3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Damn you, CIA!,
This review is from: The Black Banners: Inside the Hunt for Al Qaeda (Hardcover)
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The review copy of this that I read was heavily redacted by the CIA. Now, at first, that's fun - a couple of black lines where names should be gives an air of authenticity and danger. Later on, however, it gets annoying, literally, entire chapters are 90% black line with the remainder rendered completely impenetrable.
This may seem like a petty way to approach this book, but actually, it's the whole FBI / CIA relationship in a nutshell. There are some chapters were the CIA has literally insisted that the personal pronouns are removed. You can clearly see from the context (and the size of the black bar) where words like 'I', 'He' and 'They' have been removed. It's ludicrous, and demonstrates the kind of attributes that the CIA is often associated with; paranoia, bureaucracy, and inter-agency pettiness.
I mention this because the author, Ali Soufan is a former FBI agent, and here he tells the background story of the hunt for Al Qaeda, following attacks such as that on the USS Cole in Yemen, and of course, September 11th. The overriding theme is that Soufan (and, to a certain extent, the FBI) was always in the right, particularly with regards to interrogations, whilst the CIA merely hampered efforts to protect America and bring Bin Laden to justice.
It's one man's opinion and is inevitably biased, and it would be interesting to hear a different or opposing perspective on the events. However, as much as Soufan can come across like a flawless boy scout throughout, it's difficult not to side with his point of view in the majority of situations. His approach in dealing with terror suspects always seems more constructive, and according to this book at least, seems to get better results.
If you want to delve behind the headlines and find out some of the human stories on both sides of the 'war on terror' then this is a very informative and well-told tale.