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The Interrogator: An Educationby Glenn Carle
Synopses & Reviews
To his friends and neighbors, Glenn L. Carle was a wholesome, stereotypical New England Yankee, a former athlete struggling against incipient middle age, someone always with his nose in an abstruse book. But for two decades Carle broke laws, stole, and lied on a daily basis about nearly everything. “I was almost never who I said I was, or did what I claimed to be doing.” He was a CIA spy. He thrived in an environment of duplicity and ambiguity, flourishing in the gray areas of policy.
The Interrogator is the story of Carle’s most serious assignment, when he was “surged” to become an interrogator in the U.S. Global War on Terror to interrogate a top level detainee at one of the CIA’s notorious black sites overseas. It tells of his encounter with one of the most senior al-Qa’ida detainees the U.S. captured after 9/11, a “ghost detainee” who, the CIA believed, might hold the key to finding Osama bin Ladin.
As Carle’s interrogation sessions progressed though, he began to seriously doubt the operation. Was this man, kidnapped in the Middle East, really the senior al-Qa’ida official the CIA believed he was? Headquarters viewed Carle’s misgivings as naïve troublemaking. Carle found himself isolated, progressively at odds with his institution and his orders. He struggled over how far to push the interrogation, wrestling with whether his actions constituted torture, and with what defined his real duty to his country. Then, in a dramatic twist, headquarters spirited the detainee and Carle to the CIA’s harshest interrogation facility, a place of darkness and fear, which even CIA officers only dared mention in whispers.
A haunting tale of sadness, confusion, and determination, The Interrogator is a shocking and intimate look at the world of espionage. It leads the reader through the underworld of the Global War on Terror, asking us to consider the professional and personal challenges faced by an intelligence officer during a time of war, and the unimaginable ways in which war alters our institutions and American society.
"Carle, who retired in 2007 after 23 years as a member of the CIA's Clandestine Service, recounts his toughest assignment: interrogating a top-level al-Qaeda detainee at two different overseas locations a year after 9/11. As deputy national intelligence officer for transnational threats, Carle was one of the three most senior officers for terrorism in the intelligence community focused on al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden before 9/11. The detainee, referred to as CAPTUS, was kidnapped off a street in an unnamed Middle Eastern country, and after interrogating him day after day, Carle begins to suspect that the CIA grabbed the wrong man. His colleagues remain unconvinced, and against Carle's recommendation, move CAPTUS to the 'Hotel California,' a notorious detention facility that holds the most dangerous, recalcitrant suspects. Following CAPTUS to the new location, Carle struggles to figure out how far he should push the interrogation and whether he is now an unwilling witness to torture. Carle captures the spirit of the CIA — its bureaucracy, dedication, machismo — in a voice that manages to be descriptive, analytical, reflective, and philosophical in turn. Despite the CIA's numerous redactions (the author notes that the CAPTUS story is even darker than he can say), the narrative raises pointed, timely, and important questions about the policies of the CIA and the U.S. government as they ramped up the global war on terror. (July)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Book News Annotation:
This timely memoir examines the life and work of retired CIA senior interrogator Glen Carle and explores the moral relativity and cognitive dissonance he experienced as an undercover warrior in the U.S. War on terror. Written in a fast paced narrative style, the exiting work covers Carle's involvement with torture at CIA "black prisons" and his role as an important officer in the interrogation of rendered suspects believed by the government to be top Al-Qa'ida operatives. The text is heavily redacted throughout but maintains enough of the authors riveting accounts of his actions, and his eventual understanding that what he was doing was wrong, that it provides a unique and personal glimpse into a process, prosecuted in their name, long hidden from the American people. Annotation ©2011 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
The Interrogator tells the story of one of the most secret and sensitive CIA interrogations during the U.S. War on Terror. It is the confession of former covert operative Glenn Carle, who spent almost two decades working undercover and was charged with interrogating one of the highest-profile al-Qa’ida detainees since 9/11. In what is to be the apotheosis of his career in the Directorate of Operations, Carle begins to build a rapport with his subject, but he realizes something is amiss. Is this man, kidnapped in the Middle East and spirited away to one of the CIA’s infamous black sites, really the prize catch his superiors at the CIA claim he is?
Carle struggles to fulfill his duty to act honorably, morally, and legally while his superiors push him to deploy more extreme methods. A haunting tale reminiscent of the work of Graham Greene and Don DeLillo, The Interrogator is an intimate portrait of the War on Terror.
About the Author
Glenn l. Carle was a member of the CIA’s Clandestine Service for twenty-three years and retired in March 2007 as deputy national intelligence officer for transnational threats. He lives in Washington, DC.
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