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Courting Disaster: How the CIA Kept America Safe and How Barack Obama Is Inviting the Next Attack Hardcover – Bargain Price, January 18, 2010

3.9 out of 5 stars 131 customer reviews

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Hardcover, Bargain Price, January 18, 2010
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Editorial Reviews


Marc Thiessen knows, in ways that few others do, just how effective, heroic, and morally justified were the interrogators who kept this nation safe after 9/11. If you want to know what really happened behind the scenes at the CIA interrogation sites or at Guantanamo Bay, you simply must read this book. It reveals how we foiled potentially devastating terrorist plots, and how the current administration is putting us at terrible risk by its misplaced liberal grandstanding. --Dick Cheney, former Vice President of the United States

Renditions. Enhanced interrogation. Waterboarding. Detentions. Guantanamo. Warrantless eavesdropping. These are not mere words or phrases. They're the Rorschach test of political discourse in today's America--and like ink blots, they evoke visceral reactions in place of reasoned discussion. Yet behind each of these words and phrases is a reality--a reality of great dangers, hard facts, tough decisions, and important lessons. This book is a must read for anyone who wants to confront these realities with knowledge and facts rather than rhetoric and headlines. --General Michael Hayden, former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency

The military men and women assigned to the task of detaining and questioning terrorists at Guantanamo Bay have served our country with honor and professionalism. They have been maligned and slandered as having 'undermined' our country's highest ideals. In Courting Disaster, Marc Thiessen sets the record straight. He approaches the tough issues with energy and reason. This is a valuable book for anyone who wants to understand the truth--the critical truth that the U.S. military at Guantanamo Bay defended our nation's ideals and principles, even as the terrorists who were kept from returning to the battlefield and reaching America's shores were intent on destroying them. --Donald Rumsfeld, former Secretary of Defense --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

From the Inside Flap

Waterboarding Al Qaeda Leaders Prevented Terrorist Attacks and Saved Thousands of Lives…

Now Barack Obama Wants to Prosecute The Men and Women Who Kept Us Safe

Marc Thiessen knows more than almost anyone outside the CIA about what went on at CIA “black sites” and at the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. As chief speechwriter for President Bush, he was given unprecedented access to some of the most sensitive intelligence our government possessed on al Qaeda terrorists. He has since spent countless hours interviewing the men and women involved in the interrogations at every level—from Vice President Dick Cheney to the interrogators themselves. What he reveals is a shocking, thoroughly documented account of just how close we came to suffering follow-on 9/11 attacks, how so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques” (including waterboarding) were directly responsible for unearthing the actionable intelligence that foiled them, and the extraordinary measures the Bush administration took to stay well within the bounds of what was not only legally but morally right.

Courting Disaster shows how America’s dedicated intelligence professionals went head-to-head with the world’s most dangerous terrorists, and won—only to have Barack Obama expose America’s secrets to the enemy, endorse smears against our intelligence officers, and put them at risk of prosecution for defending our country. In Courting Disaster, Thiessen reveals:

Why “enhanced interrogation techniques” did not qualify as torture by any objective standard
Specific terrorist plots foiled by the CIA, based on information that came from “enhanced interrogation”—ranging from attacks against Los Angeles and London to the breaking up of an al Qaeda cell that was developing anthrax for terrorist attacks inside the United States
New evidence that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi knew about and approved CIA waterboarding
The real stories of abuse at Guantanamo—not of the detainees by the guards, but of the guards by the detainees, and how released detainees have returned to the jihad
How the Obama administration is giving captured terrorists more legal rights than are granted to legitimate prisoners of war—and denying our intelligence officers tools that police officers use everyday to question common criminals
How information released by Barack Obama has aided our enemies and put America at greater risk of another terrorist attack

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 376 pages
  • Publisher: Regnery Publishing; Third Printing edition (January 18, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596986034
  • ASIN: B0057D8TN0
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (131 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,620,585 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Marc Thiessen is a New York Times bestselling author, a weekly columnist for The Washington Post, and appears several nights each week on Fox News' The Kelly File, one of the top rated prime time cable news shows in the country.
A member of the White House senior staff under President George W. Bush, Marc served as chief speechwriter to the president and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. He is the author of Courting Disaster: How the CIA Kept America Safe and How Barack Obama Is Inviting the Next Attack (Regnery 2010) and the co-author with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker of Unintimidated: A Governor's Story and a Nation's Challenge (Penguin 2013) -- a book columnist George Will declared a "nonfiction thriller." The Daily Telegraph named him one of the "100 most influential conservatives in America," and his Washington Post column is one of the paper's best-read, reaching some 2.5 million readers each year.
At the White House, Marc was the lead writer on the 2007 and 2008 State of the Union addresses, and worked closely with President Bush on hundreds of speeches, including remarks for his 2004 presidential campaign and televised addresses from the Oval Office. Over five years at the White House, Marc helped the President craft his public arguments on issues ranging from defense and national security, to energy, health care, taxes, trade, and economic policy.
Before coming to the White House, Marc served as Chief Speechwriter for Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld from 2001 to 2004. He crafted all of Rumsfeld's major speeches during his first three years in office, and traveled 250,000 miles around the world with Rumsfeld, including his first visits Afghanistan and Iraq.
Prior to joining the Bush Administration, Marc served as spokesman and senior policy advisor to Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jesse Helms (R-NC) from 1995-2001. Marc was also press secretary for the 1994 Huffington for Senate campaign in California. He worked for former Congressman Vin Weber (R-MN) at the think tank Empower America, and at Black, Manafort, Stone & Kelly (Burson Marsteller), the public affairs firm headed by Republican strategist Charlie Black.

