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The Interrogator: An Education Hardcover – Bargain Price, June 28, 2011

3.5 out of 5 stars 38 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


Charles McCarry
“This haunted, powerful book may well be the best and most truthful firsthand account of life inside the CIA ever published."

Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame Wilson
“Glenn Carle's book The Interrogator is a disturbing tale of the extremes to which the Bush administration was prepared to go in its Global War on Terror. Faceless bureaucrats sacrificed the core values that made the United States a great country, while ignoring the counsel of experts on the ground. This is a damning story and a nation of laws would demand an investigation into whether crimes were committed. We fear that we are no longer that nation…”

Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell
“In The Interrogator, Glenn Carle has done more than simply lift a part of the curtain behind which are lurking despicable men such as John Yoo and Douglas Feith, he has turned the stage lights on those who stand out front and continue to receive rave reviews from the rabid right wing, men such as Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld. But most of all, Carle’s moving and emotional story—in spite of CIA redactions to the text—has exposed us all, from the CIA officers who turned a blind eye, to the cabinet members who should have known better, to the American people themselves because they allowed such people to corrupt our nation. I know; I was one of them.”

John H. Hedley, former Chairman of CIA’s Publications Review Board
“Glenn Carle shares his personal experience and soul-searching reflection on rendition, detention, and interrogation in the Global War on Terrorism. It is a cathartic effort that recounts an intensely emotional journey. Carle weighs what he sees as the corrosive effect of this experience on him, his Agency, and his country. Ultimately the detainee interrogated may not have suffered most; perhaps it was the interrogator himself.”

Peter Bergen, author of The Longest War: The Enduring Conflict between America and al-Qaeda
“Glenn Carle writes with great verve and lyricism about a decidedly unlyrical moment in the history of the U.S. intelligence community; the decision after 9/11 to take the gloves off when it cane to the detention and interrogation of al Qaeda suspects. As Carle witnesses, the U.S. government’s assumptions about how important those suspects were was sometimes way off base, while their treatment at the hands of American officials often did not measure up to the high ethical standards the United States wishes to uphold as a country. Carle tells the story from inside the CIA’s “war on terror” and he does it with great honesty and realism; he has the eye of the novelist and the analytical skills of the senior CIA officer he was. That makes “The Interrogator” an engrossing read, and also an important book.”

David Ignatius, columnist for The Washington Post and author of Body of Lies
Glenn Carle’s "The Interrogator" is a remarkable memoir--for its searing personal honesty, for its portrait of the amoral secret bureaucracy of the CIA, and most of all for its revelation of how a decent American became part of a process that we can only call torture."

Gilles Kepel, Professor, Institute of Political Studies, Paris, author of Beyond Terror and Martyrdom: The Future of the Middle East
"This fascinating insider narrative of GWOT is one of the best assessments I have ever read on the major discrepancy between the jihadi challenge and the US response."


About the Author

Glenn l. Carle was a member of the CIA’s Clandestine Service for twenty-three years and retired in March 2007 as deputy national intelligence officer for transnational threats. He lives in Washington, DC.



Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Nation Books (June 28, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1568586736
  • ISBN-13: 978-1568586731
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,207,088 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Glenn Carle was a career CIA officer, who worked on four continents and retired in 2007 as Deputy National Intelligence Officer for Transnational Threats--terrorism.

His last major operation was to interrogate one of the top members of al-Qa'ida. But Carle found that the detainee was not the senior member of al-Qa'ida that the CIA thought, and Carle rejected the detention and enhanced interrogation policies of the War on Terror; he considered them un-American and immoral, and he found that they do not work. His book, The Interrogator, is an expose of the dark side of the War on Terror, and his struggle with the most difficult question a patriot can face: what do you do when your government tells you to do something that is morally abhorrent?

