Reviewer David W. Menefee: David is a Pulitzer nominated American author, ghost writer, screenwriter, book editor, and film historian. David’s career began as a writer and marketing representative for the Dallas Times Herald and the Dallas Morning News. His books have appeared under various imprints and in a variety of categories, such as biography, travel, historical fiction, mysteries, and romance. Two books by David were named among the 2011 Top 10 Silent Film Books of the Year: Wally: The True Wallace Reid Story, and The Rise and Fall of Lou-Tellegen. His most recent releases include Sweet Memories and the 1950s romance trilogy, Can't Help Falling in Love, Come Away to Paradise, and Catch a Falling Star (with co-author Carol Dunitz). David lives in Dallas, Texas, USA.
Author: Michael Daugherty
Publisher: Broadland Press; Softcover edition
Publisher: Broadland Press; Softcover edition
On the January 4, 2014 morning as I began writing this review, headlines erupted about one secret government agency with no oversight approving another secret agency with no oversight. “FISA Court Reauthorizes NSA Phone Metadata Collection.” Having just read Michael J. Daugherty’s The Devil Inside the Beltway – The Shocking Exposé
of the US Government’s Surveillance and Overreach into Cybersecurity, Medicine and Small Business, the subject of the devastating real-life consequences of out-of-control cyber surveillance tactics used by US government bureaucrats together with private enterprise weighed heavily on my mind.
Michael J. Daugherty’s company and personal reputation were attacked by the Feds, and now he shares his powerful fight in this tell-all expose that sheds light on our privacy and freedom.
As owner of LabMd, a small medical business that provided testing of blood and other tissues, he faced the unthinkable one day, when private enterprise, aligned with the US government, used a music-listening software to attack and take a file without authorization from his business computer and then used that information to expand and grow a government agency. That purloined file contained patient health information in more than 1,700 pages containing 9,000 patient’s billing information, names, Social Security numbers, insurance company names and policy numbers, birth dates, and diagnosis codes. Daugherty became haunted by the question: Who would intentionally offer covert software to people to use to innocently listen to music when the real hidden purpose was to extract entire contents of a private hard drive and share the information with strangers?
Shocked, he embarked on a mission to find out, but when the FTC jumped in to investigate his company as if they had done something wrong when they were the victims, his journey to uncover the truth spiraled into a nefarious nightmare. His eyes were opened to a realization that government agencies can wreak havoc on whomever they choose. He felt as if he had been trapped under a building after an earthquake.
More mind-blowing revelations soon emerged, such as that Tiversa, the world leader in P2P Cyberintelligence, provides P2P Intelligence and Security services to corporations, global law enforcement, and government. They revealed that 13, 185,252 breached files emanating from over 4,310,839 sources on P2P file-sharing networks within a twelve month period compromised roughly 450 million users through more than 1.5 billion searches a day. Think “Big Brother” run amok. Legally, no one could take confidential medical or personal date, but maleware, such as LimeWire, created openings to a computer port that unearths his computer records and could invade anyone’s workstation and enable private files to be read and copied.
Daugherty reveals that he soon learned that the Department of Justice has become “notorious for rogue prosecutorial overreach,” never having to look far to find a judge to sign off on anything, and exploiting opaque laws that Congress created by combining legal wordsmiths with complicit judges. According to Daugherty, “they can nail anyone for anything.”
Readers will be rewarded by this engrossing book that spans almost 500 pages and features explicit copies of transcripts, e-mail communications, a detailed Notes section, and a Bibliography. Well-written, expansively annotated with footnotes, and documented every step of the way, the author’s horrifying experience might provide a wakeup call to people, if recent NSA revelations by Edward Snowden and others by WikiLeaks have not been convincing enough. Apparently, we live in an age today when Big Governments have grown to the size of rampaging giants, and no one is safe.
The book leaves you thinking that if today’s headline reads “FISA Court Reauthorizes NSA Phone Metadata Collection,” tomorrow’s may read “Innocent Citizens Shipped to FEMA Internment Camps and Beheaded Without Due Process of Law.”