Synopses & Reviews
With the CIA at the core of the war on terror, no agency is as important to preserving America's freedom. Yet the CIA is a closed and secretive world-impenetrable to generations of journalists-and few Americans know what really goes on among the spy masters who plot America's worldwide campaign against terrorists.
Only Ronald Kessler, an award-winning former Washington Post and Wall Street Journal investigative reporter, could have gained the unprecedented access to tell the story. Kessler interviewed fifty current CIA officers, including all the agency's top officials, and toured areas of the CIA the media has never seen. The agency actively encouraged retired CIA officers and officials to talk with him as well. In six years as director, George J. Tenet has never appeared on TV shows and has given only a handful of print interviews, all before 9/11, but Tenet agreed to be interviewed by Kessler for this book. He spoke candidly and passionately about the events of 9/11, the war on terror, the agency's intelligence on Iraq, and the controversies surrounding the agency.
The CIA at War tells the inside story of how Tenet, a son of Greek immigrants, turned around the CIA from a pathetic, risk averse outfit to one that has rolled up 3,000 terrorists since 9/11, was critically important to winning in Afghanistan and Iraq, and now kills terrorists with its Predator drone aircraft.
The book portrays Tenet as a true American hero, one who overcame every kind of Washington obstacle and the destructive actions of previous director John Deutch to make the agency a success. As Tenet said in a recent speech, "Nowhere in the world could the son of an immigrant stand before you as the director of Central Intelligence. This is simply the greatest country on the face of the earth."
The CIA at War discloses highly sensitive information about the CIA's unorthodox methods and its stunning successes and shocking failures. The book explores whether the CIA can be trusted, whether its intelligence is politicized, and whether it is capable of winning the war on terror. In doing so, the book weaves in the history of the CIA and how it really works. It is the definitive account of the agency.
From the CIA's intelligence failure of 9/11 to its critical role in preventing further attacks, The CIA at War tells a riveting, unique story about a secretive, powerful agency and its confrontation with global terrorism.
"Colorful and fascinating . . . Kessler's sobering report . . . will come as a surprise to most readers—and possibly even Washington insiders . . . Chilling."
— The Washington Post Book World
"A compelling and timely exposition of the real FBI. Kessler's fresh information and command of the facts . . . rings with authority."
— The Los Angeles Times Book Review
"An assiduous journalist, Kessler has written numerous books about behind-the-scenes stories at the national security agencies. His reportage on the abuse of office perks by ex-FBI director William Sessions, for example, precipitated Sessions' exit in 1993. His latest book is a history of the FBI since its origin in 1908 and is structured around directors' tenures . . . Kessler's access to reliable sources results in a richly detailed overview."
— Gilbert Taylor, Booklist
"Colorful and fascinating . . . Kessler's sobering report . . . will come as a surprise to most readers--and possibly even Washington insiders . . . Chilling." The Washington Post Book World
"A compelling and timely exposition of the real FBI. Kessler's fresh information and command of the facts . . . rings with authority." The Los Angeles Times Book Review
"An assiduous journalist...His latest book is a history of the FBI since its origin in 1908 and is structured around directors' tenures . . . Kessler's access to reliable sources results in a richly detailed overview." Gilbert Taylor
A former "Washington Post" and "Wall Street Journal" investigative reporter, and the bestselling author of "Inside the White House," Kessler explores the role of the CIA in the war against terror.
Veteran journalist Kessler invesitigates what the CIA is doing to win--and how it might lose its no-holds-barred shadow war on terrorism.
The CIA at War
- How the CIA devised the plan to topple the Taliban in Afghanistan, rolled up half the senior leaders of al Qaeda, and sent commandoes to prepare the way for U.S. forces invading Iraq.
- Which press report that the U.S. was listening in on conversations of Osama bin Laden and his lieutenants led them to stop using the satellite phone that was being monitored.
- How the CIA clandestinely uses mullahs to convey a more moderate message to the Arab world and to support the U.S. military intervention in Iraq.
- How the CIA bugs or intercepts the communications of al Qaeda leaders, OPEC ministers, United Nations delegates, ambassadors, foreign leaders, and weapons inspectors.
- The truth behind the charge that Vice President Dick Cheney repeatedly visited the CIA as part of an effort to hype the agency's intelligence on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
- How a CIA officer in Iraq, who had been targeted for assassination or kidnapping by the Iraqi Intelligence Service, returned to Iraq after the war and captured his own pursuer.
- How the CIA uses sensors to penetrate camouflage, determine if weapons of mass destruction are being manufactured, and pinpoint bombing targets.
- How previous CIA Director John Deutch approved a hare-brained scheme to pay off a CIA operative, whose job had been to break into embassies overseas, to keep him from revealing to his targets that the CIA had stolen their communication codes.
- How the Israelis break into CIA officers' homes to gather intelligence.
- Why the CIA shut out the FBI when interrogating Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, Osama bin Laden's chief of operations.
- How the CIA ignored failed polygraph results of 300 of its employees.
- How President Clinton, over CIA protests, diverted satellites from finding weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
- How the CIA obtains secret communication codes of friendly countries like France and South Korea.
- What George Tenet's and FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III's biggest secret is.
Includes bibliographical references [p. -350) and index.
About the Author
is the New York Times
bestselling author of thirteen non-fiction books, including The Bureau: The Secret History of the FBI, Inside the White House, The FBI, Inside the CIA, Moscow Station, The Sins of the Father: Joseph P. Kennedy and the Dynasty He Founded, Inside Congress,
and The Season: Inside Palm Beach and America's Richest Society
. A former Washington Post
and Wall Street Journal
investigative reporter, Kessler has won sixteen journalism awards, including two George Polk Awards. Kessler lives with his wife Pamela in Potomac, Maryland.