Review: Spying on the Bomb–American Nuclear Intelligence from Nazi Germany to Iran and North Korea (Hardcover)

5 Star, Intelligence (Government/Secret)
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5.0 out of 5 stars Best of Intentions, As Flawed as Its Subject,

April 10, 2006
Jeffrey T. Richelson
The author does good work, within the limits of what can be known, and I have to recognize his diligence with five stars, but this is one of those books that is maddening in three ways:

1) It documents how bureacratically pedestrian the U.S. Intelligence Community has been. Spying on the bomb has not been a “calling” it has been a routine job using pedestrian means, and with zero accountability for faliing to be successful.

2) The book is maddening in other ways. In 2004 the CIA gets a walk-in with a thousand pages on the Iranian nuclear program, and two years later they are still trying to determine if the documents are fake–or is it that they provided the documents in the first place (see my review of “State of War”) and are now confronted by their own returning paper?

3) Most maddening of all is the complete failure of this book, and its subject the US Intelligence Community, and the policy leadership of the USA, to come to grips with reality. The nuclear bomb or nuclear power in the hands of North Korea or Iran are about as great a threat to the USA as Fidel Castro deciding to invade Miami with 10,000 doctors. 1000 car bombs in the right places (most overseas, such as in Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela), 1000 det cords with C-4 around the right choke points (port cranes, bridge struts, railroad loading yard circles) are vastly more threatening to the US. A nuclear bomb might take out a city–an asymmetric attack by highly motivated suicidal terrorists will not only bypass all of our defenses, but it will take out our economy. Our wages are already back where they were in 1962 (sixty two). Hurricane Katrina had the force of a nuclear exploision and not only is the White House ignoring that disaster, but it has not impacted on the rest of the country. The USA has no strategy and no grasp of reality–our policies right now are a combination of ideological fantasy, deep insider corruption, and pedestrian bureaucratic “going through the motions.” Shame on all of us.

By way of example:
Vice: Dick Cheney and the Hijacking of the American Presidency
Running on Empty: How the Democratic and Republican Parties Are Bankrupting Our Future and What Americans Can Do About It
Disaster: Hurricane Katrina and the Failure of Homeland Security

Incidentally, terrorism is #9 on the list of high-level threats to humanity, poverty, infectious disease, and environmental degradation are 1-3, above war. Our government now resembles the DVD Idiocracy. The only good news is that CIA discovered its integrity on Iran and many of us appear to have stopped the lunatic intentions of Dick Cheney to carry on with the Endgame: The Blueprint for Victory in the War on Terror.

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