Steve Aftergood notes:
Despite the sobering subject matter, Top Secret America actually makes for lively reading. It is full of the authors’ remarkable insights, anecdotes and encounters. Dana Priest explored some of the physical geography of the classified world, taking elevators to unmarked floors in suburban office buildings and driving up to guard booths at secret facilities to innocently ask for information. She accompanied police in Memphis while they conducted neighborhood surveillance with newfangled automatic license plate readers. She was polygraphed at her request — and found to be a poor liar. Bill Arkin, whose painstaking research informed the entire work (which is narrated by Priest), spent ten days in Qatar at the U.S. military facility that controls air operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, and somehow got himself invited to classified briefings.