Review: The CIA at War–Inside the Secret Campaign Against Terror

2 Star, Intelligence (Government/Secret)

Amazon Page
Amazon Page

2.0 out of 5 stars Not Helpful, Will Mislead Ignorant and Disappoint Pros,

October 30, 2003
Ronald Kessler
Edit of 21 Dec 07 to add comment and links.

New Comment: terrorism is a tactic, and one cannot make war, or carry out covert actions, against a tactic.

The only thing worse than Bill Gertz making money on a sensationist pseudo-journalism book that does no serious research (i.e. does not read nor recognize any of the tens of books written about the shortfalls of the U.S. Intelligence Community), is re-cycled material and hyped-up glory tales that will mislead the public and irritate professionals. There are many good people working counter-terrorism at CIA, but they are trapped in a grostesquely malformed enterprise with bad management, bad mindsets, and bad methods. As one of the first case officers assigned the terrorist target in the 1980’s, I recently came across a letter I wrote to the NIO for terrorism (unclassified), and as I went down all the things I said we were doing wrong in the 1980’s, what struck me with great sadness was how many of them are still extant today. While the Director of Central Intelligence may get some satisfaction from sponsoring a silly TV series about a female spy (hint: the most important skill in spying is typing of encounter reports, operational reports, intelligence reports, and expense accounts) and this book, I think his time would be better spent being candid with the American people about all that is wrong with the larger community across all its functions. This book is a borderline “PSYOP” on the American people, something CIA is not supposed to be doing. My bottom line: John Le Carre’s fiction is better than this stuff.

Better more current books (the first two very positive):
Jawbreaker: The Attack on Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda: A Personal Account by the CIA’s Key Field Commander
First In: An Insider’s Account of How the CIA Spearheaded the War on Terror in Afghanistan
Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA
See No Evil: The True Story of a Ground Soldier in the CIA’s War on Terrorism
Sleeping with the Devil: How Washington Sold Our Soul for Saudi Crude
Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism
9/11 Synthetic Terror: Made in USA, Fourth Edition

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