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Intel Wars: The Secret History of the Fight Against Terror

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | Intel Wars: The Secret History of the Fight Against Terror.pdf | Language: ENGLISH
    Matthew M. Aid(Author)

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The shock of the 9/11 attacks sent the American intelligence community into hyperactive growth. Five hundred billion dollars of spending in the Bush-Cheney years turned the U.S. spy network into a monster: 200,000-plus employees, stations in 170 countries, and an annual budget of more than $75 billion. Armed with cutting-edge surveillance gear, high-tech weapons, and fleets of armed and unarmed drone aircraft, America deploys the most advanced intel force in history.
But even after the celebrated strike against Osama Bin Laden, America's spies are still struggling to beat a host of ragtag enemies around the world.

In Intel Wars, preeminent secrecy and intelligence historian Matthew Aid ("our reigning expert on the NSA"-Seymour M. Hersh) delivers the inside stories of how and why our shadow war against extremism has floundered. Spendthrift, schizophrenic policies leave next-generation spy networks drowning in raw data, resource-starved, and choked on paperwork. Overlapping jurisdictions stall CIA operatives, who wait seventy-two hours for clearance to attack fast-moving Taliban IE D teams. U.S. military computers-their classified hard drives still in place-turn up for sale at Afghan bazaars. Swift, tightly focused operations like the Bin Laden strike are the exception rather than the rule.

Intel Wars-based on extensive, on-the-ground interviews, and revelations from Wikileaks cables and other newly declassified documents-shows how our soldier-spies are still fighting to catch up with the enemy. Matthew Aid captures the lumbering behemoth that is the U.S. military-intelligence complex in one comprehensive narrative, and distills the unprecedented challenges to our security into a compelling- and sobering-read.

In reaction to the attacks of 9/11, the U.S. engaged in a massive expansion of intelligence-gathering organs. Supposedly, we also increased the sharing of information between the various agencies to avoid the failing to connect the dots. But has this huge increase in manpower and money resulted in any improvement in the collection and use of raw intelligence information? Not significantly, according to Aid, a regular commentator on intelligence for various newspapers, radio, and television. He begins with a brief but riveting account of the operation to take out Osama Bin Laden, in which he reveals the vital role played by Pakistani operatives working for the CIA. But from this apparent triumph, he moves to a dreary and familiar picture of bureaucratic rivalry and bungling. He places particular blame on the Bush administration and its inability to sift through the deluge of data provided to develop a coherent policy to fight jihadist terrorists on various fronts but especially in Afghanistan. This work may be unduly negative, but it certainly merits serious consideration by those concerned with our security at home and abroad. --Jay Freeman “Every chapter in the book is braided with intelligence nuggets. Aid weaves together original reporting, volumes of unclassified documents and his expertise. The book's chapters on Afghanistan and Pakistan are particularly engrossing…. Aid has written a highly entertaining and interesting book that provides a full-color, detailed snapshot of how the Obama administration is using intelligence to battle terrorism and that hints about how that battle is likely to be waged in the future.” ―Dina Temple-Raston, The Washington Post“Aid's book is full of … revelatory anecdotes. It's one thing to say that the ISI has helped America's enemies; it's another thing to show precisely how.” ―Ken Dilanian, Los Angeles Times“If the devil is in the details, then Matthew M. Aid, author of Intel Wars: The Secret History of the Fight Against Terrorism, has written a devilish book indeed … a highly researched look inside the decade's most important intelligence efforts, and while sobering at best, it's not always bad news. You just have to look harder for the good news.” ―Suzanne Kelly, CNN.com“Intel Wars teems with useful statistics and interesting anecdotes.” ―Harry Levins, St. Louis Post-Dispatch“Aid's wide-ranging and timely assessment of the current state of U.S. intelligence should appeal to anyone interested in U.S. defense policy.” ―Publishers Weekly“An expert update on American security that turns up more problems than solutions.” ―Kirkus“Merits serious consideration by those concerned with our security at home and abroad.” ―Booklist

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Book details

  • PDF | 272 pages
  • Matthew M. Aid(Author)
  • Bloomsbury Press; 1 edition (January 10, 2012)
  • English
  • 9
  • Politics & Social Sciences

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Review Text

  • By Jeffrey Swystun on April 17, 2012

    "Is the US intelligence community finally working as it should ten years after 9/11?" This is the premise of Intel Wars and the answer is a firm "no" once you slice through the propaganda. The sixteen competing agencies and ridiculous bureaucracies in 2001 have received tons of funding and grown in size, yet remain questionable in coordination and performance. The author clearly demonstrates that, like Vietnam, there is a disconnect between the intelligence community and the White House/Pentagon in over-emphasizing the positive in Iraq and Afghanistan.Analogous to the corporate world, the tendency in intelligence is to collect reams of data that will never be properly processed for actionable intelligence. Also large organizations tend to reward the unimaginative when mavericks and eccentrics are needed to see what is different and what can be or is (think O.S.S.). It is about creating a culture where people can be both creative and pragmatic. The U.S. intelligence community communicates at the same time an overwhelming capability and a hapless bureaucracy. Sadly, the intelligence "grunts" will never get the respect and recognition for the pressures and strains of their jobs as they toil in organizations that frustrate them for their lack of decisiveness and action.

