Spies, Lies and the War on Terror by Paul Todd, Jonathan Bloch and Patrick Fitzgerald

“…the War on Terror grew out of the failures and failings of intelligence and has in turn profoundly shaped and redefined the meaning of intelligence.  Today intelligence is more than ever a coin with two sides: a tool for gaining knowledge and a tool for the exercise of government power.  Government now comes into areas of our lives once thought private: who we talk to, what we think, where we meet.  Calls are monitored, travel is circumscribed, and torture is once again becoming routinized.  All this is done in the name of security in the War on Terror.  Perhaps more ominously, where the evidence that such tactics produce isn’t available, but is deemed necessary to achieve political ends in the War on Terror, it is assembled from hearsay, speculation and selective presentation.  Governments accrue power to themselves by doing this, demanding that societies put faith in them in the face of risks too great to be discussed or even imagined.  Yet, at the same time, the inevitable doubt and mistrust this creates serves to undermine government power.  The new reliance on intelligence in the face of this, and the resultant casualties of free speech and thought, are far greater and may have more lasting and damaging implications.  Our spies and their lies may in the end completely undermine the kind of freedom that the War on Terror ostensibly seeks to defend and expand.”

It may sound like hyperbole but if it does, I would highly recommend you read this book.

This is a case where the CIA is involved, yes, and rendition/black sites do deserve our denunciation.  The real problems lay in policy laundering through the front of the executive office by neocon politicians, military leadership, the Department of Defense-Pentagon, and the EU.  The benefit to Kryptos or CIA fans lays not so much in the book’s slight mention of Agency activities at this time but in the global/military/policy/intelligence history from 1980 to and during the War on Terror.  Written by authors and journalists, it is missing the polemic of 1970’s activism but is stronger as a result.

I will say it’s hard to read.  That is due to content and not a criticism of the authors.

Should you read this?  Yes.  Will it help you solve Kryptos?  Probably not, most of the narrative happens after the 1990 instillation.  I would say it is definitely important to understand the implications of the first 30-40 years of CIA history and how they have translated into the current events of the modern world.

Good luck to the future