A veteran case officer in the CIA's Directorate of Operations in the Middle East, Baer witnessed the rise of terrorism first hand and the CIA's inadequate response to it, leading to the attacks of September 11, 2001. This riveting book is both an indictment of an agency that lost its way and an unprecedented look at the roots of modern terrorism, and includes a new afterword in which Baer speaks out about the American war on terrorism and its profound implications throughout the Middle East.
©2002 Robert Baer; (P)2005 Books on Tape
You can never read just one book on a subject. Two or three and maybe you can triangulate something resembling the truth. I would reccommend Baer's work as something of a unique perspective among the endless string of books about American intelligence. Anyone who has worked for, or had close dealings with any government agency will recognize the struggle between those honestly trying to serve the nation's interests and the bureaucrats only interested in their careers. I give it only four stars because the author has a habit of digressing into a tirade when particularly annoyed by the facts he relates.
This is an excellent book.
I used to believe that we have always done our best as a country to protect ourselves; then I hear a clear, detailed, well narrated and consistent book like this one, and it makes me want to believe the book must be wrong. I mean, we're the good guys, right? The book may make one exclaim, "Say it ain't so!" But it is so.
The book discusses in detail how we dropped the ball and invited disaster by closing our eyes so we "See No Evil." It also lays out just how evil Iran-Contra was and how it facilitated the 9/11 attacks. But there is plenty of blame to go around and the book is very harsh on Clinton as well.
This book covers similar material as another from the same author "Sleeping with the Devil." Both lay out the true price we pay for oil.
If you as a reader do NOT want to know how we are our own worst enemy, do not read this book; you won't believe it anyway. For the rest of us who want to know more about what is being kept secret from us "for our own good," this is a must read.
And then listen to "Sleeping with the Enemy."
If you dare.
It is amazing to hear what you have always figured was the case with CIA and FBI--their competition has made the USA very vulnerable and I am curious if 9/11 actually made things safer in the USA. I would like to think so, but after listening to "See no Evil", I think it will take more than 9/11 to fix things. Very good book and more than I expected after watching "Syriana".
Close up personal insights on what is wrong with American intelligence service in the middle east and how this leaves us vulnerable to terrorist organizations. Some of the things which Baer says, if they came from another source, I might view with suspicion. But his credentials of having worked for the CIA in the middle east, in the field, give him credibility to say that we need to find different ways to deal with Islamic terrorist organizations than what we are currently doing.
This is a great narrative of terrorism and of the CIA from an insider's point of view. Baer does a great job of connecting the dots in the tightly knit world of terrorism.
The only drawback I found with the book is that it can be hard to follow the names of the key players, but that is more of a linguistics issue than a beef about the book.
All in all, I'd highly recommend this book to anyone who wants a greater understanding of what is really going on in our world and who is to blame.
Say something about yourself!
Baer is a terrific writer, a great CIA operative, and a true Patriot. The CIA should be, first and foremost, an intelligence gathering arm of the US government. Baer makes very clear that pre 9/11 we were fighting the last intelligence war and looking for information that would confirm our preconceived ideas. Let's hope that has changed.
On another note, this is an interesting account of who our operatives are and how they come to join the Agency.
Old & fat, but strong; American, Chinese, & Indian (sort of); Ph.D. in C.S.; strategy, economics & stability theory; trees & machining.
I liked this book. Quite a bit. It’s probably one of the most authentic public works on the second half of the CIA’s history. It doesn’t talk down to you, preach up at you, or skew its message for political correctness. It has facts, information, and a point of view.
But it’s a little hard to not to feel a little perverted about liking it.
P.S. I think it’s a mistake to primarily understand this book as anti-Bush. It’s really anti-establishment.
This book is not for you unless you enjoy 12 hours of whining about how everyone but Mr. Baer is a fool, a crook, a coward, a lobbyist, etc, etc, etc. I now understand why the CIA is such a mess - it is cowboys like Bob Baer that are willing to ignore the law, morals and common sense and deal with the lowest scum on the planet. Hey it is just for the good of the old US of A he says. Be a realist, torture is necessary sometimes - there are bad people out there. People named Bob Baer. Do yourself a favor and read the condensed version - Oliver North's treason conviction.
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