REVIEWS

 
 

Extract of Foreword from Pine Gap

Professor Desmond Ball, BEc (Hons), PhD; Professor, Strategic & Defence Studies Centre, School of International, Political & Strategic Studies,
Australia National University
Pine Gap is one of the largest, most important and most secret US intelligence collection stations in the world. …this is a revealing book. It describes not only Pine Gap’s ‘general intelligence-gathering functions’ but also the role it plays ‘in support of military operations’. …I remain amazed that David received permission to publish this story….he does reveal a litany of activities that would previously have been regarded as being beyond ‘Top Secret’. …All of this makes this book compelling reading. It is a subject redolent of mystery and secrecy. 

Review on the back cover of Pine Gap

Phillip Knightley, UK author and visiting Professor of Journalism at the University of Lincoln, England
David Rosenberg was a high-tech spy who decided to throw some light on the myths and misinformation surrounding Pine Gap, the top-secret signals facility at Alice Springs that eavesdrops on the world. If he had known the hurdles the American authorities would put in his way he no doubt would have given up before he started. But he persisted and this revealing book is the result.

BOOK REVIEWS

July 23, 2014 – Paul, via Facebook
Just finished 'Inside Pine Gap', read it in one go. I really enjoyed it as I have been inside this facility many years ago when I was in the RAAF. You have a great writing style and look forward to anything else you may produce in the future. Cheers.

Date unknown
Google Book Review
I found this book to be a very interesting read. I actually lost sleep reading it because I couldn't put it down! Sure, it may not be everyone's cup of tea but if you are interested in technology development, radio technology, satellites and a behind the scenes view of the allied forces role throughout the world, you will without a doubt enjoy the read.
The book is more like David is talking to you; written in the first person. This humanises the story, making it easy to relate to.

AMAZON REVIEWS

The following reviews are from the Amazon website:  

June 18, 2012
By Elizabeth

Like so many Australians, I grew up with the enigma of Pine Gap - a name often referred to in newspapers and TV bulletins when I was a child but a part of our country that we seemed to know little about. So I was intrigued to read this book and learn more about the facility from someone who had worked there for so long.

Rosenberg's style is very approachable and he rides a nice path between the technical and the personal. This book is as much the tale of someone discovering another country and its possibilities as it is a story about the US and its Pine Gap station.

Throughout the book there is a clear sense of the control that bodies like the CIA and NSA exert on their staff - from Rosenberg's stories on his first job interviews with the agencies right through to his protracted attempts to have the book published and the resulting redacted paragraphs.

Full marks to Rosenberg for his perseverance in telling his engaging story and shedding some light on the role of Pine Gap.

May 15, 2012
By kaysie (Sydney Australia)

This book was a surprise. I expected a history of the pine gap facility in central Australia, got that and more. A real human interest story woven thru the threads of interesting facts on this "mysterious" piece of American spy intelligence on Australian soil. David takes us through how he, an American, landed up in the Australian desert and ended up a "native", with a love for the Australian landscape. For those who are looking at an in-depth expose' of a secret spy facility, they will probably be disappointed, as his hands were tied as to what he could tell, but what he was able to convey was of interest. For me the human interest side was what won it over. Mystery, history or a love story. It has it all.

April 20, 2012
By Gina M

I had heard about Pine Gap but had no idea what went on there. When given the opportunity to read this book, I was amazed! It was a wonderful holiday read. I loved this personal account of the authors life mixed in with his work at Pine Gap and for exposing what happens in these 'secret facilities'. It is quite incredible that the author was even able to publish this much information. I loved it!!

April 19, 2012
By Jamie MN (Sydney Australia) 

This book is fantastic. It talks in some detail about daily operations at Pine Gap, and as no books have covered these operations from a personal perspective before, this is truly a unique book. I highly recommend this book.

March 3, 2012
Keir C (Los Gatos, California USA)
Since we are about to travel to Alice Springs in March I read this with great interest. Since I worked for the company that installed the first antenna and having spent 30+ years in the community supporting this effort from afar it is great to get the feel of the site. Thanks David

August 30, 2011
By ER Florida USA

This book is a great introduction to Australia for an American! The author writes so clearly about his own introduction to Alice Springs, Australia, and the US spy community. The reader gets a first-hand look at so many of his experiences. It's an enjoyable read as well as a mini history lesson and travelogue!

Date unknown
American Review Mag
Peter C

The Australian effort in Afghanistan has not been limited to the Special Forces or the Mentoring Task Force; it has also included the intelligence gathering of the joint US-Australian defence facility at Pine Gap near Alice Springs.

