State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration
James Risen has broken story after story on the abuses of power of the Bush administration.
From warrantless wiretapping to secret financial data mining to the CIA’s rogue operations, he has shown again and again that the executive branch has dangerously overreached, repudiated checks and balances on its power, and maintained secrecy even with its allies in Congress. In no small part thanks to Risen and State of War, the “secret history” of the Bush years has now come partially into view.
In a new epilogue for the paperback edition, Risen describes the two-front war that President Bush is now fighting: at home against Congress and the Supreme Court, as his administration is increasingly reined in from its abuses; and in the Middle East, where George W. Bush’s great gamble to bring a democratic revolution is failing radically. We must learn the lessons of Risen’s history now, before it is too late.
- Paperback: 248 pages
- Publisher: Free Press (October 24, 2006)
“Domestic spying, demands for political loyalty in the name of national security, investigating a newspaper’s sources: With State of War, the Nixonian déjà vu can give a reader whiplash.”
— The Dallas Morning News
“Risen’s book is really about the secret of many things that have gone wrong in the administration of George W. Bush. The quantity, and apparent quality, of the secrets revealed in State of War distinguishes Risen’s book from its competitors. What it represents is a profound hemorrhaging of information from within the corridors of secret power in Washington…. Risen becomes the mouthpiece for a U.S. intelligence community anxious to unburden itself of the mistakes and misdeeds of the recent past. He has not one, but many ‘Deep Throats.'”
— Toronto Globe and Mail
“Illuminating and disturbing…a monumental job of reporting.”
— The New York Times
“Explosive…. James Risen may have become the new Woodward and Bernstein…. Fast paced, quite mesmerizing, colorful, and fascinating.”
— The New York Times Book Review
“Damning and dismaying…As a national security reporter for the New York Times, Risen has produced some of this era’s best journalism on the Central Intelligence Agency and the dysfunctional relationship between the White House and the U.S. spy community…. As one of the Washington press corps’ best reporters on national security issues, Risen has a record of being right…. State of War is a welcome reminder that American journalism has a higher purpose than shallow pandering to the lowest pop-cultural denominator. Somewhere, beyond celebrity, there are issues and ideas that matter. James Risen’s book is an urgent contribution to the country’s common good by a skillful and courageous reporter.”
— Los Angeles Times
About the Author
James Risen covers national security for The New York Times. He was a member of the team that won the Pulitzer Prize for explanatory reporting in 2002 for coverage of September 11 and terrorism, and he is the coauthor of Wrath of Angels and The Main Enemy: The Inside Story of the CIA’s Final Showdown with the KGB. He lives outside Washington, D.C., with his wife and three sons.
This work was released after New York Times stories on administration authorization of NSA domestic intelligence collection lacking FISA court oversight. It includes little on that subject that hasn’t already published (one chapter -`the Program’ – 21 pages). An overview of several associated topics (torture and rendition, intelligence efforts slanted to support invasion of Iraq, relations with Saudi Arabia, Iranian disinformation programs, etc) fills out the rest of the 223 page text
A main focus is the CIA: it’s lack of success in toppling Saddam mid-1990s, Tenant’s pandering to Clinton and Bush, the smothering of analysis unhelpful to predetermined political positions, and turf battles between the CIA, State Department, NSC, Department of Defense, and Office of the Vice President (regarding Afghanistan and Iraq). One is left to believe the CIA has little remaining credibility, the State Department and NSC little influence, and that Rumsfeld and Cheney rule.
Many subjects are covered in detail in other works. There are a few novel stories: CIA enlistment of Iraqi-Americans to gather evidence of WMD before the war (each reported WMD programs disbanded in the early 90s; their findings were dismissed). The destruction of Kuwaiti & Saudi bank records related to Abu Zubaydah (key al Qaeda captured in Pakistan in March 2002 and transported to Thailand). MERLIN (a Russian defector ineptly used to pass nuclear secrets to Iran — some of which might prove to be valuable); and the post-liberation democratic Afghan narco-state.