Marc is currently a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and the co-founder of Oval Office Writers LLC, which provides speechwriting and communications services to leading charities, hedge funds, embassies, businesses and consulting firms. Marc is a graduate of Vassar College, and completed additional post-graduate studies at the Naval War College. He lives in Alexandria, Virginia, with his wife, Pamela, who works as legislative director for Sen. Rob Portman (R, OH). They have four children.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a very powerful book. It left me with a profound gratitude for all the President Bush and our government did to combat terrorism and protect this country in the aftermath of September 11th. It also left me deeply saddened that we had gotten to a point in this country where this book could even be written. So much of what has been declassified and discontinued should never have been taken off the table in our fight against terrorism - but it was; and Thiessen does his best to set the record straight on what has happened and where we are headed.

Thiessen has compiled a meticulously researched defense of the interrogation policies of the Bush administration, and the subsequent changes that the Obama administration has put into place. As a speech writer for Bush, Thieseen has first hand knowledge and a unique view on many of the events he describes in the book. I understand that the subject of this book is highly political, highly emotional, and very personal to many people. I'm not going to take a large amount of space to try and lay out all of the arguments in the book. I'll simply say this for myself - I do not believe that what the U.S. has done over the past 8 years is torture. I do not believe that the U.S. has lost its moral standing in the world. I do believe that what did was necessary, appropriate, and that it saved American lives. Lastly, I do believe that some of what the Obama administration is doing today is making this country less safe.

I give this book five stars. Regardless of your political leanings, you owe it to yourself to read this book, and read it with an open mind. Look at the facts and make up your own decisions.
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Format: Hardcover
"Courting Disaster" begins with a note from the author: "You should not be reading this book. I should not have been able to write it." Thiessen examines all the classified info leaked "drip by drip" over the years by government officials and the info the Obama Administration put out in the public domain last year. Really good read. Great insight into the other side of this debate-- namely that, there are many committed public servants in the CIA and other government agencies that are doing all they can to protect us from another 9/11. I wondered when someone would speak up for those that don't generally speak up in their own defense. This book is the answer: well-written; well-researched; riveting read.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If you hate the Bush administration you will hate the book and if you support the Bush administration then you will probably enjoy it. Based on the fact that all the reviews seem to be 5 stars or 1 star it seems that you can at least say that you will have an opinion after you read it. If you feel that water boarding is torture in any situation don't read the book, it will just make you crazy. If you want to water board, beat, and humiliate all the terrorists in revenge then you will be disappointed as well. If what is in the book is true then I think that most people raised in the 1970's as I was will believe that they were treated worse by parents and teachers than most of the terrorists were. I was shocked at just how easy we were on these guys and still got them to talk. Can water boarding be used to torture someone? Of course. Do we water board our troops when they undergo SERE training? Yes. And if all water boarding is torture and torture is illegal then shouldn't somebody be prosecuted for torturing our troops? None of this is black and white. If it were then there wouldn't be any discussion. It does make you think and also points out how other interrogations were conducted in WWII and other conflicts. The details of real torture were hard to read but put what the CIA did in perspective for me.
Comment 37 of 48 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover
It's too bad that my friends who bought into the left-wing narrative on this topic will probably never read this book. If they read it with an open mind, they would learn that President Bush's CIA interrogation program was carefully designed and executed with the advice of legal counsel to stay within the law, that no captives were physically harmed by the program, and that the information gained by the program saved literally thousands of innocent lives. None of this is speculation -- it is documented. The open-minded reader would also learn that the program was not only legal and expedient, but morally right. Yes, morally right. The author gives an excellent analysis of the "just war" tradition and its application to this situation. Of course, we shouldn't be reading this book. In order for interrogation to work, the enemy must not know the limits and parameters of the program. When Obama shut down the program and declassified hundreds of documents intending to harm the former administration, he inadvertently gave the enemy information needed to defeat us. He also gave us the opportunity to learn the truth. Those who could not defend the program could now speak openly and a book this detailed could be written. The open-minded reader will also learn that the United States is dramatically less safe as a nation the longer Obama is in office, thanks to his ideology and naivety. Left-wing lawyers are also the target of well-deserved criticism in this book for foolishly fighting to extend full legal rights to enemy combatants committed to killing innocent Americans. Thanks to the dismantling of our defenses by those subscribing to this leftist ideology, the question is not "if" we will be attacked again, but "when.Read more ›
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