tim devin

Behind the black boxes

George Washington said democracy relies on enlightened citizens. How can we live up to this suggestion in an age of secrets? How can we learn more about what the government is doing in our name?

In January 2015, the New York Times sued to gain access to a government report on the FBI's involvement in the PRISM surveillance program. The version that was released was heavily-redacted; in fact, about half of it was blacked out.

I was curious-what was missing? I thought if I could only figure out what those black boxes were hiding, I'd understand the document-and have a better sense of whether PRISM really was as bad as I thought it was.

So I did some digging. I researched the government agencies involved, and the programs that the report mentioned. I looked at the statutes and executive orders that provide for programs like PRISM to exist. I read people's testimonies before Congress.

I also conducted a series of interviews--including ACLU privacy expert Kade Crockford, and an FBI agent portrayed by Heather Kapplow. And just to be thorough, I hired the Center for Cognitive Chaos & Astral Physics Research to do a tarot reading.

"Behind the black boxes" shows what I found while trying to live up to George Washington's 1797 suggestion here in 2015.

Date: 2015.

Details: 191 pages + an envelope of full color photos, handsomely bound in a manila file folder. 9.5" wide x 12.5" high x 0.75" thick.

Buy the book!


Preview the book

Sample pages