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Intel Wars: The Secret History of the Fight Against Terror Hardcover – January 3, 2012

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Press; First Edition edition (January 3, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1608194817
  • ISBN-13: 978-1608194810
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #906,593 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

In reaction to the attacks of 9/11, the U.S. engaged in a massive expansion of intelligence-gathering organs. Supposedly, we also increased the sharing of information between the various agencies to avoid the failing to connect the dots. But has this huge increase in manpower and money resulted in any improvement in the collection and use of raw intelligence information? Not significantly, according to Aid, a regular commentator on intelligence for various newspapers, radio, and television. He begins with a brief but riveting account of the operation to take out Osama Bin Laden, in which he reveals the vital role played by Pakistani operatives working for the CIA. But from this apparent triumph, he moves to a dreary and familiar picture of bureaucratic rivalry and bungling. He places particular blame on the Bush administration and its inability to sift through the deluge of data provided to develop a coherent policy to fight jihadist terrorists on various fronts but especially in Afghanistan. This work may be unduly negative, but it certainly merits serious consideration by those concerned with our security at home and abroad. --Jay Freeman


"Every chapter in the book is braided with intelligence nuggets. Aid weaves together original reporting, volumes of unclassified documents and his expertise. The book’s chapters on Afghanistan and Pakistan are particularly engrossing…. Aid has written a highly entertaining and interesting book that provides a full-color, detailed snapshot of how the Obama administration is using intelligence to battle terrorism and that hints about how that battle is likely to be waged in the future."—Dina Temple-Raston, The Washington Post

"Aid’s book is full of … revelatory anecdotes. It’s one thing to say that the ISI has helped America’s enemies; it’s another thing to show precisely how."—Ken Dilanian, Los Angeles Times

"If the devil is in the details, then Matthew M. Aid, author of Intel Wars: The Secret History of the Fight Against Terrorism, has written a devilish book indeed … a highly researched look inside the decade’s most important intelligence efforts, and while sobering at best, it’s not always bad news. You just have to look harder for the good news."—Suzanne Kelly,

"Intel Wars teems with useful statistics and interesting anecdotes."—Harry Levins, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

"Aid’s wide-ranging and timely assessment of the current state of U.S. intelligence should appeal to anyone interested in U.S. defense policy."—Publishers Weekly

"An expert update on American security that turns up more problems than solutions."—Kirkus
“Merits serious consideration by those concerned with our security at home and abroad.”—Booklist

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Customer Reviews

This book makes too many issues into political arguments.
Very interesting, as well as very troubling to learn of the unbelievable bureaucracy complicating this issue.
Very interesting read of current events as told through the intelligence perspective.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Retired Reader on January 16, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This is an interesting and informed account of how the major players of the U.S. Intelligence Community have conducted what the administration of President George W. Bush usually called the Global War on Terror. In the course of doing this its author, Mathew Aid, does a good job explaining the complexities involved in that War and specifically provides a very good summary of U.S. operations in Afghanistan and rocky relationship with sometimes ally Pakistan. The book does not cover all of the many intelligence pockets that have been directed towards counter-terrorism, but concentrates primarily on the activities of CIA, the FBI, and the NSA, but also notes the work of the military intelligence services and the NGA. Surprisingly the book also provides what appears to be a fair and accurate assessment of the contributions of both the Office of Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Aid provides a balanced and apparently accurate assessment of the overall performance of these agencies. He notes their successes and failures, but makes clear that the U.S. Intelligence System continues to be hampered by serious technical flaws and very weak leadership in its higher echelons. A good read that provides an educated description of how the U.S. in general and its intelligence system in particular has handled the threat of terrorism since the 9/11 tragedy.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Ghost71(jeesh) on July 15, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Intel Wars, by Matthew Aid, is a solid read that is tightly focused and well edited(Although phrases like "according to an unnamed source" get tiresome to read after a while). Not a lot of flare or fluff just straight forward analysis that covers mostly the years after 9/11 and more so from 2007/08 onward. Informative and for the most part fair in it's criticism. It paints a mixed picture of a sprawling US intelligence community pointing out persistent flaws and shortcomings as well as indicating as much as possible recent succeses and what's working in a post 9/11 era.

A few things should be pointed out though. The books copyright is in 2012 but it went to press mid-late 2011 so recent very important events, especially in North Korea and Syria are notably absent. Additionally in July 2012 the Taliban publicly admits ""At least 70% of the Taliban are angry at al Qaeda. Our people consider al Qaeda to be a plague that was sent down to us by the heavens.......To tell the truth, I was relieved at the death of Osama bin Laden. Through his policies, he destroyed Afghanistan. If he really believed in jihad, he should have gone to Saudi Arabia and done jihad there, rather than wrecking our country."" and they also state that they can't win the war in Afghanistan.

Secondly, despite much criticism in the book being directed toward the Bush administration and Rumsfeld, Aid takes a last second jab at Obama on page 225 in the acknowledgements section, "....the Obama administration, despite promising the American public a new era of transparency in government, has authorized the Justice Department to file criminal indictments against a number of current or former government officials alleged to have leaked classified information to the press.......
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Swystun on April 17, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
"Is the US intelligence community finally working as it should ten years after 9/11?" This is the premise of Intel Wars and the answer is a firm "no" once you slice through the propaganda. The sixteen competing agencies and ridiculous bureaucracies in 2001 have received tons of funding and grown in size, yet remain questionable in coordination and performance. The author clearly demonstrates that, like Vietnam, there is a disconnect between the intelligence community and the White House/Pentagon in over-emphasizing the positive in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Analogous to the corporate world, the tendency in intelligence is to collect reams of data that will never be properly processed for actionable intelligence. Also large organizations tend to reward the unimaginative when mavericks and eccentrics are needed to see what is different and what can be or is (think O.S.S.). It is about creating a culture where people can be both creative and pragmatic. The U.S. intelligence community communicates at the same time an overwhelming capability and a hapless bureaucracy. Sadly, the intelligence "grunts" will never get the respect and recognition for the pressures and strains of their jobs as they toil in organizations that frustrate them for their lack of decisiveness and action.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By 7SFCW4 on March 22, 2014
Format: Hardcover
As a retired US Army Intelligence officer with assignments from NSA HQ to the jungles of South America, Thailand, etc...I initially enjoyed Mr. Aid's book, that is until I got to Chapter #6, "Men of Zeal".

It is in this chapter that Mr. Aid commits the cardinal sin of the Intelligence professional, cooking the "...facts..." to meet his personal agenda. In this chapter he tells the reader that the US Govt is justified in killing US citizens without trial or due process, he try's to convince the reader that this is this point, the book went on the goodwill pile.

There are always three sides to every story: (1.) yours; (2.) mine; (3.) and the cold hard truth. It is the responsibility of the professional Intelligence community to deal ONLY in "...the cold hard truth...".

When you have to look at yourself in the mirror after your Intelligence product has been used for purposes you do not agree with, you need to have your honor left that you did your best.

Chapter #6 of this book, wipes it's posterior with honor.
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