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State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration

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State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration Cover

ISBN13: 9780743270663
ISBN10: 0743270665
Condition:
All Product Details

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

With relentless media coverage, breathtaking events, and extraordinary congressional and independent investigations, it is hard to believe that we still might not know some of the most significant facts about the presidency of George W. Bush. Yet beneath the surface events of the Bush presidency lies a secret history — a series of hidden events that makes a mockery of current debate.

This hidden history involves domestic spying, abuses of power, and outrageous operations. It includes a CIA that became caught in a political cross fire that it could not withstand, and what it did to respond. It includes a Defense Department that made its own foreign policy, even against the wishes of the commander in chief. It features a president who created a sphere of deniability in which his top aides were briefed on matters of the utmost sensitivity — but the president was carefully kept in ignorance. State of War reveals this hidden history for the first time, including scandals that will redefine the Bush presidency.

James Risen has covered national security for the New York Times for years. Based on extraordinary sources from top to bottom in Washington and around the world, drawn from dozens of interviews with key figures in the national security community, this book exposes an explosive chain of events:

  • Contrary to law, and with little oversight, the National Security Administration has been engaged in a massive domestic spying program.
  • On such sensitive issues as the use of torture, the administration created a zone of deniability: the president's top advisors were briefed, but the president himself was not.
  • The United States actually gave nuclear-bomb designs to Iran.
  • The CIA had overwhelming evidence that Iraq had no nuclear weapons programs during the run-up to the Iraq war. They kept that information to themselves and didn't tell the president.
  • While the United States has refused to lift a finger, Afghanistan has become a narco-state, supplying 87 percent of the heroin sold on the global market.
These are just a few of the stories told in State of War. Beyond these shocking specifics, Risen describes troubling patterns: Truth-seekers within the CIA were fired or ignored. Long-standing rules were trampled. Assassination squads were trained; war crimes were proposed. Yet for all the aggressiveness of America's spies, a blind eye was turned toward crucial links between al Qaeda and Saudi Arabia, among other sensitive topics.

Not since the revelations of CIA and FBI abuses in the 1970s have so many scandals in the intelligence community come to light. More broadly, Risen's secret history shows how power really works in George W. Bush's presidency.

Review:

"Lucid, balanced and brimming with surprises, this is a — to borrow a notorious phrase — slam dunk exposé of the CIA's recent snafus. New York Times reporter Risen is broadly sympathetic to the CIA, and his tactful use of inside sources shifts much of the blame away from field agents and toward the brass in Washington, where CIA Director George Tenet's eagerness to please his political masters and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's bureaucratic skills create the conditions for a perfect storm of intelligence failures. The book's disclosures about secret prisons, 'renditions' — the transfer of suspects to countries which may torture them — and domestic wiretaps are likely to be talking points for some time, but its lasting value will be as a record of how the CIA came so tantalizingly close to the truth about Iraq's nonexistent nuclear arsenal. The retelling of one undercover operation shows the agency had direct evidence that there was no nuclear program in Iraq, but chose to doubt its source. Other scenes from the secret war on terror make novelist John Le Carre look like a timid plotter: a single misdirected message in 2004 brings down the agency's entire spy network in Iran, four years after a harebrained scheme had given Tehran flawed blueprints for a nuclear weapon-hoping to sow confusion, but possibly helping Iran to arm itself faster. Risen has written a thrilling, depressing and worrying book." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"[W]hile State of War has interesting and important new details, it also has almost no named sources....Nevertheless, obtaining details on an eavesdropping program as secret as the one discussed...is a monumental job of reporting." New York Times

Review:

"[An] explosive little book....It is riveting, anonymously sourced and feels slightly overdramatized, but it has the odious smell of truth." New York Times Book Review

Review:

"[A]n urgent contribution to the country's common good by a skillful and courageous reporter." Los Angeles Times

Review:

"[E]minently readable and informative." South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Review:

"A good bit of Risen's book will be familiar to anyone who keeps up with the news, but he has done a masterful job in pulling information together in one place and making sense of it." Sacramento Bee

Review:

"Risen's book is both unsettling and unsatisfying." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

About the Author

James Risen covers national security for the New York Times. He was a member of the team that won the Pulitzer Prize for explanatory reporting in 2002 for coverage of September 11 and terrorism, and he is the coauthor of Wrath of Angels and The Main Enemy: The Inside Story of the CIA's Final Showdown with the KGB. He lives outside Washington, D.C., with his wife and three sons.

