Your audiobook is waiting…

Messing with the Enemy

Surviving in a Social Media World of Hackers, Terrorists, Russians, and Fake News
Narrated by: Joe Knezevich
Length: 9 hrs and 34 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (332 ratings)

$14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

OR
In Cart

Publisher's Summary

A former FBI Special Agent, US Army officer, and leading cyber-security expert offers a devastating and essential look at the misinformation campaigns, fake news, and electronic espionage operations that have become the cutting edge of modern warfare - and how we can protect ourselves and our country against them.

Clint Watts electrified the nation when he testified in front of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence regarding Russian interference in the 2016 election. In Messing with the Enemy, the counterterrorism, cybersecurity, and homeland security expert introduces us to a frightening world in which terrorists and cyber criminals don’t hack your computer, they hack your mind. Watts reveals how these malefactors use your social media information and that of your family, friends, and colleagues to map your social networks, identify your vulnerabilities, master your fears, and harness your preferences.

Thanks to the schemes engineered by social media manipulators using you and your information, business executives have coughed up millions in fraudulent wire transfers, seemingly good kids have joined the Islamic State, and staunch anti-communist Reagan Republicans have cheered the Russian government’s hacking of a Democratic presidential candidate’s emails. Watts knows how they do it because he’s mirrored their methods to understand their intentions, combat their actions, and co-opt their efforts.

Watts examines a range of social media platforms - from the first Internet forums to the current titans of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn - and nefarious actors - from Al Qaeda to the Islamic State to the Russian social media troll farm - to illuminate exactly how they use Western social media for their nefarious purposes. He explains how he’s learned, through his successes and his failures, to engage with hackers, terrorists, and even the Russians - and how these interactions have generated methods for fighting back against those that seek to harm people on the Internet. He concludes with a snapshot of how advances in artificial intelligence will make future influence even more effective and dangerous to social media users and democratic governments worldwide. Shocking, funny, and eye-opening, Messing with the Enemy is a deeply urgent guide for living safe and smart in a super-connected world.

©2018 Clint Watts (P)2018 HarperCollins Publishers

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    213
  • 4 Stars
    86
  • 3 Stars
    23
  • 2 Stars
    8
  • 1 Stars
    2

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    198
  • 4 Stars
    68
  • 3 Stars
    22
  • 2 Stars
    3
  • 1 Stars
    3

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    189
  • 4 Stars
    77
  • 3 Stars
    18
  • 2 Stars
    7
  • 1 Stars
    4
Sort by:
  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Could Have Been Much Better - Disappointing!

I've been a big fan of Clint Watts since I was first introduced to him during his testimony for the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. However, this book was disappointing. "Messing with the Enemy" starts out with a bit of self promotion by Watts. He then goes on to describe his "chatty days" and how he spent considerable time chatting with Islamic terrorists over social media. He also talks about his short period working with the FBI, which I mistakingly thought was much longer based on how is bio is presented on cable TV. Basically, he describes himself as one who does not fit into organizations (like the FBI), likes chatting with terrorists on social media, and has a great distain for the US government contracting process. He uses the book to directly self-promote and tacitly ask for funding for his research work; while at the same time being highly critical of government contracting.

There is some good information in "Messing with the Enemy". Watts does a good job of attributing the rise of global jihad and radical Islamic terrorism to the rise of social media and on-line discussion forums. He also does a good job of discussing how social media and on-line forums have helped move us toward a dystopian world where the "disinformation cat is out of the bag" and often refers to social media as "anti-social media" which I tend to agree.

The main problem I had with "Messing with the Enemy" was the shameless self-promotion and not-so-subtle requests for funding for his research, while at the same time lambasting the US government contracting processes. I was a network and cyber security consultant across many US government agencies for many years and my experience was completely different than Clint Watts. I worked with creative, imaginary and highly skilled professionals who were not at all the "government misfits" as described by Watts. Yes, government contracting can be challenging; but with the right sponsors and contracts, you can be highly creative and have a great impact. Clint Watt's sings too many sour grapes about contracting and makes the mistake of projecting his lack of success in contracting as damning to the entire process.

On the other hand, I do agree with Watts that there is a lot of incompetence in the government. The issue I have with "Messing with the Enemy" is too much time was spent on self-promotion, bashing government contracting, and bragging about chatting with terrorists on social media in a book supposedly about social media hacking and disinformation warfare. There was almost no (useful or additional) technical information or methods described other than (to summarize) "social media gives rise to anti-social media" so the book was disappointing.

