What makes your teeth gnash?
I hate it when I find our that a favorite author, in this case James Bamford, out and out lied in his book?
Bamford wrote the Puzzle Palace some twenty years ago which was an indepth analysis of the National Security Agency. He based all his information, data, evidence on information available via the Freedom of Information Act. NSA didn't want him to publish and actually took him to court - and lost. Now Bamford has republished Body of Secrets his second NSA book with a new 9/11 afterward.
I picked up the book recently, while in the US, and started reading this morning. Really interesting stuff by what I had considered to be a scrupulous detail nut. Then there is a story about NSA listening ships. USS Liberty [which was eventually shot at by the Israelis] which had to make an emergency trip to Brazzaville, Congo so that a crew member could receive medical treatment for a life-threatening ailment. Ok, that seems reasonable until Bamford describes the trip upriver from the Atlantic Ocean to the Brazzaville river port. That couldn't have happened. There are chutes, waterfalls, extremely dangerous rapids between Matadi - the ocean port and Brazza. You can get from there to here - by boat that is.
So, what's the story? Bad fact finding? I don't think it's that easy. I did some background reading on the book and found out that this time NSA happily provided information to Bamford. Was this USS Liberty story a plant? There is no real date provided that said the ship was here and not there. There is a published article site noted in the book. Was it a plant to show that Bamford was a terrible researcher? Whatever the reasons I am really pissed off because how can I accept anything that is written by this guy unless it has a gazillion backups from reputable people.
Moral of this story: look under the pettycoats to see the real messenger.