Spies, Lies, and Algorithms: The History and Future of American Intelligence by Amy B. Zegart

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Spies, Lies, and Algorithms: The History and Future of American Intelligence by Amy B. Zegart

Spying has never been more prevalent–or less understood. The world is drowning in spy movies, TV shows, and novels. Universities offer more courses on rock and roll than on the CIA and there are more congressional experts on powdered milk than espionage. This crisis in intelligence education is distorting public opinion, fueling conspiracy theories, and hurting intelligence policy. In Spies, Lies, and Algorithms, Amy Zegart separates fact from fiction as she offers an account of the past, present, and future of American espionage as it faces a revolution driven by digital technology.

Drawing on decades of research and hundreds of interviews with intelligence officials, Zegart provides a history of U.S. espionage. This includes George Washington’s Revolutionary War spies to today’s spy satellites. Furthermore, she examines how fictional spies are influencing real officials. In addition, she gives an overview of intelligence basics and life inside America’s intelligence agencies. This explains the deadly cognitive biases that can mislead analysts. Zegart explores the vexed issues of traitors, covert action, and congressional oversight. Above all, Zegart describes how technology is empowering new enemies and opportunities, and creating powerful new players. For example, private citizens are successfully tracking nuclear threats using little more than Google Earth. She shows why cyberspace is the ultimate cloak-and-dagger battleground. In other words, this is where nefarious actors employ deception, subterfuge, and advanced technology for theft, espionage, and information warfare.

A fascinating and revealing account of espionage for the digital age, Spies, Lies, and Algorithms is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the reality of spying today.

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