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The One Percent Doctrine: Deep Inside America's Pursuit of Its Enemies Since 9/11 Paperback – Bargain Price, May 15, 2007

4.1 out of 5 stars 150 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. In this troubling portrait of the war on terror, America's intelligence agencies confront not just al-Qaeda but the Bush administration's politicized incompetence. Journalist Suskind (The Price of Loyalty) follows the triumphs and failures of the "invisibles"—the counterterrorism experts at the NSA, the FBI and especially the CIA—as they painstakingly track terrorists' communications and financial transactions, interrogate prisoners and cultivate elusive al-Qaeda informants. Unfortunately, he contends, their meticulous intelligence-sifting went unappreciated by administration policymakers, especially Dick Cheney, who formulated an overriding "one percent" doctrine: threats with even a 1% likelihood must be treated as certainties. The result was "the severing of fact-based analysis from forceful response," most glaringly in the trumped-up alarm over Iraqi WMDs. In dramatizing the tensions between CIA professionals and White House ideologues, Suskind makes his sympathies clear: CIA chief George Tenet, pressured to align intelligence with administration policy, emerges as a tragic fall guy, while President Bush comes off as a dunce and a bully, likened by some observers to a ventriloquist's dummy on Cheney's knee. Suskind's novelistic scene-setting—"Condi looked up, impatiently"—sometimes meanders. But he assembles perhaps the most detailed, revealing account yet of American counterterrorism efforts and a hard-hitting critique of their direction. (June 20)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From The New Yorker

In November, 2001, Suskind writes, Vice-President Dick Cheney announced that if there was "a one percent chance" that a threat was real "we have to treat it as a certainty in terms of our response." He added, "It's not about our analysis, or finding a preponderance of evidence." This view of a White House dangerously indifferent to facts is familiar from, among other sources, Suskind's "The Price of Loyalty," but he adds much here that is disconcerting, particularly regarding the embrace of torture. (It's hard to shake the image of Bush asking, literally, for Ayman al-Zawahiri's head, which the C.I.A. briefly thought it had found in a riverbed in Afghanistan.) Suskind, whose main source seems to be the former C.I.A. director George Tenet (to whom he is very kind), has made news with revelations about Western Union's coöperation with the C.I.A. and about a plan to release cyanide gas in subways, although it's not clear that this threat was more real than other phantom! s the White House chased.
Copyright © 2006 The New Yorker --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (May 15, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743271106
  • ASIN: B0012F7ULE
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (150 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,287,538 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Edwin C. Pauzer VINE VOICE on September 20, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The more you read about this administration, the more you piece together the inner workings and mechanizations of a dysfunctional leadership that spends more time on propaganda and plausible deniability than on governance.

Suskind paints a picture that is becoming all too familiar. Everything for Mr. Bush was funneled through the narrow straw of Dick Cheney who filtered all the information the president would see. This not only slowed the information process, it effectively buried it. (It seems Richard Clarke who wrote "Against All Enemies" was right).

Following the attack on 9/11, Cheney instituted the One Percent Doctrine: If there is one percent chance of a terrorist action, there should be a response. Considering that almost all events short of the laws of physics have a one percent chance, our intelligence and law enforcement agencies ran ragged around the world chasing minutiae that came to nothing instead of focusing on hard evidence and solid leads. These were thrown into the mix of nonsense dilluting intelligence efforts.

The CIA and FBI were also being harried to get results so the administration could use these successes for public consumption. In some cases, they were forced to end operations that might have borne fruit if the administration had not blown them by publicizing the investigations.

Do you remember when no WMD were found, and this administration blamed the intelligence community for giving them the wrong information? It turns out, according to Ron Suskind, that the White House kept sending back CIA reports that claimed there was no connection between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin-Laden. We learn that CIA analysts and supervisors were livid when the White House constantly asked them if there was a connection between the two.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In the context of non-fiction literature, I consider this book to be the co-equal of Graham Allison's classic, "Essence of Decision: Explaining the Cuban Missile Crisis." It joins Bob Woodward's "Bush at War" and the more detailed James Risen's "State of War" as core references. This book specifically and clearly documents three facts:

1) Vice President Cheney is impeachable for dereliction of duty and obstruction of due process in government as well as many violations of international and domestic law. While I do not see the President as quite the puppet some represent him to be, he is certainly childish and petulant and angry at his father (page 107: "I'm not going to be supportive of my father and all his Arab buddies.") Cheney and his neo-cons nurtured the young President's inclination to "unleash" Israel against the Palestinians, and Cheney is specifically impeachable for not providing the President with a copy of the Saudi Arabian memorandum of grievances that preceded a summit at the ranch which was of MAJOR importance to the entire Middle East situation. The author excels at showing how Dick Cheney has "experimented", from President Ford onward, with specifically NOT briefing the President, ostensibly to give him plausible denial but in this instance, more as a means of Cheney's deposing Bush as the actual head of State.

2) I cannot take the second step of suggesting that Bush himself is impeachable on the basis of this book. What I see--and the author excels at social-psychological insights across the entire text--is an insecure young man with excessive faith in his gut instinct, loosely-educated, hostile about experts and especially mature experts like Brent Scowcroft, and all too eager to prove his (inadequate) manliness by being belligerent and often a bully.
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Format: Hardcover
This latest offering from renowned journalist Ron Suskind, "The One Percent Doctrine", proves the wisdom of the old adage regarding truth being stranger than fiction. At the same time it also serves up a number of egregious examples of just how far reaching the terrible recklessness and near total disregard for truth and law in the fateful decisions made by the Bush administration in the three year wake of the events of 911 has been for the nation and the world at large. At heart, Suskind contends, is an absurd Cheny perception that even a "one percent' probability of a terrorist attack requires immediate pre-emptive action. Given such a fascistic and dangerous interpretation of America's presumptive place in the contemporary world, it is no wonder we have gone so recklessly far astray.

Indeed, it appears as though in making the world `safe from terrorism,' we seem to be have been willing to suspend any critical oversight of the Executive branch, to allow the current administration make a mockery of the supposed restraints existing among the several branches of the federal government, and to do so by so taking the U.S. Constitution on a plunge so deep into the depths of the icy blue waters of obfuscation and circular logic that one wonders if the Founding Fathers have the bends. Under the current circumstances, one has to wonder if the federal government is this free to so prevaricate, engage in character assassinations, withhold truth and important facts, and do whatever it deems prudent in the pursuit of its goals, regardless of its legality or illegality, then just what kind of constitutional republic we really have operating here.
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