Top critical review
"Getting Harder to Keep Secrets"
Reviewed in the United States on March 1, 2006
"Chatter: Dispatches from the Secret World of Global Eavesdropping," Patrick Keefe, NY Random House, 2005 ISBN 1-4000-6034-6, HC 300/242 pgs., Notes 38 pg., Biblio 7 pg., Glossary 5 pg., Index 16 pg., 9 1/2" x 6 1/2:"
The author's 1st book, Keefe, Yale law student with some reviews to his credit, furnishes the background & general working plan of U.S. international surveillance carried out by CIA & NSA (20,000 & 60,000 employees respectively) with emphasis on ESCHELON, a system that - (USA in conjunction with UK via "UKUSA" agreement & "Second Parties" of Canada, Australia & New Zealand) - has enough satellites & strategically located dish antennae to intercept, decipher & store essentially all electronic communications around the globe (includes land phones, cell phones, radio and satellite communications, etc.). This info is processed through a keyword "dictionary" & linguists to help sort out messages of interest, etc.
The author details, as best known to him, location of primary satellites & major dish antennae & the vigorous efforts used to maintain secrecy of the program, detailing some who inadvertently or purposely divulged information to bring unwanted attention to surveillance activities. The book is current in its focus, noting ESCHELON was first affirmed to exist May 18, 2001 & it discusses the Patriot Act following 9/11, Al Qaeda, & lowering of the bar on obtaining FISA warrants, & notes ongoing congressional debates over excessive intrusions & invasions of privacy.
The author writes modestly well, professes not to have revealed any classified information, & certainly chose a timely subject, a current hotbed for the White House. Some same source material appears in Solove's "The Digital Person" of 2004. "Chatter" is pleonastic & tedious at times, but provides conscientious update & menology of modern-day surveillance methodologies.