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See No Evil: The True Story of a Ground Soldier in the CIA's War on Terrorism

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

See No Evil

Embarrassingly, perhaps, I knew very little about terrorism when the attacks of 9/11 happened. Maybe I was in line with most Americans in that, terrorism was not exactly the top thing on their minds. But suddenly the news were filled with names and titles that had my he...
Embarrassingly, perhaps, I knew very little about terrorism when the attacks of 9/11 happened. Maybe I was in line with most Americans in that, terrorism was not exactly the top thing on their minds. But suddenly the news were filled with names and titles that had my head spinning. And along with that came all sorts of allegations and commentary regarding the failures of the CIA in the events that led up to this catastrophe.

After watching the movie Syriana, which is essentially a film about the oil industry and the politics involved, I grew interested in this book, simply because it clearly dealt with problems regarding the agency.

Not by any means meant to be an unbiased account, See No Evil is a former agent¿s account about the events that made, in his opinion a mockery of the agency he once loved to work for. Doing his best to present the facts, the author does so without every trying to hide the fact that all of this is coming from his own point of view and his own experiences in the field. What he relates is an interesting account of numerous events that clearly show the disintegration of the CIA into the troubled organization it now is.

Broken up roughly into four parts, Mr. Baer tells his story in specific categories. The first is mostly autobiographical, an explanation of his background, his childhood and his training. The second part of the book relates his stories as a field agent, brand new to the job. The third focuses on the terrorism side while the fourth focuses on the oil companies, two concepts that seemingly often go hand in hand. All of this is tied together with bookend narrations of his own problems within the Agency.

This book reads well, with plenty of details and decent narrative, but it assumes that you have some background knowledge of the themes it deals with. In general, I would say that anybody that listens to the news will not be entirely lost here, but there are a number of times where a little wikipedia did not hurt. Unfortunately, the book was not entirely as in-depth as I would have wanted it to be and while it works as a good entry into the genre, it certainly does not stand alone and needs to be balanced with either some counter arguments or a more thorough tome that will shed greater light on the subject.

posted by FocoProject on October 27, 2008

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Most Helpful Critical Review

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

Why U.S. Intelligence Missed the Build-Up to 9-11

Author Robert Baer made a career in CIA operations from 1976 to 1997. His memoirs, SEE NO EVIL, went into print weeks after the 9/11/2001 terror attacks by air against Manhattan's Twin Towers and the Pentagon. Baer blames their success largely on the deteriorat...
Author Robert Baer made a career in CIA operations from 1976 to 1997. His memoirs, SEE NO EVIL, went into print weeks after the 9/11/2001 terror attacks by air against Manhattan's Twin Towers and the Pentagon. Baer blames their success largely on the deterioration in American government intelligence gathering which he had observed and protested. *** SEE NO EVIL highlights Robert Baer at work in CIA headquarters in Virginia, training and learning languages (especially Arabic) and spying abroad in India, Lebanon, Cyprus, Tajikistan and Iraq. The book's cover says that SEE NO EVIL is 'the true story that suggested the major motion picture 'Syriana.' *** Like Syriana the film, SEE NO EVIL draws attention to the power of American petroleum multinationals. Baer asserts that more than one oil giant, such as AMOCO and EXXON, have their own advocates at work in sensitive positions within the U.S. Government. It is not just Congress that has a revolving door of people leaving for well paid jobs in the private sector. So does the CIA, asserts Baer. He gives the example of Ed Pechous, who made a meteoric career in the Agency then the next day joined petroleum barracuda Roger Tamraz as an employee, having just had official responsibility for liaison with Tamraz while heading the CIA office in Manhattan. *** The book is a good review of the successful end of the cold war and the repeated American ball dropping that occurred in the early phases of international Islamo- terrorism. Familiar names pop up: Ahmad Chalabi, now in the government of Iraq, national security advisors Tony Lake and Sandy Berger and others. Baer's book adds a colorful tessera to the evolving mosaic of what went wrong with American intelligence gathering of terrorist plans and capacities. -OOO-

posted by Anonymous on February 20, 2007

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 31, 2013

    Dead Tree

    A Dead Tree Towers High Above Them In A Mossy Clearing. ((Gathering Place.

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