General Books and Articles

M - Z

Mazzetti, Mark. The Way of the Knife: The CIA, a Secret Army, and a War at the Ends of the Earth. New York: Penguin, 2013.

Bergen, Washington Post, 5 Apr. 2013, finds that, in this "deeply reported and crisply written account," the author "documents the militarization of the CIA and the stepped-up intelligence focus of Special Operations forces." While recounting "the important shifts in the architecture of the U.S. military and intelligence communities," this work "also reveals the many eccentric characters who emerged during this era of shifting portfolios and illustrates another important theme of the book: the privatization of intelligence operations, which were traditionally a core government function."

For Orzetti, Proceedings 139.12 (Dec. 2013), the author provides "a thoroughly researched and thought-provoking portrait of ... the most consequential shift of the American national security complex since the Cold War." Freedman, FA 92.5 (Sep.-Oct. 2013), "Mazzetti describes in compelling detail the agency's turf battles with the Pentagon, its awkward relations with its Pakistani counterpart, and its reliance on a motley collection of freelancers and private contractors." Willing, Studies 57.3 (Sep. 2013), comments that while the book "is not a negative screed,... it does little to acknowledge the CIA's successes or to offer historical context."

Seeger, Studies 57.4 (Dec. 2013), says the author's "writing style is clear and concise, and his access to senior officials in the US government is obvious." However, he "selects his research material ... in large part to support" a biased viewpoint. "[F]or anyone outside the IC, the book simply reads like a list of failures in Washington and in the field.... [T]his litany of failures tends to obscure other stories -- discussed but covered less thoroughly in The Way of the Knife -- that underscore that fact that good leaders can cooperate to resolve bureaucratic conflict. These stories do not receive equal treatment within Mazzetti's discussion of failures and bureaucratic conflict."

Miniter, Richard. Mastermind: The Many Faces of the 9/11 Architect, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed. New York: Sentinel, 2011.

For Freedman, FA 90.5 (Sep.-Oct. 2011), although the author's "research is meticulous,... the portrait of Mohammed remains shallow."

Mobley, Blake W. Terrorism and Counterintelligence: How Terrorist Groups Evade Detection. New York: Columbia University Press, 2012.

Shelton, IJI&C 26.4 (Winter 2013-2014), sees this as "an important guide on how to disrupt terrorist groups by exploiting the weaknesses of their counterintelligence and security practices." However, the reviewer cautions that "success depends on procuring and acting on accurate and reliable information about terrorist operations."

Mudd, Philip. Takedown: Inside the Hunt for Al Qaeda. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013.

Peake, Studies 57.4 (Dec. 2013), says the author provides "an absorbing account, from a senior analyst's point of view, of the CIA and its efforts to combat al-Qaeda and conduct the war on terror." Mudd also "served for several years as the deputy director" of the FBI's National Security Branch.

Orsini, Alessandro. Tr., Sarah J. Nodes. Anatomy of the Red Brigades: The Religious Mind-set of Modern Terrorists. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2011.

Freedman, FA 90.5 (Sep.-Oct. 2011), finds that the author of this "remarkable book" stresses "the importance of ideology in legitimating terrorism." However, the book "can be hard going at times, with dollops of pedantic sociology."

Peritz, Aki, and Eric Rosenbach. Find, Fix, Finish: Inside the Counterterrorism Campaigns That Killed Bin Laden and Devastated al Qaeda. New York: Public Affairs, 2012.

According to Daniels, Proceedings 139.1 (Jan. 2013), the authors argue that the "decade-long transition from a Cold War focus on nations and conventional military power to the current emphasis on individuals and small terrorist cells has been one of the most radical and underappreciated transformations in U.S. military history." This work "provides a useful broad history of the first decade of efforts against global terrorism." Peake, Studies 57.1 (Mar. 2013), and Intelligencer 20.1 (Spring/Summer 2013), finds that this work "is documented by well-known, mostly secondary sources, so there is little new in it. Still, the insights and context the authors provide make this a thoughtful, worthwhile contribution."

Rudner, Martin. "Intelligence-Led Air Transport Security: Pre-Screening for Watch-Lists, No-Fly Lists to Forestall Terrorist Threats." International Journal of Intelligence and CounterIntelligence 28, no. 1 (Spring 2015): 38-63.

Sanchez, Sergio E. "Spider Web: Al-Qaeda's Link to the Intelligence Agencies of the Major Powers." International Journal of Intelligence and CounterIntelligence 28, no. 3 (Fall 2015): 429-448.