Table of Contents

A NOTE ON SOURCES
PROLOGUE

1. "Who Authorized Putting Him on Pain Medication?"
2. The Program
3. Casus Belli
4. The Hunt for WMD
5. Skeptics and Zealots
6. Spinning War and Peace
7. Losing Afghanistan
8. In Denial: Oil, Terrorism, and Saudi Arabia
9. A Rogue Operation

AFTERWORD
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
INDEX

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

skatoolaki, April 30, 2010 (view all comments by skatoolaki)
Wonderful - and despairing - information. I can't believe the CIA never released the family members' statements; war could have been avoided. Or maybe not - the Bush Administration wanted to go to war; I guess it would have happened no matter what...

Great read; going to have to read the whole book now!
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(2 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)

Product Details

ISBN:
9780743270663
Author:
Risen, James
Publisher:
Free Press
Subject:
Foreign Legal Systems
Subject:
United states
Subject:
United States - 21st Century
Subject:
Political Freedom & Security - Intelligence
Subject:
Government - U.S. Government
Subject:
Government - Comparative
Subject:
Government - Executive Branch
Subject:
United States Politics and government.
Subject:
Politics - General
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Hardback
Publication Date:
January 2006
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
256
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in 13.895 oz

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Politics » Covert Government and Conspiracy Theory
History and Social Science » Politics » General
History and Social Science » US History » Contemporary
History and Social Science » World History » General

State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration New Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$24.95 Backorder
Product details 256 pages Free Press - English 9780743270663 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Lucid, balanced and brimming with surprises, this is a — to borrow a notorious phrase — slam dunk exposé of the CIA's recent snafus. New York Times reporter Risen is broadly sympathetic to the CIA, and his tactful use of inside sources shifts much of the blame away from field agents and toward the brass in Washington, where CIA Director George Tenet's eagerness to please his political masters and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's bureaucratic skills create the conditions for a perfect storm of intelligence failures. The book's disclosures about secret prisons, 'renditions' — the transfer of suspects to countries which may torture them — and domestic wiretaps are likely to be talking points for some time, but its lasting value will be as a record of how the CIA came so tantalizingly close to the truth about Iraq's nonexistent nuclear arsenal. The retelling of one undercover operation shows the agency had direct evidence that there was no nuclear program in Iraq, but chose to doubt its source. Other scenes from the secret war on terror make novelist John Le Carre look like a timid plotter: a single misdirected message in 2004 brings down the agency's entire spy network in Iran, four years after a harebrained scheme had given Tehran flawed blueprints for a nuclear weapon-hoping to sow confusion, but possibly helping Iran to arm itself faster. Risen has written a thrilling, depressing and worrying book." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "[W]hile State of War has interesting and important new details, it also has almost no named sources....Nevertheless, obtaining details on an eavesdropping program as secret as the one discussed...is a monumental job of reporting."
"Review" by , "[An] explosive little book....It is riveting, anonymously sourced and feels slightly overdramatized, but it has the odious smell of truth."
"Review" by , "[A]n urgent contribution to the country's common good by a skillful and courageous reporter."
"Review" by , "[E]minently readable and informative."
"Review" by , "A good bit of Risen's book will be familiar to anyone who keeps up with the news, but he has done a masterful job in pulling information together in one place and making sense of it."
"Review" by , "Risen's book is both unsettling and unsatisfying."
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