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The Targeter

My Life in the CIA, Hunting Terrorists and Challenging the White House
Narrated by: Christine Lakin
Length: 10 hrs and 42 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (54 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

"A revealing and utterly engrossing account" of the world of high-stakes foreign intelligence, and her role within the campaign to stop top-tier targets inside Al-Qaida from former CIA analyst Nada Bakos. (Joby Warrick)
 

In 1999, 30-year-old Nada Bakos moved from her lifelong home in Montana to Washington, DC, to join the CIA. Quickly realizing her affinity for intelligence work, Nada was determined to rise through the ranks of the agency first as an analyst and then as a Targeting Officer, eventually finding herself on the frontline of America's War against Islamic extremists. In this role, Nada was charged with determining if Iraq had a relationship with 9/11 and Al-Qaida, and finding the mastermind behind this terrorist activity: Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Her team's analysis stood the test of time, but it was not satisfactory for some members of the Administration. 

In a tight, tension-packed narrative that takes the llistener from Langley deep into Iraq, Bakos reveals the inner workings of the Agency and the largely hidden world of intelligence gathering post 9/11. Entrenched in the world of the CIA, Bakos, along with her colleagues, focused on leading U.S. Special Operations Forces to the doorstep of one of the world's most wanted terrorists.
 

Filled with on-the-ground insights and poignant personal anecdotes, The Targeter shows us the great personal sacrifice that comes with intelligence work. This is Nada's story, but it is also an intimate chronicle of how a group of determined, ambitious men and women worked tirelessly in the heart of the CIA to ensure our nation's safety at home and abroad. 

©2019 Nada Bakos and Davin Coburn (P)2019 Little, Brown & Company

Critic Reviews

"A revealing and utterly engrossing account of the campaign to stop the terrorist mastermind behind the rise of ISIS. Former intelligence officer Nada Bakos takes the reader deep inside the CIA's secret war in Iraq with a fast-paced narrative that is at turns thrilling, funny, maddening and remarkably candid." (Joby Warrick, author of Black Flags: The Rise of ISIS, winner of the Pulitzer Prize)

"For the last decade, Nada Bakos has been a go-to source for understanding terrorist networks. Her memoir offers a gripping tale on how terrorists, and the counterterrorists who hunt them, actually operate in the real world." (Clint Watts, senior fellow at Foreign Policy Research Institute and author of Messing with the Enemy: Surviving in a Social Media World of Hackers, Terrorists, Russians, and Fake News)

"Nada Bakos takes you deep inside the tense, stressful, and driven world of the CIA's analysts as few others have. Life and death issues are on the line more than most know - but Ms. Bakos is one who does and she shows you that in the Targeter with candor, drama, integrity, and grit."(John McLaughlin, former acting director and deputy director of CIA)

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    5 out of 5 stars

A Montana girl goes to DC: inside the CIA and the fight for the truth and against extremists

I can't recommend this enough. Nada tells a personal story of service and sacrifice and fighting for facts while standing up against political agendas. Importantly, she shows the human story of those that are serving in our Intelligence Community who are our neighbors and our friends...patriots who give their all for the service of others and, all too often, at great sacrifice to themselves and their families vs some “deep state” portrayed so often in movies and by politicians with personal agendas. This is an important read in a time where false information, attacks on facts, and extremist views and ideologies are front & center across the globe. Nada and those with whom she worked, set an example as to what it means to serve and fight (both inside and outside the Intelligence Community) for the truth.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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

great info, needed work on the story

So this is a two-part review.
if you're not ready to read about the brutality of what terrorists do, where they "come from" and how they operate, and the messed up reality that is the U.S. Government, why it does what it does (facts vs. reality), etc, this is NOT the book for you.
The first review is for the political, job, world, terrorist, inner workings of the CIA:
an overload of information, some of it really upsetting, disturbing and oh, did I say upsetting? but a great briefing of what was happening. and I did mean "briefing" because it felt like I was being briefed in a conference room.
I give it a 4 star.
The second review is for the story:
it's the same problem I saw in Michelle Obama's book, an overload of information but not enough story to move it along. a reluctant hero on a journey, of sorts, who gets their ass handed to them while trying to "fight the good fight" or whatever. it felt more like a briefing than a compelling story with a main character who hooked my attention by their personality, fight, and journey of story. Facts or details do not make a story. Nor a journey. Nor do they hook the audience to your main character. Personality does. emotion does. drama does.
I give it a 2.5 star.