[A] rich, useful, and important book.
(Thomas Powers New York Times Book Review
A thoroughly documented, cogently argued work by an author with vast personal experience of his topic.
A vigorous and hard-hitting insider's account,
(Lawrence D. Freedman Foreign Affairs
Pillar provides a telling and comprehensive new perspective from the inside.
(Steve Coll New York Review of Books
This is a well-written effort by a former intelligence offer and academician. Hopefully, members of the national security community and their staffs will read and benefit from it.
Pillar's book is extremely detailed and informative, providing a better understanding of just how hard it is to be an intelligence professional in a world where all that matters is being wrong... once.
(James M. Burcalow Military Review
Pillar's combination of qualifications as a high-level practitioner and careful scholar is unmatched. He weaves together general analysis of the role of intelligence with insights from his own involvement in the most important foreign policy issues over many years.
(Richard K. Betts, Columbia University)|
The 9/11 attacks and the Iraq WMD estimate are both encumbered by erroneous legends. Paul R. Pillar, a senior intelligence analyst deeply involved in both issues, offers crucial correctives, also applicable to the overly-esteemed 9/11 Commission Report. These alone make this an important book. Pillar goes further, offering a unique history of U.S. intelligence and the issue of 'intelligence reform.' Not all will agree with his observations, but they come from substantial experience and deep thought and need to be seriously considered.
(Mark M. Lowenthal, president, The Intelligence and Security Academy, and former Assistant Director of Central Intelligence for Analysis and Production)|
Paul R. Pillar brings to his study of intelligence and foreign policy the skills of an accomplished scholar and a wealth of experience as an intelligence officer. A brief endorsement cannot do justice to the richness and power of his arguments, which are essential reading for anyone who wants to understand what intelligence can and cannot do; why the appeal of reforms is often greater than their value; and how we can avoid repeating our past mistakes.
(Robert Jervis, author of Why Intelligence Fails: Lessons from the Fall of the Shah and the Iraq War
Writing with the authority of a distinguished practitioner and scholar, Paul R. Pillar presents a blunt and candid assessment of the profound disconnect between intelligence and American national security policy. His pointed reflections expose the reality of the politicization and misuse of intelligence as well as the importance of the images of the world that policy makers bring to the table. His book is an invaluable corrective to the assumption that policy blunders and the inability to predict can be blamed simply on 'intelligence failure.'
(Martha Crenshaw, Center for International Security and Cooperation, Stanford University)|
Paul R. Pillar has written a brilliant, lucid analysis of the evolution of U.S. national security intelligence in the decade since the 9/11 attacks. He shows how the intelligence agencies have been made scapegoats for the failures of our political leaders, how intelligence reform has become confused with bureaucratic reorganization, and how our foreign policy is driven by a psychological as well as political incapacity to accept the limitations of our knowledge about the plans and motivations of actual and potential adversaries. Pillar's book is erudite, thorough, and authoritative, yet accessible to anyone concerned with the gravest issues of national and global security.
(Richard A. Posner, author of Countering Terrorism: Blurred Focus, Halting Steps