Having said that, I am glad to have supported Clint Watts by buying this book and did enjoy about half of "Messing with the Enemy" on a long east-to-west trans-pacific flight from the US to Hong Kong. "Messing with the Enemy" could have been much better but instead it was disappointing.



13 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Good read worth reading

I liked the background, experience, and expertise of the author. I appreciated the first five chapters of the book as a matter of curiosity about Islamic terrorism and I believe he gave it thoughtful and and balanced treatment. You won’t find any nationalist fear mongering or racism in this book which I appreciated.

I really liked chapters 6-10 where he laid out his thesis on social media and it’s uses, Russian use of the internet and how pervasive it is and precautions we should all take when using/social media and excellent advice about how to evaluate and protect yourself while using social media.

I especially appreciated his solution for using social media as an effective and thoughtful tool to continue fostering and protecting American values and the responsibilities of citizenship by interacting more with each other day-to-day.

I liked his description of what a solution might provide and look like but found myself longing to hear his ideas and more of a detailed focus on how this might be accomplished. In any case I’d say it’s a good read and social media users and the public generally will find it enlightening and useful.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Clint Watts is Full of Himself

Nothing new here, unless you get your news from Fox. The impression I get is that the author wants us to know how much more clever he is than ANYone else.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Needs more information, less detail

I really enjoy Clint Watts' appearances on TV news shows; he is clear, specific and well-spoken. Unfailingly informative. However, this text provides way too much detail, to set up each of his assertions. It needs some extreme editing. Did not like the pace or inflections of the narrator.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

slightly misleading but thats the point i think

If you care and are willing to check your ego you may learn something. You have been manipulated. We all have failed in the propagation of the truth. Goes well with 'team of teams'.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Fascinating

Loved It. A must read for everyone who believes in democracy recognizing the time we are in.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

not what I expected, so much better.

I consider myself a fairly smart man, those who know me, have expressed so, but I intend to listen this book again, quite a few times I went back to listen again to a thought, analysis, or process to make sure I was able to understand what he was saying. No Wonder he left the FBI, he's way too smart for government,lol. Also I thought this was going to be another "anti-Trump" book, although he does have some opinions about the president, and Russia's influence campaign against the 2016 election, it was a really small portion of this book. I learned lot about social media, and terrorism. Very good book. I don't know if it's his first book, but I'd say it's likely his best.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Full of Himself

I was excited to listen to this book when I first heard about it. Unfortunately, It did not take long for me to lose interest. Clint Watts really disappointed me. You learn about his true self right off the bat, when he goes on and on about how cool he was making prank calls while at West Point. What a jerk. He then goes on trying to impress readers by referring to himself as an “Airborne-Ranger.” Sure, he may have been both Airborne- and Ranger-qualified, but he was in 101st, not the 75th Ranger Regiment... there is a difference and any self respecting infantry officer knows it. After his long and glorious four years of service, he joined the FBI for a little under two years, but he would lead you to believe he was J. Edgar Hoover. After the FBI, he decides its a good idea to take National Security matters into his own hands, after all, he is CLEARLY smarter than the military and the FBI. He becomes a terrorist fan boy and begins chatting it up with terror leaders via Twitter to no identifiable ends. In summary, you get twelve hours of Clint Watts’ shameless self promotion, as he goes on tirades about how smart and cool he is for Tweeting with terrorists in between his politically charged rants in which he compares Conservatives

to ISIS. In closing, this book is total rubbish. You are way better off reading “LikeWar” by P.W. Singer.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Ruined by self-righteousness, political biases

Some fun anecdotes of Watts's juvenile pranks and counterterrorism forays in the early chapters were overshadowed by what amounted to be musings and generalizations of a pseudo-intellectual who claims to be a moderate, yet describes all Trump supporters as either low-income people who were duped, or blatant racists and bigots. He also uses excessive hyperbole, e.g., he said that he actually became sick to his stomachache when Trump joked about how if Russia were responsible for the leaks of the Clinton campaign emails in 2016, then the press would probably reward them for leaking the remaining 30,000. Worst of all, this alleged scholar cites one-sided Buzzfeed articles several times, and even compares modern Republicans to Al Qaeda.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A book telling us things that are uncomfortable...

This is a great book, filled with tons of information that is not exactly what we want to hear but rather should hear.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful