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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Woodward's praise for "absolutely first-rate, breakthrough reporting" is well-deserved, August 13, 2011
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This review is from: The Triple Agent: The al-Qaeda Mole who Infiltrated the CIA (Audio CD)
It's not for nothing that Joby Warrick is a Pulitzer Prize winner (1996 for Public Service): his new book, "The Triple Agent," is a master-class of reporting. No wonder that his Washington Post colleague and journalism deity Bob Woodward has deemed it "absolutely first-rate, breakthrough reporting." It's the ultimate proof, as the saying goes, that real-life will always trump even the best fiction. Even the best creative minds would dismiss some of the key events of 'The Triple Agent' as implausible.

The tale told here is, at its heart, a tragedy. A tragedy that lives were lost when caution and circumspection were tossed aside in favor of a mounting fever at the highest levels of US agencies to pounce on what seemed to be the most promising leads on Al Qaeda's leadership's whereabouts in almost a decade. In retrospect, the clanging signals of alarm bells were screaming for attention. Yet, in the throes of passion for actionable intelligence, all these signs went unseen and unheard.

Warrick has won the confidence and talked extensively to the partners and loved ones of the victims of December 30, 2009. To a person, they relate that their loved ones - typically the bravest of the brave - were pensive, anxious and frightened about the dangers of this pending meeting with the sketchiest of informants. In their hearts, they knew this didn't smell right. The book's triumph is that it tracks these concerns in relation to the growing excitement at higher, removed levels. The further we go, the more the tracks diverge.

In the ultimate reporting triumph, Warrick suddenly switches us to the Al Qaeda camp. There, the trap is being delicately woven, one strand at a time. In time, the trap takes the form of a 30-lb, C4-laden vest strapped around the torso of Jordanian doctor Humam al-Balawi.

Warrick's book brings us the story of how each of the blast's victims ended up at Khost that day. These are individuals whose lives and pasts are typically left in the shadows. Warrick brings those lives into light. The book also brings attention to the full scope of the Drone Wars being played out over the skies of Afghanistan and Pakistan. The reader is left to see how the events of December 30, 2009 are but one piece of the Drone Wars.

I bought the Audio CD version of 'The Triple Agent.' I highly recommend it. Sunil Malhotra's expert narration - especially his crisp pronunciation of the Arabic and Afghan names - will greatly enhance your experience of consuming Warrick's work.
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