glitterbag wrote: "Mr. Bamford has never been given clearance or been read into any program, so he has to depend on others who are actually plugged in for his information. Now here's the thing, anybody authorized to brief him, does not give him anything that hasn't already been made public (de-classified) and they won't because they are sworn to secrecy. Sensitive information is protected."
All quite true, as far as I know. However, a glance at the roughly 80 pages of Notes for Body of Secrets shows page after page consisting mostly of declassified material obtained by Bamford's own Freedom of Information Act requests, most of it previously classified, as well as publicly available but obscure yet respected specialist periodicals such as The Intelligencer, NCVA Cryptalog and others, private interviews with cleared individuals (some retired, some unauthorized, and some who despite their security clearance never signed a nondisclosure agreement), and others such as private, unpaginated diaries copies of which are in the author's possession. He usually quotes not only members of the relevant departments, agencies, and working groups, but those members with definitive knowledge of the topics at hand (many of which are historical). The vast bulk of references are primary source government documents, some partially declassified, and others contributing to the overall picture by means of a "mosaic" approach. Note also that classified material sometimes appears in unclassified documents. The collection, organization, and analysis of these important yet obscure sources in a single volume (or two if the predecessor book The Puzzle Palace is considered) are quite valuable both to lay readers and to professionals.
You assert simultaneously that he's both nonchalant and a blowhard. I find his writing passionate but scholarly. Methinks the lady doth protest too much.