For a Kinder, Gentler Society
Coded Messages: How the CIA and NSA Hoodwink Congress and the People
  • Nelson McAvoy
Reviews Table of Contents Introduction «Back
Coded Messages: How the CIA and NSA Hoodwink Congress and the People.
Sound Bite

Government is reading your mail, and the Intelligence services are reading the Government's mail. Who is in charge?

The National Security Agency was formed under such secrecy that it evades even Congressional scrutiny. A former NSA scientist raises an alarm over this abuse of America’s founding principles.

Along the way, he gives a technical briefing on how messages were encrypted and deciphered until the Internet age, demonstrates that the paranoiac secrecy over encryption is now obsolete, and explains why.

All this is enlivened with entertaining behind-the-scenes anecdotes from the author’s life at home in West Virginia, in the Army, and in the intelligence services during the Cold War.


About the Author

Nelson McAvoy was born in a lumber camp in West Virginia. He learned to build radio equipment before he learned to read.  Playing hooky one day, the principal asked him what he wanted to do in life. “Be a mathematician.” He got that right.

After graduating from Fairmont State College in 1952, he was assigned to the General Staff of the Army Security Agency (ASA), the World War II code-breaking center. He worked there on combining ASA with the newly formed National Security Agency (NSA). He was sent to graduate school and then back to the NSA at Fort Meade, MD. As an NSA employee, he worked at MIT and invented ultra-sensitive microwave receivers.

He retired in 1981 as Chief Scientist for space-to-space laser communications at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. His unique insights into the growth of CIA and NSA show that from their inception they have been intentionally misrepresented to Congress, the media, and the people. 

About the Book
Come to think of it, we all know the CIA is the organization responsible for hands-on international subterfuge, assassinations, and regime change. But if covert activities are their brief, who is in charge of data collection? What is the real...
Come to think of it, we all know the CIA is the organization responsible for hands-on international subterfuge, assassinations, and regime change. But if covert activities are their brief, who is in charge of data collection? What is the real intelligence agency of the United States?

Brilliant inventions and breakthroughs in the science and the art of intelligence gathering and data encryption/decryption are presented and explained, with illustrations from the US Civil War to World War II and beyond, including the early achievements of Ms. Aggie Meyer Driscoll and other talented professionals.

The author shows when, and why, the NSA was formed, in full realization that it was in breach of the US Constitution; and then he shows why this obsession with secrecy is no longer valid but endangers personal liberties in the Internet age. Phil Zimmermann’s PGP-1 and its source code were distributed freely on the Internet in 1991. This led to the development of session keys and other modern encryption devices that enable eCommerce and other essentials of 21st-century life; and the old systems of encryption were rendered obsolete. McAvoy shows that all the codebooks, clever teams of linguists and mathematicians, and computer banks in the world will never be able to crack today’s encrypted messages. (Let’s hope he’s right.)

Now the NSA’s most valuable role, says McAvoy, has shifted from communications intelligence to HUMINT. They are well equipped for their new emphasis in human intelligence by having been out of the limelight since their inception.

This analysis is entwined with memoirs of an eccentric and engaging West Virginia boy who knows how to tell a good story. A near flunk-out who went from amateur radio operator to co-inventor of new communications technologies, he quickly became a valued contributor to US defense efforts as life whisked him from Monterey to MIT to Berlin.

To our knowledge, no NSA employee or former employee has written a book or so much as given an interview exploring the role of the National Security Agency, whose budget, twice that of the CIA and FBI combined, is hidden somewhere in the Department of Defense numbers and whose activities are not discussed, despite Constitutional provisions. The author also emphasizes the lack of awareness of the limitations provided by the Fourth Amendment on the part of those responsible for abiding by its provisions, and lists some of the CIA’s most aggressive international interventions that belie Americans’ cherished view of their peace-loving, law-abiding nation.
Preface

I am not implying that the NSA has ever done anything that is not honorable and proper. I am proud of my time spent at the agency and my work there was always with beloved compadres. But now it is time for Congressional oversight. 

The...

I am not implying that the NSA has ever done anything that is not honorable and proper. I am proud of my time spent at the agency and my work there was always with beloved compadres. But now it is time for Congressional oversight. 

The days are gone when withholding Congressional oversight could be found reasonable and justifiable. In 1997, the NSA went from all civil service and career military employees to 70% contract employees because there ceased to be a need for the obsession with ultra secrecy. There is a far greater need to protect the constitutional rights of citizen privacy today than in the past. Today, everyone in the world can have a “thumb” drive to plug into any computer with a USB port and have a dossier of everyone in the United States. They hold 128 Gigabits of information and cost little to nothing. 

Protecting personal privacy is part of the business of Congress and the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.

 



Pages 190
Year: 2010
BISAC: POL036000 POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Freedom & Security / Intelligence
Soft Cover
ISBN: 978-0-87586-813-4
Price: USD 19.95
Hard Cover
ISBN: 978-0-87586-814-1
Price: USD 29.95
eBook
ISBN: 978-0-87586-815-8
Price: USD 19.95
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