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Publisher's Summary

In his explosive New York Times best seller, top CIA operative Robert Baer paints a chilling picture of how terrorism works on the inside and provides startling evidence of how Washington politics sabotaged the CIA's efforts to root out the world's deadliest terrorists, allowing for the rise of Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda and the continued entrenchment of Saddam Hussein in Iraq.

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

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
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Story

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  • Overall

Interesting perspective

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.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Knowledge is Power

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.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • DS
  • 02-03-13

A WAKE UP CALL

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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Very Well Done


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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Kenneth
  • LEESBURG, VA, United States
  • 03-16-07

The Best of Keyhole Voyeurism

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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Matthew
  • Sandusky, OH, USA
  • 08-07-06

Politics at its best

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".

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Paul
  • Madison, NJ, USA
  • 02-06-09

Required reading

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Compelling, driving and great listening

Great storytelling and a knowledgeable perspective on the decline of human intelligence systems in the CIA. How a political deviation of the CIA’s primary function led to the rise of modern terrorism and our lack of forewarning in the years and months leading up to the 9/11 tragedy. Thoroughly enjoyable and wish I’d got to this book sooner.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Great book but audible needs to fix it's chapters.

The chapters in the book do not match up with the chapters on the app and made it difficult to find your place at some points. Other than that, it's a great book.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Great book. Highly recommend it.

As an American with a middleeatern background I appreciate Robert's honosty and care in explaining the situation without boast and venum. He realistially presents the situation with a view to peace and correction, and not seeking blood and revenge.

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  • Overall
  • Peter Barton
  • 04-13-15

Good

Interesting insight into world of CIA. Easy to digest, page turner.
Clearly has a political agenda to push, but this is part of the book.

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  • Performance
  • Story
  • MR
  • 09-26-17

Disturbing and relevant

This is the story of an organisation slowly losing its way. The process is slow, but inexorable. It's a horrifying warning of what happens when those that want power for power's sake end up in command.