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Reviewed by Asher Syed for Readers' Favorite
Pine Gap: Close to God’s Ear: NSA Eavesdropping Memoirs by David Rosenberg is the non-fiction memoir and compilation of experiences from his time as an insider within the titular organization. To emphasize the significance of Rosenberg's tell-all, the book begins with a disclaimer from the National Security Agency/NSA, which is probably one of the smoothest non-denial intros I've seen. Rosenberg holds nothing back as he fleshes out his work as an American spy after his first choice as an FBI Special Agent role was axed because of nominal herbal drug use, which the CIA also questioned. By a process of elimination, Rosenberg was situated with the NSA. Rosenberg details the process and placement, some absolutely key moments in world history which he was at first base with, his stance on some actions taken, his exit, personal life, and life after leaving.
Pine Gap is as engrossing as it is terrifying with David Rosenberg leading the way through things we suspected, things we didn't know, and a couple of things I now wish I didn't know. The last bit isn't entirely true but I admit the processing of Rosenberg's experience took some time. The technical aspects were cool to read up on but, for me, it was the impact his career had on his life and outlook that made the more mechanical aspects palatable. There's a distinct transition that happens with the panache of a fantastic fictional character arc, except that Rosenberg's evolution was from an American on American soil, to an American on Australian soil, to an American who felt let down and left with a for-or-against terrorism ultimatum—this evolution is true. So a book that is factual reads with the delicious insight of one that is not. It's rare to find a memoir that taps into the stranger-than-fiction mold, but Rosenberg does in this spectacular account.