Professor of Strategic and Defence Studies at the Australian National University, Desmond Ball, says the base is “one of the largest, most important, and most secret US intelligence collection stations in the world.” Its satellites suck up signals from around the world “like a vacuum cleaner”, as described by former CIA employee Victor Marchetti, and beam them down to Pine Gap for analysis.

In his autobiographical and jargon-free Inside Pine Gap: The spy who came in from the desert, the American David Rosenberg describes his 18 years as “a hi-tech spy” in the facility, where he had access to top-secret data and operations, including the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It ends with his disenchantment with US policies under president George W. Bush, his adoption of Australian citizenship, and his decision to write this book. Desmond Ball advised him that the “intelligence mandarins” in Washington would “have apoplexy” when they heard of his plan. But in the end the US National Security Agency approved his manuscript with only limited censorship, and Ball has written a congratulatory foreword.

The book honours the work of Pine Gap and strongly supports the American-Australian alliance, yet Rosenberg clearly has reservations. When the Afghanistan-based al Qaeda terrorists attacked the United States on 9/11, the American intelligence agencies, including Pine Gap, were taken completely by surprise. Rosenberg’s worried and sometimes panic-stricken American family and friends privately sought his expert advice on what they should do. Rosenberg urged them to do what he was doing: watch CNN. It knew, he said, more about what was going on than he and his colleagues did.

 

GENERAL PRESENTATION FEEDBACK:

February 8, 2019 – Woy Woy Everglades Probus Club
You were surrounded by eager book buyers so I didn't have time to wait and say goodbye to you. My apologies. I will certainly recommend you to anyone looking for a quality speaker and thank you so much for all your time and presenting such an interesting topic.

July 18, 2018 – Ettalong Probus Club
Many thanks for your wonderful speech at our Ettalong Probus Club. Everyone enjoyed your knowledge of Pine Gap. I have been in charge of guest speakers for 18 months and never seen a speaker get so many questions.

June 15, 2018 – Southern Cross Village
Thank you again for your presentation on Friday. The interest shown during you talk, the questions and subsequent remarks pay testament to the enjoyment experienced by everyone present.
It would be my pleasure to recommend your presentation to any interested parties.

June 14, 2018 – Camden Probus Club
On their behalf (the members) we thoroughly enjoyed your brilliant presentation. As an ex-Toastmaster of 45 years ago, you would have won any zone competition with distinction. We'll all be interested in viewing the ABC TV presentation of Pine Gap. Of the list of 155 Guest Speakers on the list, (yours is) but one of the few with a 100% rating.

October 27, 2017 – Barra Brui Probus Club
On behalf of the club, thank you very much for an excellent presentation on a subject that we have all wondered about over the years.  We now have a much clearer idea of the importance of the facility.

July 6, 2017 – Thornleigh Mixed Probus Club
Thank you David for a very well presented and demystifying explanation of the importance of Pine Gap to our protection and its global importance.

February 20, 2017 – Brookvale Probus Club
On behalf of the Brookvale Probus Club, all the members attending your presentation on Monday found it to be fantastic. Your easy to follow and sequential exhibition made the morning very good.

November 28, 2016 – Port Hacking Probus Club
The fact that the members were approximately 15 minutes later than usual leaving the hall yesterday is due to their interest in your talk, regarding your years working in Pine Gap. Thank you for the very enlightening rundown of your time spent in the ‘eavesdropping facility’. Your knowledge and delivery made listening to you very interesting, many members have been in contact to say how much they enjoyed it.

July 1, 2016 – Narellan Probus Club
It was our pleasure to have you come and speak to Narellan Probus.  I have had so many members comment on how they enjoyed you talk, and they felt like me - we do not need to fear what might be going on at Pine Gap.

June 20, 2016 – St Ives Probus
Our club members really appreciated your visit today, I’m sure that was evident from their enthusiastic response to your talk. There was much we all learned from you. Pine Gap was previously just a name to most of us. So thank you for making time to speak on such an interesting and vital subject that you are so conversant with.

March 11, 2016 - Balgowlah Probus Club
On behalf of the Balgowlah Probus Club and myself, thank you very much for a great presentation.
The number of our members and guests who bought a copy of your book is a clear indication of the interest aroused. It was a terrific talk and I will be delighted to pass this on to other Probus Clubs.

September 5, 2014 – Parramatta Seniors Group
We enjoyed hearing about what happens in the outback, we who have travelled to the centre know Pine Gap is there and it has been great to hear first-hand a little about the activities. The members were very interested to hear from someone who worked at Pine Gap for so many years and they have been talking about what they learnt. Once again I would like to say “Thank You”.

