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See No Evil: The True Story of a Ground Soldier in the CIA's War on Terrorism Paperback – January 7, 2003
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–Wall Street Journal
“Robert Baer was considered perhaps the best on-the-ground field
officer in the Middle East.”
–Seymour M. Hersh, The New Yorker
From the Inside Flap
A veteran case officer in the CIA's Directorate of Operations in the Middle East, Baer witnessed the rise of terrorism first hand and the CIA's inadequate response to it, leading to the attacks of September 11, 2001. This riveting book is both an indictment of an agency that lost its way and an unprecedented look at the roots of modern terrorism, and includes a new afterword in which Baer speaks out about the American war on terrorism and its profound implications throughout the Middle East.
"Robert Baer was considered perhaps the best on-the-ground field
officer in the Middle East."
–Seymour M. Hersh, The New Yorker
From The Preface
This book is a memoir of one foot soldier's career in the other cold war, the one against terrorist networks. It's a story about places most Americans will never travel to, about people many Americans would prefer to think we don't need to do business with.
This memoir, I hope, will show the reader how spying is supposed to work, where the CIA lost its way, and how we can bring it back again. But I hope this book will accomplish one more purpose as well: I hope it will show why I am angry about what happened to the CIA. And I want to show why every American and everyone who cares about the preservation of this country should be angry and alarmed, too.
The CIA was systematically destroyed by political correctness, by petty Beltway wars, by careerism, and much more. At a time when terrorist threats were compounding globally, the agency that should have been monitoring them was being scrubbed clean instead. Americans were making too much money to bother. Life was good. The White House and the National Security Council became cathedrals of commerce where the interests of big business outweighed the interests of protecting American citizens at home and abroad. Defanged and dispirited, the CIA went along for the ride. And then on September 11, 2001, the reckoning for such vast carelessness was presented for all the world to see.
More About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
There are four other stories within this excellent book, all dealing with infirm bureaucracies. At one level, the author's accounting of how the Directorate of Operations has declined under the last three leaders (as the author describes them: a recalled retiree, an analyst, and a "political" (pal)) is both clearly based on ground truth, and extremely troubling.Read more ›
At the beginning of his career, Baer describes himself as an extremely unlikely candidate for the CIA. He relates experiences of his training and facts from many events that we just _think_ we know about. Baer's story makes for very interesting and exciting reading as he describes the thrills and dangers of his first several years as a field officer. It was an incredibly tough and dangerous job, but a necessary one, as the author adequately demonstrates.
Excitement quickly turns to anger for both the author and the reader. As the Cold War ends, the reader will learn how the CIA took a dramatic turn, seeking to gain intelligence from satellite surveilance rather than from agents in the field. Why not? The technology is available and fewer lives will be lost. Sounded like a good idea at the time, but not to Baer. You'll read about how terrorists in the Middle East and in other parts of the world were quickly ignored after the Cold War in favor or special interests in Washington. You'll also see how close we really were to putting an end to Saddam Hussein forever. You'll read about many other events that will surprise you, shock you, and make you mad as hell. 'See No Evil' made me experience all those feelings and more. How could the CIA have fallen to such a level as Baer describes in this book? What a terrible price we as a nation have paid and continue to pay for our lack of top-notch intelligence.
I'll admit that twenty years ago I pretty much ignored all the fighting and disputes going on in the Middle East.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great book and honest and I learn some things from this book but this book could be like tow part ex.part 1 then part 2 and the photo
be best with color. Read more
OMG! Best book I've read in years. Also a little scary to think this is true, how the Clintons were touched and that this is how the a-hole middle east works.Published 13 days ago by marilyn foutes
Very interesting read, and fascinating to get such a good peek behind the CIA curtain and find out how agents live(d) and work(ed). Read morePublished 17 days ago by Charles Augustus Faversham
Well written. I read this well after it was published but found it great anyway. Baer puts some current events in perspective with this book written in the 90s. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Blackjack
Fascinating read. You get a sense of the real danger that a CIA operative recruiting locals to spy for U.S. in a hostile environment in the Middle East really faces. Read morePublished 1 month ago by HonestReviews
A fascinating and poignant dive into the murky world that America needs to understand. Holds up very well after all these years.Published 2 months ago by Bradley