5.0 out of 5 stars World Class on Iran — And Sad Summary of Shallowness Everywhere Else, December 21, 2012
UPDATED 12 OCT 2015 to elevate to five stars in recognition of the author’s extraordinary professionalism and honesty in assuring that the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) for Iran done in 2007 documented its destruction of its nuclear weapons program and resisted all political pressures — both domestic and international — to lie (which is what George Tenet did to enable the elective war on Iraq).
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The book is a fast read with a poor index, and the best thing I can say about it is that the author is as good as it gets inside the secret analytic world, and his account is therefore the best available encapsulation of the US analyst in the secret world as virtual eunuch. Normally I do not review books that annoy me, but I make two exceptions, and this book qualifies on both counts: they are in the field to which I have dedicated my life; and there are ten other books that I feel merit being read with or instead of this book.
The substance first. I was a member of the national-level Foreign Intelligence Requirements and Capabilities (FIRCAP) committee for several years,and I truly appreciated the following quote at multiple levels:
QUOTE (51): Requests and requirements have to be prioritized, and the IC has a rather elaborate process to review and rank order the approximately 9,100 cells in the matrix created by arraying roughly 280 international actors against thirty-two intelligence topics that have been grouped into three categories by the National Security Council.