- File Size: 10174 KB
- Print Length: 3 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Books (April 9, 2013)
- Publication Date: April 9, 2013
- Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00AEDDSUC
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Not Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #258,624 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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The Way of the Knife: The CIA, a Secret Army, and a War at the Ends of the Earth Kindle Edition
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“Superb…the best account yet.”
“[An] indispensable CIA history.”
The Hindu (India):
Dexter Filkins, author of The Forever War:
"The story of how the CIA got back into the killing business is as chilling and dramatic as a spy novel--except it’s true. Mark Mazzetti has laid out an extraordinary tale, tracking the spies as they track the terrorists. The Way of the Knife is as close as you'll ever get to the real thing."
Jane Mayer, staff writer, The New Yorker; author of The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned Into a War on American Ideals:
"The Way of the Knife provides a stunning, inside account of the CIA's transformation after 9/11 from an intelligence agency into a global clandestine killing machine. Mazzetti, who is one of America's best national security reporters, has written a frightening, must-read book."
Thomas E. Ricks, author of Fiasco and The Generals:
"The United States fought three wars after 9/11: Iraq, Afghanistan and the one in the shadows. This is an authoritative account of that that third war, conducted by the CIA and military Special Operators in Yemen, East Africa and, most of all, Pakistan. If you want to understand the world we live in, you need to read it."
“The definitive history of how the intelligence agency became something much more like a paramilitary wing—de-evolving, in a sense, back to the days when the agency's adventurism influenced foreign policy around the world. It's a fascinating expose of what information the U.S. was not collecting—and how an attempt to fill the gap fell through oversight mechanisms and complicated geopolitics in Pakistan.”
San Francisco Chronicle:
“A highly engaging account that should please the curious and experts alike. Mazzetti manages to give a fresh reading to such oft-told stories as the bureaucratic jousting among White House, CIA and Pentagon officials over killer drones, secret prisons, ‘harsh interrogations’ and going global with military assassins.”
“The new American way of war is here, but the debate about it has only just begun. In The Way of the Knife, Mr Mazzetti has made a valuable contribution to it.”
The New Republic:
“Essential background reading… there are many signs that the novel ‘military-intelligence complex’ that Mazzetti describes is becoming unacceptably controversial at home and abroad.”
"Mazzetti's is an assiduously compiled account that strings together some of the missing parts in the puzzle… The Way of the Knife is a tale full of intrigues."
The New York Times Book Review:
“A fascinating, trenchant, sometimes tragicomic account.”
The Age (Australia):
"An astounding tale that melds the immediacy of fiction with the authority of fact."
The Washington Post:
“[A] deeply reported and crisply written account… While The Way of the Knife recounts the important shifts in the architecture of the U.S. military and intelligence communities, it also reveals the many eccentric characters who emerged during this.”
Los Angeles Times:
“Mazzetti finds new details and tracks the ominous blurring of traditional roles between soldiers and spies, the lush growth of a military-intelligence complex, and what the shift portends for the future....a valuable addition to a canon that is exposing America's use of lethal operations far from declared war zones."
“[A] fine account… Mazzetti describes in compelling detail the agency’s turf battles with the Pentagon, its awkward relations with its Pakistani counterpart, and its reliance on a motley collection of freelancers and private contractors.”
“Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Mark Mazzetti’s The Way of the Knife makes for an incisive guide to what he terms the 'shadow war' being waged in multiple countries around the world, away from prying eyes....[W]ith crisp, precision reporting, Mazzetti lays out a chronology of how one thing led to another after al-Qaeda’s asymmetric attacks in 2001 and the ruinously bloody and inconclusive invasions that followed exposed glaring weaknesses in both the American military and its intelligence services.”
“A well-reported, smoothly written book for anyone who wants to understand contemporary American military might and the widespread hatred for the U.S. that has been the result.” --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
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That said, readers should be prepared for what is mostly an account of bureaucratic infighting within the US security establishment, rather than an account of the hostilities themselves--hence the title of my review, "The Way of the Pen"... For instance, in aggregate the positions of CIA and Pentagon lawyers on various issues took up far more space in this book than an account of the raid that took out OBL. Another major topic in the book are the fraught relations between the CIA and the Pakistani spy agency and military. This is all interesting enough as long as it is what you're looking for. If you're looking for a detailed account of training or planning for, or execution of, various special forces raids, this is not the book for you...
