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Ghost: Confessions of a Counterterrorism Agent

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Ghost: Confessions of a Counterterrorism Agent Cover

ISBN13: 9781400065691
ISBN10: 1400065690
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

For decades, Fred Burton, a key figure in international counterterrorism and domestic spycraft, has secretly been on the front lines in the fight to keep Americans safe around the world. Now, in this hard-hitting memoir, Burton emerges from the shadows to reveal who he is, what he has accomplished, and the threats that lurk unseen except by an experienced, world-wise few.

In the mid-eighties, the idea of defending Americans against terrorism was still new. But a trio of suicide bombings in Beirut-including one that killed 241 marines and forced our exit from Lebanon-had changed the mindset and mission of the Diplomatic Security Service (DSS), the arm of the State Department that protects U.S. embassy officials across the globe. Burton, a member of DSSs tiny but elite Counterterrorism Division, was plunged into a murky world of violent religious extremism spanning the streets of Middle Eastern cities and the informant-filled alleys of American slums. From battling Libyan terrorists and their Palestinian surrogates to having facing down hijackers, hostages, and Hezbollah double agents, Burton found himself on the front lines of Americas first campaign against Terror.

In this globe-trotting account of one counterterrorism agents life and career, Burton takes us behind the scenes to reveal how the United States tracked Libya-linked master terrorist Abu Nidal; captured Ramzi Yusef, architect of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing; and pursued the assassins of major figures including Yitzhak Rabin, Meir Kahane, and General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, the president of Pakistan-classic cases that have sobering new meaning in the treacherous years since 9/11. Here, too, is Burtons advice on personal safety for todays most powerful CEOs, gleaned from his experience at Stratfor, the private firm Barrons calls “the shadow CIA.”

Told in a no-holds-barred, gripping, nuanced style that illuminates a complex and driven man, Ghost is both a riveting read and an illuminating look into the shadows of the most important struggle of our time.

Praise for GHOST

“With spy thriller suspense and the clarity of a police report, former special agent Burtons State Department saga reads like a brewing-storm prequel to the current war on terror ... Of obvious interest to anyone with an eye on world affairs.... Most striking is the materials relevance twenty years later; Burtons clashes with Hezbollah in Beirut and prickly diplomacy with Iran could almost be pulled from present-day newspapers”—Publisher's Weekly

“In many ways, this book reads like a le Carré spy novel: its not flashy, not filled with pyrotechnics, not full of chase scenes and derring-do. Rather, its the story of a working man whose job involved trying to prevent people from attacking his country. Shorn of ideological rights and wrongs, its a fascinating look at what counterterrorism really means on a day-to-day level.” —Booklist

“The world of counterterrorism is like that old jigsaw puzzle in the back of the closet: its many missing pieces and extra parts jumbled in from other puzzles make it almost impossible to assemble. But in Ghost, Fred Burton manages to join together enough pieces to give us a discerning look at that world. This is a story, told in human terms, that will help make sense of the great puzzle of our times.” —Eric L. Haney, author of Inside Delta Force and executive producer of The Unit

“Burtons memoir of fighting the defensive fight against the burgeoning terrorist threat in the 1980s and beyond is a revealing personal journal of the stress and boredom involved in putting the pieces of the puzzle together to obtain justice. Fred Burton was there, and you will be as well.” —Bobby R. Inman, admiral, United States Navy (retired), former director of National Security Agency and former deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency

"This memoir is all at once hard-hitting, well-researched, and an easy read. Organized into thirty-six chapters, with thoughtfully-placed transitions between each, Ghost becomes ones of those books that is easy to put down and return to in a few days." —SmallWars Journal.com

Review:

"With spy thriller suspense and the clarity of a police report, former special agent Burton's State Department saga reads like a brewing-storm prequel to the current 'war on terror.' Working for the tiny, newly created counterterrorism division of the Diplomatic Security Service in the mid-1980s, Burton liaisons among the FBI, the CIA, and a network of covert informants 'to find out the how' of terrorist attacks, and prevent repeat events. This snapshot of his career reveals 'the foundations for the chaos we face today: a cold war between superpowers overlayed atop a growing struggle between the Christian world and radical Islam.' Of obvious interest to anyone with an eye on world affairs, Burton's assets will draw in even casual counterterrorism fans: the spook can actually write. His first hook is a Dashiell Hammett-esque preface about his hand-written list of targeted terrorist masterminds, which he keeps on his person at all times and 'as current as today's headlines.' From there he takes readers through the crimes and captures of a few, along with the formation and administration of the first State Department unit of its kind. Most striking is the material's relevance twenty years later; Burton's clashes with Hezbollah in Beirut and prickly diplomacy with Iran could almost be pulled from present-day newspapers." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Synopsis:

For decades, Fred Burton, a key figure in international counterterrorism and domestic spycraft, has secretly been on the front lines in the fight to keep Americans safe around the world. Now, in this hard-hitting memoir, Burton emerges from the shadows to reveal who he is, what he has accomplished, and the threats that lurk unseen except by an experienced, world-wise few.

In the mid-eighties, the idea of defending Americans against terrorism was still new. But a trio of suicide bombings in Beirut-including one that killed 241 marines and forced our exit from Lebanon-had changed the mindset and mission of the Diplomatic Security Service (DSS), the arm of the State Department that protects U.S. embassy officials across the globe. Burton, a member of DSS's tiny but elite Counterterrorism Division, was plunged into a murky world of violent religious extremism spanning the streets of Middle Eastern cities and the informant-filled alleys of American slums. From battling Libyan terrorists and their Palestinian surrogates to having facing down hijackers, hostages, and Hezbollah double agents, Burton found himself on the front lines of America's first campaign against Terror.

In this globe-trotting account of one counterterrorism agent's life and career, Burton takes us behind the scenes to reveal how the United States tracked Libya-linked master terrorist Abu Nidal; captured Ramzi Yusef, architect of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing; and pursued the assassins of major figures including Yitzhak Rabin, Meir Kahane, and General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, the president of Pakistan-classic cases that have sobering new meaning in the treacherous years since 9/11. Here, too, is Burton's advice onpersonal safety for today's most powerful CEOs, gleaned from his experience at Stratfor, the private firm Barron's calls the shadow CIA.

Told in a no-holds-barred, gripping, nuanced style that illuminates a complex and driven man, Ghost is both a riveting read and an illuminating look into the shadows of the most important struggle of our time.

Praise for GHOST

In many ways, this book reads like a le Carre spy novel: it's not flashy, not filled with pyrotechnics, not full of chase scenes and derring-do. Rather, it's the story of a working man whose job involved trying to prevent people from attacking his country. Shorn of ideological rights and wrongs, it's a fascinating look at what counterterrorism really means on a day-to-day level. - Booklist

The world of counterterrorism is like that old jigsaw puzzle in the back of the closet: its many missing pieces and extra parts jumbled in from other puzzles make it almost impossible to assemble. But in Ghost, Fred Burton manages to join together enough pieces to give us a discerning look at that world. This is a story, told in human terms, that will help make sense of the great puzzle of our times. --Eric L. Haney, author of Inside Delta Force and executive producer of The Unit

Burton's memoir of fighting the defensive fight against the burgeoning terrorist threat in the 1980s and beyond is a revealing personal journal of the stress and boredom involved in putting the pieces of the puzzle together to obtain justice. Fred Burton was there, and you will be as well. --Bobby R. Inman, admiral, United States Navy (retired), former director of National Security Agency and former deputy director of the CentralIntelligence Agency

About the Author

Fred Burton is one of the worlds foremost experts on security, terrorists, and terrorist organizations. He is vice president for counterterrorism and corporate security at Stratfor, an influential private intelligence company. He is the former deputy chief of the Diplomatic Security Service, the Department of States counterterrorism division.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Vincent_bosquez, June 14, 2008 (view all comments by Vincent_bosquez)
Twenty years ago, the idea of defending the United States against terrorism was relatively new. So new, in fact, that only a three-man Defense Security Service (DSS) team situated in a windowless, smoke-filled office in the basement of the Harry S. Truman Building in our nation’s capital was responsible for keeping tabs on the most violent religious extremists in the world.

Fred Burton, a key figure in international counterterrorism and one of the original three agents, has taken off his Barbour Beaufort spy jacket to give a deeply personal account of the terroristic threats and acts America faced during his years as a DSS agent in “GHOST: Confessions of a Counterterrorism Agent.”

Burton, currently vice president for counterterrorism at Stratfor, a private intelligence company, recounts riveting, real world cases of espionage that detail how the U.S. tracked Libya-linked master terrorist Abu Nidal; captured Ramzi Yousef, architect of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing; and pursued the assassins of major political figures including Yitzhak Rabin, Meir Kahane, and General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, the president of Pakistan.

“Ghost” is a fascinating read, written in a solemn, heartfelt tone that conveys the angst and strife Burton felt as he tried to rid “The Dark World” of terrorists, while bringing home American hostages safely.

“I carry a list of names with me at all times. It is written in the black ink of a fountain pen in a hardback black Italian moleskin journal, and it travels with me in my weathered Ghurka shoulder bag or, when I’m on the road, in my small Zero Halliburton aluminum case, right next to my Smith & Wesson Model 637 five shot revolver…Each name on my list has eluded pursuit and is still out there…Most of the names have long been forgotten by the public, but not by me.”

In a telephone interview during a nationwide book tour in Washington, D.C., Burton provides additional insight into his years with the DSS, and his thoughts on the Texas border serving as a portal for terrorists entering the U.S.

Q. Given your former job and current occupation, isn’t it dangerous to come out with a book and tour that exposes you to people who still reside in “The Dark World?”
A. Having been in this business for as many years as I have, going back to my days as a police officer as well as a special agent, it comes with the territory. I would venture to guess that street cops in San Antonio, and the border agents in Texas, are at more risk than I am. I have no fears of retribution, but I still take safety measures.

Q. How is “The Dark World” doing?
A. It’s getting harder for them. The U.S. government has a much more robust capability to analyze threats and to make sense of the puzzle than we ever did. There are now thousands of analysts and thousands of agents assigned to this issue around globe, so they have a much better capability to oversee things. The technology has greatly increased from the days when I first started with 3x5 index cards, so their ability to connect the dots is much better.

Q. How effective is al-Qaida today?
A. al-Qaida is under a tremendous amount of pressure. The Federal Government has done a very good job of hunting down, capturing and killing high valued targets as evident with the recent military tribunal of Khalid Sheilkh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the 9/11 attacks.
The real concern from a domestic terror prospective is the “Lone Wolf Threat.” When you start game-boarding possible scenarios, one of the most worrisome is the individual who is inspired by al-Qaida and doesn’t tell anybody what he’s doing. Therefore, you don’t have the capability to have an informant close to him to report on his actions.

Q. How does religion reach the level of violent extremism in other countries?
A. We have extremists in all walks of religion. When you start looking at Islamic fundamentalists, you have individuals who are co-opted, trained and indoctrinated at an age where they’re easily influenced.
With regards to al-Qaida, they look for individuals who can be taken aside, used and manipulated. The Holy Grail for an organization like al-Qaida is to find individuals like Ramzi Yousef, who I was involved with in the first World Trade Center bombing, or a Mohammed Alta—individuals who have the intellect to become tactical commanders.

Q. How close was the world on the brink of nuclear war after the assassination of President Zia of Pakistan?
A. When that plane crashed, you had a country that was without a government. You had a country that had always been engaged in intelligence and covert operations and wars and rumors of wars with India. Literally, you had the world on fire there for a while and you had a very tenuous situation that wouldn’t have taken much to push either country over the edge. Fortunately, calmer minds prevailed and, with some diplomatic pressure, we were able to buy time which was exactly what we needed to help diffuse the situation.

Q. Governor Rick Perry has appointed you to the Texas Border Security Council. Are there any indications that terrorists are coming into the U.S. via Mexican smuggling routes?
A. We have evidence of terrorist operatives coming into the United States (via the Texas/Mexico border)…we have picked up terrorists that are on the No-Fly List, the Most Wanted List, and the Terrorist Lookout List. It’s a real issue…and it’s affecting our entire Homeland Security Program.

Q. If you could remove only one name from your list, which would it be?
A. Remember, this is my list and my reasons are personal. If I could only remove one name from my list, it would be Hasan Izz-al-Din, who is still operating in Lebanon. Among the many terrorism acts he’s been associated with, he was involved in the death of CIA Beirut Station Chief Bill Buckley, and the TWA Flight 847 hijacking and death of U.S. Navy Diver Robert Stethem.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781400065691
Author:
Burton, Fred
Publisher:
Random House
Subject:
Political Freedom & Security - Terrorism
Subject:
Terrorism
Subject:
Intelligence officers
Subject:
General
Subject:
Political
Subject:
Political Freedom & Security - Intelligence
Subject:
Personal Memoirs
Subject:
United states
Subject:
Intelligence officers -- United States.
Subject:
Biography-Political
Copyright:
Publication Date:
20080731
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
288
Dimensions:
9.5 x 6.35 x 1 in 1.05 lb