Carle is from an old Yankee family, whose ancestors were spies in the American Revolution, and fought in almost every war in American history. He grew up playing hockey on ponds in Massachusetts, and found the lessons he learned on the ice surprisingly relevant to his career in the CIA. His wife sometimes thinks that he reads too much; and she is right.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A few weeks ago I happened to pass by a local independent book store in Washington DC and heard Glenn Carle speak to an audience of about fifty about his book. As I was randomly plowing through various titles on the shelves, I couldn't help but to listen and get entranced by Carle's story. I put on hold my pride of independent wandering and sat through his talk and all of the follow-up questions. What I heard that day from Carle and what I ended up reading in his excellent book really moved me (as an individual, a member of today's society, an American, and even someone who was born in the former Soviet Union). I highly recommend this book to any thoughtful reader who is willing to challenge his or her views, values, and philosophy.

Carle's book is a personal account, one view, one perspective - and that is what makes it so influential. Carle is not just anyone speaking his mind, he's an insider, an experienced CIA operative, someone who saw and lived through what he did because the agency chose him for it -- that is the context in which he finds courage to challenge the views of his colleagues, his organization, and to a great extent, of his/our society.

Carle takes us on an emotional ride and confronts us with the discomforts of balancing individuality with being a member of society (what does it mean to be an American? "Whose flag do you serve?"), of being an obedient agent and a patriotic individual with a deep sense of personal integrity. He challenges the notions of patriotism, of what is justifiable, and of personal duty. One may disagree with him, but one cannot but respect Carle for raising the questions.

The choice to leave space-holders for the parts redacted by the CIA, contrary to one reviewer's comments, is not "annoying.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
One must ask, why would Glenn Carle write this book? Glenn served the CIA proudly for 23 years. Why would he want to expose his agency to outside criticism, knowing full well that respected colleagues were still there, putting their lives on the line every day? Why? To stick a finger in the eye of the Bush administration, perhaps? To jump on the left wing "US imperialism" bandwagon? How about just to sell lots of books and enjoy a cushy retirement?

How about a profound love of country? How about patriotism far beyond the flag waving, chest pounding jingoism seen so frequently? Glenn spent his life putting his money where his mouth was, in the rather dangerous world of clandestine operations. He was willing to do so because, as you will read, he whole heartedly believed in the just nature of the cause he served. It is not the sort of job that a person of conscience can do when he starts to question whether or not he is still "the good guy." The term"person of conscience" may sound strange to the average cynic when talking about the CIA, but Glenn displays an idealism about the fundamental goodness of the US that frankly seems to fit the WW2 generation more than the "South Park" generation of today. Glenn is sounding an alarm, letting his countryfolk know that in our fury, in our desire to protect ourselves from those who do wish us grievous harm, we have tarnished the very values that set us apart from our enemies, eroding our "soft power," while aiding those who jump at any opportunity to use the "US imperialism" argument against us. He is telling us (at considerable personal risk) that if we are going to call ourselves the "good guys" then we must at least try to be so.
Note Glenn's mention of the Theory of the (strong) Unitary Executive in the final chapter.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In 2001, Glenn Carle was a career CIA case officer assigned to learn "on the job" how to interrogate a suspect we had kidnapped off a street in a third country, then interrogated (harsh methods Carle calls torture). Carle did his job as well as possible, but reported in detail his informed, passionate objections to the policy in general and as applied to Captus. Some years later, the matter was leaked to the press, the prisoner was freed, Carle retired and was denied a security clearance critical to a "beltway bandit" after career.

CIA censorship of this book means almost every relevant detail is redacted, and Carle's argument cannot cite facts, and perhaps got more argumentative and even redundant over time. If The Nation Books has editors, they did Carle no visible service. The CIA censors' office provides a strong blurb for the book, so we can infer mutual respect and even a bit of sympathy.

Still, Carle as a person shines out - how he tells his Mom about his job, even how he insults a junior officer who through fear cannot stop playing with his weapon.

Le Carre used "the cold" to describe the spy's refusal of ordinary human empathy, affection. It seemed a crown on the moral equivalence if not squalor he describes elegantly. Carle's moral vision is wildly different from Le Carre's, and that informed patriotism makes his moral judgments personal and powerful. If he was ever cold to the agents he rercruited and handled, he certainly was not cold to Captus, let alone projecting onto Captus the customary torturer's self-loathing projected onto the victim.

IMHO, Carle built a human relationship with a prisoner called Captus.
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