- telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn't matter.  There would be no place to hide.

- Senator Frank Church, Chair, Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities, 1975
This book is dedicated to all those who have sought to shine a light on the US government's secret mass surveillance systems, particularly the courageous whistle-blowers who have risked their liberty to do so.
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Introduction:  In the fall of 2005, without much in the way of grandiose expectations, I decided to create a political blog.
When marginalized youths commit minor infractions, we as a society turn a blind eye as they suffer insufferable consequences in the world's largest prison system, yet when the richest and most powerful telecommunications providers in the country knowingly commit tens of millions of felonies, Congress passes our nation's first law providing their elite friends with full retroactive immunity--civil and criminal--for crimes that would have merited the longest sentences [] in history.
I understand that I will be made to suffer for my actions,and that the return of this information to the public marks my end. I will be satisfied if the federation of secret law, unequal pardon, and irresistible executive powers that rule the world that I love are revealed for even an instant. If you seek to help, join the open source community and fight to keep the spirit of the press alive and the internet free. I have been to the darkest corners of the government, and what they fear is light.
Taken in its entirety, the Snowden archive led to an ultimately simple conclusion: the U.S. government had built a system that has as its goal the complete elimination of electronic privacy worldwide.
(Glenn Greenwald writes...)
Congressman Alan Grayson wrote to Attorney General Holder, noting that prominent political figures called for my arrest and that I had had to decline an invitation to testify before Congress about the NSA due to concerns about possible prosecution. He concluded the letter saying:

I regard this as regrettable because (1) the commission of journalism is not a crime; (2) on the contrary, it is protected explicitly under the First Amendment; (3) Mr. Greenwald's reports regarding these subjects have, in fact, informed me, other members of Congress, and the general public of serious, pervasive violations of law and constitutional rights committed by agents of the government.
...Snowden...has reminded everyone about the extraordinary ability of any human being to change the world. An ordinary person in all outward respects--raised by parents without particular wealth or power, lacking even a high school diploma, working as an obscure employee of a giant corporation--he has, through a single act of conscience, literally altered the course of history.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 162779073X, Hardcover)

No Place to Hide is a groundbreaking look at the NSA surveillance scandal, from the reporter who broke the story

Investigative reporter for The Guardian and bestselling author Glenn Greenwald, provides an in-depth look into the NSA scandal that has triggered a national debate over national security and information privacy. With further revelations from documents entrusted to Glenn Greenwald by Edward Snowden himself, this book explores the extraordinary cooperation between private industry and the NSA, and the far-reaching consequences of the government’s surveillance program, both domestically and abroad.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:48 -0400)

"Investigative reporter for The Guardian and bestselling author Glenn Greenwald, provides an in-depth look into the NSA scandal that has triggered a national debate over national security and information privacy. With further revelations from documents entrusted to Glenn Greenwald by Edward Snowden himself, this book explores the extraordinary cooperation between private industry and the NSA, and the far-reaching consequences of the government's surveillance program, both domestically and abroad" --… (more)

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