American Intelligence in the Age of Terror
On Sale: February 23, 2016
Hardcover / e-Book
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An unprecedented high-level master narrative of America's
intelligence wars, from the only person ever to helm both
CIA and NSA, at a time of heinous new threats and wrenching
For General Michael Hayden, playing to the edge means
playing so close to the line that you get chalk dust on your
cleats. Otherwise, by playing back, you may protect
yourself, but you will be less successful in protecting
America. "Play to the edge" was Hayden's guiding principle
when he ran the National Security Agency, and it remained so
when he ran CIA. In his view, many shortsighted and
uninformed people are quick to criticize, and this book will
give them much to chew on but little easy comfort; it is an
unapologetic insider's look told from the perspective of the
people who faced awesome responsibilities head on, in the
How did American intelligence respond to terrorism, a major
war and the most sweeping technological revolution in the
last 500 years? What was NSA before 9/11 and how did it
change in its aftermath? Why did NSA begin the
controversial terrorist surveillance program that included
the acquisition of domestic phone records? What else was set
in motion during this period that formed the backdrop for
the infamous Snowden revelations in 2013?
As Director of CIA in the last three years of the Bush
administration, Hayden had to deal with the rendition,
detention and interrogation program as bequeathed to him by
his predecessors. He also had to ramp up the agency to
support its role in the targeted killing program that began
to dramatically increase in July 2008. This was a time of
great crisis at CIA, and some agency veterans have credited
Hayden with actually saving the agency.
He himself won't go that far, but he freely acknowledges
that CIA helped turn the American security establishment
into the most effective killing machine in the history of
For 10 years, then, General Michael Hayden was a participant
in some of the most telling events in the annals of American
national security. General Hayden's goals are in writing
this book are simple and unwavering: No apologies. No
excuses. Just what happened. And why. As he writes, "There
is a story here that deserves to be told, without varnish
and without spin. My view is my view, and others will
certainly have different perspectives, but this view
deserves to be told to create as complete a history as
possible of these turbulent times.
I bear no grudges, or at least not many, but I do want this
to be a straightforward and readable history for that slice
of the American population who depend on and appreciate
intelligence, but who do not have the time to master its
many obscure characteristics."
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