Recent Books: Military, Scientific, and Technological: The Way of the Knife: The CIA, a Secret Army, and a War at the Ends of the Earth/Lone Wolf Terrorism: Understanding the Growing Threat/Treasury's War: The Unleashing of a New Era of Financial Warfare

By Freedman, Lawrence D. | Foreign Affairs, September/October 2013 | Go to article overview

Recent Books: Military, Scientific, and Technological: The Way of the Knife: The CIA, a Secret Army, and a War at the Ends of the Earth/Lone Wolf Terrorism: Understanding the Growing Threat/Treasury's War: The Unleashing of a New Era of Financial Warfare


Freedman, Lawrence D., Foreign Affairs


The Way of the Knife: The CIA, a Secret Army, and a War at the Ends of the Earth BY MARK MAZZETTI. Penguin Press, 2013, 400 pp. $29.95.

Lone Wolf Terrorism: Understanding the Growing Threat BY JEFFREY D. SIMON. Prometheus Books, 2013, 335 pp. $26.00.

Treasury's War: The Unleashing of a New Era of Financial Warfare BY JUAN C. ZARATE. PublicAffairs, 2013, 336 pp. $27.99.

The word "secret" has ceased to have much meaning in the context of the cia. It seems as though every aspect of the "war on terror" has now been documented in detail, with few identities lefthidden or operations leftunrevealed. Mazzetti's fine account traces the embrace of drone-assisted targeted killing by an organization that began the century prohibited from engaging in assassination and lacking the budget to purchase expensive hardware. U.S. attempts to detain terrorists are fraught with legal problems, and attempts to deny them sanctuaries require unpopular and extensive deployments of boots on the ground, so it is no surprise that simply taking out these targets became such an attractive option for Washington. Nor is it a surprise that the cia quickly began to ease the safeguards governing the use of drones, resulting in growing unease among the public and policymakers at the processes the White House was using to choose targets and the complex effects the strikes were having on countries such as Pakistan and Yemen. 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.

One sort of terrorist not so susceptible to drones-or any other form of detection and apprehension-is the self-motivated lone wolf acting without instructions from a central command. …

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Recent Books: Military, Scientific, and Technological: The Way of the Knife: The CIA, a Secret Army, and a War at the Ends of the Earth/Lone Wolf Terrorism: Understanding the Growing Threat/Treasury's War: The Unleashing of a New Era of Financial Warfare
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