Synopses & Reviews
The bestselling author of Body of Secrets and The Puzzle Palace presents his most hard-hitting book to date—a sweeping, authoritative, and fearless account of the failures of America’s intelligence agencies and the Bush administration’s calculated efforts to sell a war to the American people.
In The Puzzle Palace, James Bamford revealed the existence of the NSA, the largest, most secretive, and best-financed intelligence organization in the world. In Body of Secrets, he took readers inside the ultrasecret agency, charting its deeds and misdeeds from its founding in 1952 to the end of the twentieth century. Now Bamford applies his relentless investigative drive and unparalleled access to intelligence sources to produce a headline-making book about the most pressing issues of the present day.
From the mishandling of the pre-9/11 threat to the unproven claims about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, Bamford argues that the Bush administration has co-opted the intelligence community for its own political ends, and at the expense of American security. Bamford makes the case that the Bush administration’s Middle East policy decisions, from overthrowing Saddam to ignoring the situation of the Palestinians, are driven by long-held beliefs and goals of an elite group of conservatives inside and outside of government.
A Pretext for War homes in on the systematic weakness that led the intelligence community to ignore or misinterpret evidence of the impending terrorist attacks of 9/11—a failure rooted in the refusal to acknowledge the central role of the Palestinian cause in igniting Arab rage against the United States. Compounding the errors, the Bush administration’s immediate response to 9/11 was to call for an attack on Iraq, and it subsequently invented justifications for the preemptive war that has ultimately left the United States more vulnerable to terrorism.
A Pretext for War is an unprecedented, utterly convincing exposé of the most secretive administration in history.
"A Pretext for War...provides a useful, new and sobering stream of information especially as the fallout from the Vulcans' crusade looms as a potentially decisive issue in a crucial election year." The Washington Post World
"In the end Mr. Bamford's conclusions are alarming, if not unfamiliar ones: that incompetence, timidity and a lack of readiness contributed to the failure to prevent the terrorist attacks of 9/11, and that misinformation, ideological agendas and poor intelligence led to the decision to go to war against Iraq." Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
"A Pretext for War not only contains significant new information, but also combines that information with previously known material to make better sense of Sept. 11 and its aftermath than any other book I have read....This is a vital book to read in a presidential and congressional election year or any other year." Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
In A Pretext for War, acclaimed author James Bamford-whose classic book The Puzzle Palace first revealed the existence of the National Security Agency-draws on his unparalleled access to top intelligence sources to produce a devastating expos? of the intelligence community and the Bush administration. A Pretext for War reveals the systematic weaknesses behind the failure to detect or prevent the 9/11 attacks, and details the Bush administrations subsequent misuse of intelligence to sell preemptive war to the American people. Filled with unprecedented new revelations, from the sites of “undisclosed locations” to the actual sources of Americas Middle East policy, A Pretext for War is essential reading for anyone concerned about the security of the United States.
About the Author
JAMES BAMFORD, the author of the bestsellers Body of Secrets and The Puzzle Palace, has written extensively on national security issues, including investigative cover stories for the New York Times Magazine, the Washington Post Magazine, and the Los Angeles Times Magazine. Formerly the Washington investigative producer for ABC’s World News Tonight with Peter Jennings, and a distinguished visiting professor at the University of California, Berkeley, he lives in Washington, D.C.