The author examines "three clear instances where intelligence" tactics, techniques, and procedures "were indirectly disseminated to al-Qaeda by the major powers": (1) Iran, Hezbollah, and al-Qaeda; (2) Pakistan, Afghanistan, and al-Qaeda; and (3) Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood, and al-Qaeda.

Schmitt, Eric, and Thom Shanker. Counterstrike: The Untold Story of Americas Secret Campaign Against Al-Qaeda. New York: Times Books, 2011.

According to Leebaert, Washington Post, 9 Sep. 2011, the book "offers solid reporting of the wins and losses in a 10-year campaign. But it falls short on its promise to illuminate some creative U.S. strategies. In their analysis of the calculus of deterrence, Schmitt and Shanker neglect to assess the costs to one's own side." Peake, Studies 56.1 (Mar. 2012) and Intelligencer 19.2 (Summer-Fall 2012), comments that this is "an important book that puts the current terrorism threat in a real-world perspective." For Thomas, Military Review (Jul.-Aug. 2012), this book "reminds policymakers of the complexity of dealing with a nonstate enemy who picks battles on his terms."

Shane, Scott. "Election Spurred a Move to Codify U.S. Drone Policy." New York Times, 24 Nov. 2012. [http://www.nytimes.com]

"The attempt to write a formal rule book for targeted killing began last summer after news reports on the drone program, started under President George W. Bush and expanded by Mr. Obama, revealed some details of the president's role in the shifting procedures for compiling 'kill lists' and approving strikes. Though national security officials insist that the process is meticulous and lawful, the president and top aides believe it should be institutionalized."

Soufan, Ali, with Daniel Freedman. The Black Banners: The Inside Story of 9/11 and the War Against al-Qaeda. New York: Norton, 2011.

Peake, Studies 56.1 (Mar. 2012) and Intelligencer 19.2 (Summer-Fall 2012), notes that the author joined the FBI "in 1997 and left sometime after 2005. In between, he participated in several major investigations, including of the attack on the USS Cole in Yemen. But his primary role was as an interrogator.... If Soufan is sending a message beyond the difficulties encountered by FBI agents in dealing with terrorists and the fanatical zeal driving al Qaeda followers, it is that enhanced interrogation will not extract intelligence from detainees. This is a valuable book worth close attention."

U.S. Department of State. Patterns of Global Terrorism, [year (to 2003)]. Washington, DC: yearly.

Replaced by Country Reports on Terrorism in 2004. Both are available at: http://www.state.gov/j/ct/rls/crt/.

Watkins, Ali. "Obama's Secret Elite Interrogation Squad May Not Be So Elite -- And Might Be Doomed." Huffington Post, 18 Aug. 2015. [http://www.huffingtonpost.com/]

Since its creation in August 2009, President Obama's High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group (HIG) has "often gets the first jab at America's most-wanted terror suspects." However, "Obama's limited reforms to how American detains, interrogates and prosecutes suspected terrorists are ad-hoc and fragile. His successor could scrap most of them -- the HIG included -- with the stroke of a pen."

Whitlock, Craig. "Remote U.S. Base at Core of Secret Operations." Washington Post, 25 Oct. 2012. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti is "the combat hub for the Obama administration's counterterrorism wars in the Horn of Africa and the Middle East.... Over the past two years, the U.S. military has clandestinely transformed [the camp] into the busiest Predator drone base outside the Afghan war zone.... About 300 Special Operations personnel plan raids and coordinate drone flights from inside a high-security compound at Lemonnier....

"Camp Lemonnier is the centerpiece of an expanding constellation of half a dozen U.S. drone and surveillance bases in Africa.... The U.S. military also flies drones from small civilian airports in Ethiopia and the Seychelles, but those operations pale in comparison to what is unfolding in Djibouti. Lemonnier also has become a hub for conventional aircraft. In October 2011, the military boosted the airpower at the base by deploying a squadron of F-15E Strike Eagle fighter jets."

Wilder, Ursula M. "Counterterrorism Professionals Reflect on Their Work." Studies in Intelligence 58, no. 4 (Dec. 2014): 2-17. [https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/csi-publications/csi-studies/studies/vol-58-no-4/counterterrorism-professionals-reflect-on-their-work.html]

"This article is about the psychology of those who work to counter terrorism. It describes the complex responses to their work of people who labor across the range of counterterrorism (CT) vocations.... The 57 counterterrorism professionals interviewed for this article came from many different CT fields, in both the public and private sectors." The study identifies "general positives and negatives," and divides the counterterrorism profession into "three domains of activity: leadership and policy, field professionals, and knowledge workers/analysts."

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