  • By Ghost71 on July 15, 2012

    Intel Wars, by Matthew Aid, is a solid read that is tightly focused and well edited(Although phrases like "according to an unnamed source" get tiresome to read after a while). Not a lot of flare or fluff just straight forward analysis that covers mostly the years after 9/11 and more so from 2007/08 onward. Informative and for the most part fair in it's criticism. It paints a mixed picture of a sprawling US intelligence community pointing out persistent flaws and shortcomings as well as indicating as much as possible recent succeses and what's working in a post 9/11 era.A few things should be pointed out though. The books copyright is in 2012 but it went to press mid-late 2011 so recent very important events, especially in North Korea and Syria are notably absent. Additionally in July 2012 the Taliban publicly admits ""At least 70% of the Taliban are angry at al Qaeda. Our people consider al Qaeda to be a plague that was sent down to us by the heavens.......To tell the truth, I was relieved at the death of Osama bin Laden. Through his policies, he destroyed Afghanistan. If he really believed in jihad, he should have gone to Saudi Arabia and done jihad there, rather than wrecking our country."" and they also state that they can't win the war in Afghanistan.Secondly, despite much criticism in the book being directed toward the Bush administration and Rumsfeld, Aid takes a last second jab at Obama on page 225 in the acknowledgements section, "....the Obama administration, despite promising the American public a new era of transparency in government, has authorized the Justice Department to file criminal indictments against a number of current or former government officials alleged to have leaked classified information to the press.......in this oppressive atmosphere, it seems prudent not to identify the sources who provided information for this book..." I'm not an Obama supporter but I hardly consider it oppressive for a President to want to reign in classified information when peoples lives are at stake. To be honest this book and many others like it should NOT be published at all, and are probably getting people killed in addition to hurting Americas chances of effectively fighting an Intel War. Publishing Intel is not free speech. TMI TMI TMI.Thirdly, and probably most frightening for average citizens, is the section on domestic terrorism and how the intelligence community is still floating about on the issue. The fact that Al Qaeda will soon be a footnote in many an unread political science textbooks ten years from now is a testament to the successful efforts on the part of both the Bush and Obama administrations in staying the course and bringing the fight to their doorstep. Now as Al Qaeda dissolves and their ideology takes root within different organizations and in lone individuals it's up to the intelligence community to adjust, not panic by arresting kids with model rockets or dry ice bombs or diddling around frisking babies diapers at airports or Irish grandmothers in wheel chairs or soldiers returning home from defending their country. The primary target was and still is muslim men between the ages of 17-35. Their needs to be a direct effort and winning their hearts and minds by countering radical ideology at all levels through arab newspapers, radio, websites, DVDs, film, TV, and even flyers dropped from planes in remote areas combined with increasing economic opportunities in their homelands. Moderate muslim ideology must also be put in the spotlight and given a dominant voice. Otherwise the president will have to make radical choices like immediately deputizing all law enforcement officials to legally conceal and carry and use whatever means necessary to stop lone muslim gunman or using supercomputers to do "Minority Report" type preemptive arrests of citizens based on data analysis.Lastly, the term "Data Crush" is used by the intel community to explain the frustration at the overload of information that is pouring in that nobody has time to sift through. Has anybody heard of the word 'Algorithm' before? It's not new science and it's how human beings process information everyday. Otherwise we would all be experiencing 'Data Crush'. The human eye is a good example, the periphery is blurred but the brain alerts to movement leaving more processing power for whats in focus. The intel community is trying to focus on everything all at once, they need to create an "eye" that is governed according specific rules, something like a search engine. Throw all the intel into one big pile like a huge encyclopedia set under very broad categories and then create search tools to query, harvest and analyse it. It would be money and manpower well spent.

  • By Maggot on January 9, 2014

    I am not a member of the intelligence community so I cannot verify 97% of what is written here, but I was quite knowledgable about 3% and in my opinion, it was very accurate. This looks at the politics as well and it was not a reassuring read. I was amazed he was able to get so many "sources" to speak to him. In view of the comments coming out in the Press reference the pending book by former Secretary of Defense Gates.....this book seems even more accurate. I finished the book with a somewhat frustrated feeling about the dysfunction of our bureaucracy, and government (President and Congress).

  • By puigfox on June 16, 2013

    Maybe I am the wrong guy but I was a foreign correspondent and photographer in Vietnam..from early days (1960 ) when we were only 6 in Saigon so during all the years over there,like some colleagues . I was very much in touch with intel people. We could hear and feel their frustration.Dealing with Washington, it was just as described in this book . The reports from the field MUST FIT the policy. The truth is not acceptable if contrary to what Washington wants it to be.This book describes in detail that nothing has changed . It is sad because some good people die.The book will be an eye opener if you were not aware.

  • By Rod on September 29, 2013

    It's hard for me to review this book because I have read so many on the "war on terror". If this is your first or second book it's probably worthwhile because it is more comprehensive. If you're like me, and you are looking for depth and insight and have read several, its just more of the same. That's because, in my opinion, no author, CIA or other "expert" fully understands the problem.

  • By James Lennon on May 12, 2013

    Fine as far as it goes, but I would have much preferred more analysis. There are a numerous highly specialized agencies but whoe could the organizational structure of the American Intelligence Community be improved?! Is the leadership and management of the community correct? Can legislation be improved? If so, how?

  • By eddo on February 21, 2014

    jaw dropping i recommend this book to any one that is interested into this stuff i mean wow its a must if your into stuff like intel and spies


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