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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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“See No Evil is a compelling account of America’s failed efforts to ‘listen in’ on the rest of the world, especially the parts of it that intend to do us harm.”
–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
In his explosive New York Times bestseller, top CIA operative Robert Baer paints a chilling picture of how terrorism works on the inside and provides startling evidence of how Washington politics sabotaged the CIA's efforts to root out the world's deadliest terrorists, allowing for the rise of Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda and the continued entrenchment of Saddam Hussein in Iraq.
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.
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I have read more than a few books on the changing dynamics of the agency and its people. From field positions and being very good at it, to the paper pusher that slowly destroys the officer. Baer was very good at what he did; when the operation environment changed he did not.
What makes all this even better is how the CIA proofed the book. So they are basically saying, yes we do this.
I admire our men and women in uniform. My oldest son served in the Air Force. My middle son is in the Marines currently. My youngest is wanting to now serve. But we never say we support our undercover men and women as well. Great book!
I truly hope all this changed, I still see the images of the people jumping off the towers in flames, I hope that Their jumps made or started a different .....
Thank You to the officers like Baer and to the many Baer-s that do their duty/job in silence.
Having read Eveland's book first set the stage for Bob Baer's book. Baer's account takes off where Eveland's ends. The books were not meant to be read that way, as Eveland's book was published in 1980. The events, policies, and geography persist, evolve, and adapt over the decades "Ropes of Sand" and "See No Evil" cover, though. Reading them together provides fascinating insight into the realm, politics, concerns, and people.
Baer's experiences in Syria, Lebanon, and throughout the Middle East make for a fascinating read. Yes, Bob has taken some flack for sounding somewhat bombastic, or self-congratulatory. When one reads through those few cases, and simply reads the context of the situation, the details of his experiences in the region are film-worthy (and have been adapted for film). His is not a history book, and he doesn't delve into history. For a history, read "Power, Faith, and Fantasy" by Michael Oren. Baer's is a first-hand account as a case worker, recruiting local people for gathering intelligence. If I learned one thing from Eveland and Baer, the CIA does not run spys. The CIA tries to "recruit" indigenous people to gather information. Also, people who conduct legitimate business in the realm are also recruited to keep their eyes and ears open. Simply riveting stories.
A good contribution to the ever-increasing quantity of geopolitical treatises on the Middle East.