Overall a very good book, just more focused on bureaucratic infighting than I expected.
The author covers events in countries such as Pakistan, Yemen, and Ethiopia. For example, he describes the use of a Pakistani doctor to help locate Osama Bin Laden. He also describes the political problems that followed Pakistan’s arrest of CIA contractor Ray Davis, psychological operations, and the use of retired CIA employees such as Dewey Clarridge.
The competition between the CIA and the Department of Defense is equally fascinating. Despite the CIA’s proficiency at covert action, there was a clear effort on the part of the Secretary of Defense to seize control. This is especially true with regards to the use of Reaper and Predator drones in killing terrorists.
Bottom line: this is an informative and well researched book. The narrative moves quickly and provides the reader with a truly fascinating look at recent covert action activities.
One result of the CIA's new emphasis on paramilitary operations has been the deterioration of their intelligence gathering responsibilities. While they've been working closely with the intelligence agencies of Arab countries they missed the fact that the govts. of those countries were becoming increasingly unpopular with their own people. The "Arab Spring" caught them by surprise and they are playing catch-up from Libya and Tunisia to Egypt and Syria. There will most likely be another national debate on what the CIA should be doing in the future - intelligence gathering only or continuing with paramilitary activities.
I read the book "Top Secret" by Dana Priest a couple of years ago concerning the growth in govt. agencies that deal with terrorism since 9/11. In both that book and this there are some disturbing stories about some of the contractors who sell technology and manpower services to the govt. Tax money is being shoveled at these companies. In some cases they hire govt. workers who are trained in anti-terrorist and intel gathering skills and who already have security clearances. They pay them more than the govt. salaries they were making and yet use govt. money to pay those salaries.
Some of these govt. contractors are an "interesting" bunch of characters. Some have their own agendas they want to carry out for personal or political reasons. Some are in it mainly for the money. They buy and sell influence, have many contacts inside the govt. and are not too scrupulous about how they conduct their business. They do serve a purpose at times but they can also cause crises in our relations with other countries. There is not much transparency in their activities due to the secret nature of their work.
Another issue described in the book is getting increasing public attention. This is the "how and why" of our drone assassinations. We now tend to kill rather than capture terrorists because of the problems encountered with captured terrorists. We no longer want to put them in Guantanamo. There is political opposition to trying them in our court system etc. The current embarrassing hunger strikes among the Guantanamo prisoners will focus even more heat on the issue. Again this book provides very useful background to this type of issue.
Top international reviews
It is clearly written and extremely credible.
The book is about America post 9/11 and a world without borders where there is only one super power deciding what is good and what is not…and going behind the guys they think are bad….remember the famous Bush line : ‘ Either you are with us…or against us’.
Long Long ago, CIA employed spooks who masqueraded as Aid officers, diplomats, journalists and other occupations and provided the inside info to the US government…and the government acted based on the information thru the defense services. This cold war era style modus operandi lost favour and in this instant world where everything including justice and retribution has to be instant…..the CIA turns into a mean killing machine. Easier bumping off the shadowy dodgy characters….and at times thru out-sourced agencies who are beyond the laws of the land…then go thru the old fashioned remit that the CIA had….and this is blessed by Bush and later followed up with greater rigor by Obama.
Thru first class research and written in an absolutely racy manner, the author takes us thru this transformation of CIA into a paramilitary agency and its (mis)adventures. The theater of action is not just Pakistan and Afghanistan but the masterly sweep of the author takes us into Somalia Yemen.
Like all books on CIA, it also takes us thru the internecine turf wars with the defense department. At times, both the Defense establishment and the CIA come across as bumbling idiots….compared to the first class work that MOSSAD does. ( disclaimer: Don’t agree/approve all that Mossad does but one has to appreciate the sheer professionalism and execution excellence of Mossad)
At times, the book is scary about the way a superpower operates in a unipolar world.
Thoroughly enjoyed reading the book. Go for it.
Thank you once again for this book.