How the CIA Kept America Safe and How Barack Obama Is Inviting the Next Attack(amazon)
Marc A. Thiessen (View Bio)
Hardcover: Regnery, 2010.
White House speechwriter Marc Thiessen was locked in a secure room and given access to the most sensitive intelligence when he was tasked to write President George W. Bush’s 2006 speech explaining the CIA’s interrogation program and why Congress should authorize it. Few know more about these CIA operations than Thiessen, and in this book he documents just how effective the CIA’s interrogations were in foiling attacks on America, penetrating al-Qaeda’s high command, and providing our military with actionable intelligence. Thiessen also shows how reckless President Obama has been in shutting down the CIA’s program and releasing secret documents that have aided our enemies.
Thiessen knows more than almost anyone outside the CIA about what went on at CIA “black sites” and at the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. As chief speechwriter for President Bush, he was given unprecedented access to some of the most sensitive intelligence our government possessed on al Qaeda terrorists. He has since spent countless hours interviewing the men and women involved in the interrogations at every level—from Vice President Dick Cheney to the interrogators themselves. What he reveals is a shocking, thoroughly documented account of just how close we came to suffering follow-on 9/11 attacks, how so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques” (including waterboarding) were directly responsible for unearthing the actionable intelligence that foiled them, and the extraordinary measures the Bush administration took to stay well within the bounds of what was not only legally but morally right.
In chilling detail, Thiessen reveals how close the terrorists came to striking again, how intelligence gained from “enhanced interrogation” repeatedly stymied their plots, and how President Obama’s dismantling of this CIA program, exposing America’s secrets to the enemy, endorsing smears against our intelligence officers and putting them at risk of prosecution for defending our country is inviting disaster for America.
"Thiessen has taken these documents, as well as his own extensive interviews and research, and created for the first time a public account of a program previously hidden from public view. Prior to this, some opponents of the program could create whatever image they wanted to create to support the argument of the moment. And those who were in government at the time were near powerless to correct the record. No longer…. Thiessen lays out the facts without much varnish. Here are the techniques, here’s what was learned, here’s why it was thought lawful…. Thiessen’s instincts for the broader audience seem to be on the mark. Acceptance and even support of the interrogation regime is higher among the general populace that it is among some political elites and that support has seemed to grow as more details of the program have become public. All of this is good. These issues need to be joined and we need the wisdom of an informed public to help us. But there’s something even better about this book. In the overheated rhetoric of today’s Washington, we have lost sight of the fact that this program was carried out by real people, acting out of duty, not enthusiasm. In preparing President Bush’s September 2006 speech on the interrogation program, Thiessen got a chance to meet real CIA interrogators. These decent people told him candidly what they had done, why, how they felt about it and how they felt about the fellow human beings they interrogated…. These people deserve better than to be stalked by the ACLU’s John Adams project or to be subject to a re-investigation of their past activities. For doing what they were asked to do, these quiet professionals are bearing the nation’s burdens still today and Thiessen has given them their due." — Michael Hayden, Former CIA Director, former NSA director, and retired four-star general.