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Related Subjects

Biography » Political
History and Social Science » Military » Terrorism Mercenaries and Guerrillas
History and Social Science » Politics » General
History and Social Science » Politics » United States » Foreign Policy

Ghost: Confessions of a Counterterrorism Agent Used Hardcover
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$5.95 In Stock
Product details 288 pages Random House - English 9781400065691 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "With spy thriller suspense and the clarity of a police report, former special agent Burton's State Department saga reads like a brewing-storm prequel to the current 'war on terror.' Working for the tiny, newly created counterterrorism division of the Diplomatic Security Service in the mid-1980s, Burton liaisons among the FBI, the CIA, and a network of covert informants 'to find out the how' of terrorist attacks, and prevent repeat events. This snapshot of his career reveals 'the foundations for the chaos we face today: a cold war between superpowers overlayed atop a growing struggle between the Christian world and radical Islam.' Of obvious interest to anyone with an eye on world affairs, Burton's assets will draw in even casual counterterrorism fans: the spook can actually write. His first hook is a Dashiell Hammett-esque preface about his hand-written list of targeted terrorist masterminds, which he keeps on his person at all times and 'as current as today's headlines.' From there he takes readers through the crimes and captures of a few, along with the formation and administration of the first State Department unit of its kind. Most striking is the material's relevance twenty years later; Burton's clashes with Hezbollah in Beirut and prickly diplomacy with Iran could almost be pulled from present-day newspapers." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by , For decades, Fred Burton, a key figure in international counterterrorism and domestic spycraft, has secretly been on the front lines in the fight to keep Americans safe around the world. Now, in this hard-hitting memoir, Burton emerges from the shadows to reveal who he is, what he has accomplished, and the threats that lurk unseen except by an experienced, world-wise few.

In the mid-eighties, the idea of defending Americans against terrorism was still new. But a trio of suicide bombings in Beirut-including one that killed 241 marines and forced our exit from Lebanon-had changed the mindset and mission of the Diplomatic Security Service (DSS), the arm of the State Department that protects U.S. embassy officials across the globe. Burton, a member of DSS's tiny but elite Counterterrorism Division, was plunged into a murky world of violent religious extremism spanning the streets of Middle Eastern cities and the informant-filled alleys of American slums. From battling Libyan terrorists and their Palestinian surrogates to having facing down hijackers, hostages, and Hezbollah double agents, Burton found himself on the front lines of America's first campaign against Terror.

In this globe-trotting account of one counterterrorism agent's life and career, Burton takes us behind the scenes to reveal how the United States tracked Libya-linked master terrorist Abu Nidal; captured Ramzi Yusef, architect of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing; and pursued the assassins of major figures including Yitzhak Rabin, Meir Kahane, and General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, the president of Pakistan-classic cases that have sobering new meaning in the treacherous years since 9/11. Here, too, is Burton's advice onpersonal safety for today's most powerful CEOs, gleaned from his experience at Stratfor, the private firm Barron's calls the shadow CIA.

Told in a no-holds-barred, gripping, nuanced style that illuminates a complex and driven man, Ghost is both a riveting read and an illuminating look into the shadows of the most important struggle of our time.

Praise for GHOST

In many ways, this book reads like a le Carre spy novel: it's not flashy, not filled with pyrotechnics, not full of chase scenes and derring-do. Rather, it's the story of a working man whose job involved trying to prevent people from attacking his country. Shorn of ideological rights and wrongs, it's a fascinating look at what counterterrorism really means on a day-to-day level. - Booklist

The world of counterterrorism is like that old jigsaw puzzle in the back of the closet: its many missing pieces and extra parts jumbled in from other puzzles make it almost impossible to assemble. But in Ghost, Fred Burton manages to join together enough pieces to give us a discerning look at that world. This is a story, told in human terms, that will help make sense of the great puzzle of our times. --Eric L. Haney, author of Inside Delta Force and executive producer of The Unit

Burton's memoir of fighting the defensive fight against the burgeoning terrorist threat in the 1980s and beyond is a revealing personal journal of the stress and boredom involved in putting the pieces of the puzzle together to obtain justice. Fred Burton was there, and you will be as well. --Bobby R. Inman, admiral, United States Navy (retired), former director of National Security Agency and former deputy director of the CentralIntelligence Agency

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