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Dark Mirror: Edward Snowden and the American Surveillance State (Hardcover)

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From the three-time Pulitzer Prize-winner and author of the New York Times bestseller Angler, the definitive master narrative of the modern surveillance state, based on unique access to Edward Snowden and groundbreaking reportage around the world.

Edward Snowden chose three journalists to tell the stories in his Top Secret trove of NSA documents: Barton Gellman of The Washington Post, Glenn Greenwald of The Guardian and filmmaker Laura Poitras, all of whom would share the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service. Poitras went on to direct the Oscar-winning Citizenfour. Greenwald cast himself as a pugilist on Snowden's behalf. 

Gellman, whose relationship with his source was more turbulent, took his own path. Snowden and his documents were the beginning, not the end, of a story he had prepared his whole life to tell. More than two decades as a top investigative journalist armed him with deep sources in national security and high technology. Gellman's reporting continued to unlock new puzzles long after the headlines began to fade. Fresh discoveries in this book touch us all.

Dark Mirror is a true-life spy tale, told with authority and an inside view of extraordinary events. Within it is a compelling portrait of investigative journalism under pressure of legal threats, government investigations and foreign intelligence agencies intent on stealing Gellman’s files. The NSA director secretly calls for a federal raid to seize the leaked documents. The author finds his name in one of those documents—as the target of a previous leak investigation. Google warns him that “state sponsored attackers” are trying to compromise his account. His tablet is hacked before his eyes as he leaves the set of a Sunday news broadcast. Customized malware is sent to his computer. Sophisticated impostors approach him with counterfeit documents, attempting to divert or discredit his work. Throughout Dark Mirror, Gellman wages an escalating battle against unknown adversaries who force him to mimic their tradecraft in self-defense. 

With the vivid and insightful style that marked Gellman's bestselling Angler, Dark Mirror is an inside account of the surveillance-industrial revolution and its discontents. Along the way, and with the benefit of hindsight, it tells the full story of a government leak unrivaled in drama since All the President's Men.

About the Author


Barton Gellman is a Pulitzer Prize and Emmy Award-winning journalist. Since 2013 he has been a senior fellow at the Century Foundation. During 21 years at the Washington Post he served tours as legal, military, diplomatic, and foreign correspondent. He has taught courses at Princeton on nonfiction writing, investigative reporting and national security secrecy. His bestselling Angler: The Cheney Vice Presidency won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and was a New York Times Best Book of 2008.


Product Details
ISBN: 9781594206016
ISBN-10: 1594206015
Publisher: Penguin Press
Publication Date: May 19th, 2020
Pages: 496
Language: English