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State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration (Japanese)
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Risen's description of what he says was called "the Program"--the ongoing eavesdropping operation, done with almost no judicial or congressional oversight, on the phone calls and emails of hundreds of Americans (and potentially millions more)--is only a chapter in his larger tale of the recent missteps and oversteps of U.S. intelligence. His evidence ranges from insider White House accounts of Donald Rumsfeld, "the ultimate turf warrior," outmaneuvering his rivals to make the Defense Department the dominant voice in foreign policy, to on-the-ground reports of the administration's willful ignorance of crucial intelligence on the dormancy of Saddam's weapons programs, Saudi support for al Qaeda, and the startlingly rapid transformation of Afghanistan into a "narco-state" under American authority. Some of the episodes he recounts--Saudi security officials with Osama bin Laden screensavers, an Iraqi scientist who had told the CIA his country had no nuclear program watching Colin Powell testify to the UN that they did--would be comical were the stakes less high.
Risen's loyalties are not with the opposition party--he's sharply critical of Clinton's disinterest in the CIA--but with the career field agents who are his best sources. Those agents and their expertise, he argues, have been cast aside, along with the long centrist tradition of U.S. foreign policy and the basic checks and balances of the American system of government, by the Bush administration's radical politicization and militarization of intelligence. He covers a lot of ground in a book of just over 200 pages, some of it familiar from other accounts, and at times his tradecraft anecdotes can be hard to assess without context. But his specific revelations and his well-sourced, angry overview of the way the battles against terror have been fought make for startling, newsmaking reading. --Tom Nissley --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
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.
Top Customer Reviews
There are three major scoops in this book that earn it five stars where the rest of the book might only merit four:
1) The obvious scoop now before Congress and the press, with respect to the National Security Agency (NSA) eavesdropping on citizens without a warrant.
2) The really really huge scoop, that Charlie Allen, then Deputy Director of Central Intelligence for Collection, was able to guide the recruitment of no fewer than 30 Iraqis able to travel back to see their relatives and conclusively document that there was no nuclear program and no weapons of mass destruction--this information was evidently not provided to Congress, the President, or (naturally), the public.
3) Slightly less sensational, the book reveals for the first time that a CIA "bait" operation actually delivered to Iran completely useful plans for creating a nuclear bomb...the CIA "flaws" intended to render the plans unworkable were detected in one glance by a Russian courier scientist, and easily correctable by the Iranians.
Over-all the book renders an important public service by pulling together in one place the many tid-bits that are publicly known, but is distressingly weak on crediting those many other sources (e.g. Jim Bamford, the last word on NSA).
The cover of the book is quite revealing in that it has photos of Bush, Rumsfeld, Rice, and Tenet--those who follow the politics of the Executive know that Cheney is the man pulling the puppet strings, generally without being detected, and it is Cheney that allowed Rumsfeld to blatantly ignore the President, steam-roll Condi Rice, disrespect Tenet, and sideline Colin Powell.Read more ›
He acknowledges that President Clinton had little interest in the intelligence services, which had already begun to stagnate after the end of the cold war. Not realizing that danger doesn't go away, it only changes shape, the CIA had no assets embedded in the middle east to get the valuable intelligence it required. Most of the regimes maintained control that was so tight it would have taken years for someone to successfully infiltrate any regime.
Then there was bad management and bad decisions. Clinton appointed a director who made it clear he had no interest in the job. Senior CIA personnel left the agency and their experience at the door of retirement. Although a new director named Tenant restored morale, he was not able to provide the leadership the agency needed. He also allowed ingratiating junior analysts to bypass their immediate supervisors to deliver the information that he wanted to hear e.g. that aluminum tubes were used for WMD production.
Tenent also steered clear of information that he knew would not please his bosses. This included the Iraqi-American woman the CIA coaxed into returning home to elicit information from her brother who was working on nuclear development. He told his sister that Americans inadvertantly blasted the facility in the first Gulf War, and that the project was dead in the water. When the Iraqi-American doctor returned with her brother's information, the information was given short shrift.
C.I.A. officers who told the painful truth about the deteriorating conditions in Iraq found themselves defending their careers or being harangued into retirement.Read more ›
The WMD question has currently become old news. When the National Intelligence Estimate (Independent WMD committee) concluded that the CIA's reports regarding Iraq's so-called nuclear program and biological laboratories, "were all wrong" (P. 22)
Risen unpacks the lies, withheld reports and bully tactics that the Bush administration used towards anyone who contradicted their views, is a chilling story of out and out bureaucratic warfare, revealing once again the ineptness of the dwindling CIA. The administration did not want to hear the truth, that is to say, Iraq having folded their nuclear aspirations at the end of the first Gulf War.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Good informative read. I was watching a documentary about an ex agency guy who spoke out about the unconstitutional behavior of the govenment and they searched his house and said... Read morePublished 17 days ago by Pat
Stunning how a president can strong arm a country's intelligence resources to 'fixing' (rigging) the case for his personal vendetta and then let the Pentagon (under Rumsfeld) run... Read morePublished 2 months ago by RA Smale
Good book! However, had issues with getting the book to my doorstep when it was supposed to. Arrived very late (1 week or more).Published 7 months ago by Kaitlyn
Really enjoyed reading this book; the way politics shape our policies was very intriguingPublished 9 months ago by Oral Forrest
I only just read the available preview and found this book to be eye opening, fascinating and well written, until he made a biased claim against Hillary Clinton that should have... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Tanya
I was disappointed. I expected to learn more about the CIA operations. However, those expectations were probably unrealistic because of its covert activities.Published 11 months ago by Ted T