James Bamford signing books in 2007 (photograph taken by James Mabel)
In 1982, the hitherto hyper-secret National Security Agency went from being almost unknown to being a household name. The journalist James Bamford had spent years of his life researching a book on the NSA using open sources. Bamford's background helped him as he had a law degree and had previously been employed as an insurance investigator. Bamford's book was taken on by an imaginative editor at Houghton Mifflin and quickly became a national besteller. The book caused consternation at both NSA and GCHQ. The intelligence role of GCHQ at Cheltenham had become publicly know during the ABC trial in the late 1970s. However, the sections on GCHQ in Bamford's book constituted the most detailed account of the organisation hitherto published and, together with the Geoffrey Prime case, served to bring the organisation to wider public attention.
The Puzzle Palace: A Report on America's Most Secret Agency, James Bamford, Penguin Books, 1983, Pp.391-425
Courtesy of James Bamford, Penguin Books and Cryptome