June 3, 2014 – Kincumber Probus Club
I meant to send you a note last week to let you know how much our members enjoyed your talk. It was so very interesting and also so well presented. The feedback has been very positive and your book is being enjoyed by a number of members. 

March 20, 2014 - Rotary Club of Sydney CBD
David your address was one of the best we have had for some time. The members were vitally interested and the questions only stopped because we would have been there all night – I know when they have enjoyed an address and how the questions will roll. We have a time when we must vacate. So thank you so much – the members really enjoyed it.

March 16, 2014 - Ingleburn Rotary Club
Everyone I have spoken to has said that they really enjoyed your presentation and congratulated us on a wonderful evening. So that’s mostly down to you. Thanks again.

March 10, 2014 – Parramatta Rotary Club
We were thoroughly impressed with your talk. You have a delightfully disarming manner, exude integrity and present information within a tight timeframe such that no one could lose interest! I can appreciate that only ‘love’ could have drawn you away from a role and work you so thoroughly enjoyed and at which you clearly excelled.

March 6, 2014 – Granville Rotary Club
Thank you again for coming to speak and doing such a fantastic presentation. All the Rotarians were impressed at your truthful answers to their questions....and you did not have to kill anyone to keep any secrets safe!! 

February 23, 2014 – B’nai B’rith Lodge and Chapter Aviv, East Sydney
Our feedback was very good. In fact, our President said he thought you were the best speaker we’ve had in the past year.

January 28, 2014 – Rose Bay Rotary Club
Last Tuesday we were held spellbound by ex high-tech spy David Rosenberg who penned 'Inside Pine Gap - The Spy Who Came In From The Desert'. 

December 1, 2013 – Berkeley Vale Probus Club
WOW. Thank you for being Guest Speaker at our November Meeting. After our meeting closed & all through lunch, our members were still talking about your presentation. FANTASTIC! It was extremely interesting & everyone enjoyed it. 

November 14, 2013 – Chatswood Central Probus Club
Many members expressed their appreciation of your interesting, talk, engaging personality and professionalism, particularly concerning the way you repeated questions so that the whole company knew what was asked and then your precise and knowledgeable answers.

October 29, 2013 – St George Probus Club
On behalf of the members of Probus St George, I wish to thank you for your brilliant presentation today. The topic had all the audience riveted and the general consensus of opinion was that it was the best talk of the year. 

September 10, 2013 – Beecroft Rotary Club
On behalf of the Rotary Club of Beecroft I want to THANK YOU for your presentation last night. I know that the Club members found it stimulating and interesting. This was demonstrated by the number of books that you sold as a result of your presentation.

September 6, 2013 – Crows Nest Rotary Club
We certainly enjoyed your talk very much – very different from our usual guest speakers and most interesting. 

August 13, 2013 – Abbotsleigh Discussion Group
Thank you very much for your talk.  It enlightened us about the important and newsworthy Pine Gap facility which has countered the bad publicity it has got in the past.  As evidenced by the sale of your books and the flood of questions afterwards, your presentation was much appreciated.

February 12, 2013 – Erina Rotary Club
I thank you most sincerely for your wonderful talk last night about the Pine Gap facility. We were all riveted by your professional, friendly presentation. I have seldom seen everyone so attentive and, judging from the number of questions and the number of books you sold, you could have spoken to us for much longer than the allotted time.

August 14,2012 - Balgowlah Rotary Club
Like all members I really did enjoy your talk and story for your interweaving of personal life made the subject so much more alive. 

July 27, 2012 – Mount Colah Probus Club
… Several of our members have told me how much they enjoyed your talk and that you were the best speaker we have had.  My husband has now read your book and now I am doing so.  JJ

October 2011 – Lane Cove Rotary Club
Many thanks for suggesting our Rotary Club ask David to be our guest speaker for our annual SIC meeting that was held last night. David instantly warmed the hearts of our members as soon as they met him even before the official commencement of our meeting and from thereon, our members proceeded to appreciate his gentle and easy manner. His presentation was most professional and throughout the entire time he was speaking, he held his audience spell bound about Pine Gap and its purpose of being in existence.

I was extremely happy to notice how both our male and female members were “glued” to the images of his presentation as he described the details of the history and the operational activities in such a easy and general way. David even came up with the right answer to a very difficult question during our normal fine session. Overall we all had a very good evening and our club’s President as well as some of our members have contacted me this morning asking to again give the Club’s appreciation to David for making last night such a success.  Many thanks again to you. KW