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Autobiography of the CIA director from 1997 to 2004, during 9/11 and the initial invasion of Iraq
New York Times Bestseller Like See No Evil and At the Center of the Storm, this is a vivid and gripping account of the Central Intelligence Agency, a life of secrets, and a war in the shadows. Called the "Bob Gates of his generation" by Politico, Michael Morell was a top CIA officer who played a critical role in the most important counterterrorism events of the past two decades. Morell was by President Bush's side on 9/11/01 when terrorists struck America and in the White House Situation Room advising President Obama on 5/1/11 when America struck back-killing Usama bin Ladin. From the subway bombings in London to the terrorist attacks in Benghazi, Morell always seemed to find himself on the cusp of history. A superb intelligence analyst and briefer, Morell now presents THE GREAT WAR OF OUR TIME, where he uses his talents to offer an unblinking and insightful assessment of CIA's counterterrorism successes and failures of the past twenty years and, perhaps most important, shows readers that the threat of terrorism did not die with Bin Ladin in Abbottabad. Morell illuminates new, growing threats from terrorist groups that, if unaddressed, could leave the country vulnerable to attacks that would dwarf 9/11 in magnitude. He writes of secret, back-channel negotiations he conducted with foreign spymasters and regime leaders in a desperate attempt to secure a peaceful outcome to unrest launched during the "Arab Spring." Morell describes how efforts to throw off the shackles of oppression have too often resulted in broken nation states unable or unwilling to join the fight against terrorism. Along the way Morell provides intimate portraits of the leadership styles of figures ranging from Presidents Bush and Obama, CIA directors Tenet, Goss, Hayden, Petraeus, Panetta, and Brennan, and a host of others.
While the American public is aware of the CIA's use of highly controversial "enhanced interrogation techniques," few know the man who, in the wake of September 11, led all U.S. counterterrorism operations and oversaw the use of those procedures--procedures that obtained vital and timely intelligence and helped safeguard the nation from future attacks. Puerto Rican-born Jose A. Rodriguez, Jr., served the United States for twenty-five years as an undercover officer before bringing his wealth of field knowledge to the CIA's Counterterrorism Center; now, in this riveting account and fascinating life story, one of America's top undercover operatives reveals how hard measures have derailed terrorist activity targeting the U.S., and saved countless American lives. Fully disclosed here for the first time are the undercover operations and tactics implemented during the George W. Bush presidency--which were approved by the highest levels of the U.S. government, certified as legal by the Department of Justice, and supported by bipartisan leadership of congressional intelligence oversight committees. But as the shock of 9/11 faded, the support that the intelligence community enjoyed and deserved gave way to shortsighted and potentially dangerous political correctness. One by one, the tools needed to successfully fight terrorism were banished, and the men and women who volunteered to carry out our nation's orders in combating al-Qa'ida found themselves second-guessed, hamstrung, and investigated-- including Rodriguez himself. In effect, the United States has chosen to willfully and unilaterally disarm itself in the war on terror. In Hard Measures, Rodriguez convincingly argues for the techniques used, and uncompromisingly details when these techniques were necessary, why they worked, and how, ultimately, they contributed to the capture of the world's most-wanted terror operatives, including Usama bin Ladin. From law school student to CIA recruit to his role as America's top spy, Rodriguez's full story is one of utmost importance--a rare, insider's look at an issue that demands attention. Above all, it's a reasoned, imperative, and fully informed case for hard measures, and an explosive and gripping account of the real war on terror-- where it's been and where it's headed. *** Terrorism has always been one of the toughest targets on which to collect intelligence. The secrets you want to steal frequently don't reside in computer systems, which can be hacked, or safes, which can be broken into, but in the inner recesses of a handful of individuals' minds. The cliché about intelligence work is that it is like working on a thousand-piece jigsaw puzzle but not having the box top to show you what the finished picture should look like. If only it were that easy. In fact, it is more like working on a million-piece puzzle with no box top, and having millions more random pieces that look like they might fit, but actually are from different puzzles altogether. It fell to us to make sense of the countless fragments of information and to take action on the chunks of the puzzle, which represented a real and growing threat to the United States and our allies. --from Hard Measures