The Interrogator: An Education

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To his friends and neighbors, Glenn L. Carle was a wholesome, stereotypical New England Yankee, a former athlete struggling against incipient middle age, someone always with his nose in an abstruse book. But for two decades Carle broke laws, stole, and lied on a daily basis about nearly everything. “I was almost never who I said I was, or did what I claimed to be doing.” He was a CIA spy. He thrived in an environment of duplicity and ambiguity, flourishing in the gray areas of ...

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The Interrogator: An Education

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Overview

To his friends and neighbors, Glenn L. Carle was a wholesome, stereotypical New England Yankee, a former athlete struggling against incipient middle age, someone always with his nose in an abstruse book. But for two decades Carle broke laws, stole, and lied on a daily basis about nearly everything. “I was almost never who I said I was, or did what I claimed to be doing.” He was a CIA spy. He thrived in an environment of duplicity and ambiguity, flourishing in the gray areas of policy.

The Interrogator is the story of Carle’s most serious assignment, when he was “surged” to become an interrogator in the U.S. Global War on Terror to interrogate a top level detainee at one of the CIA’s notorious black sites overseas. It tells of his encounter with one of the most senior al-Qa’ida detainees the U.S. captured after 9/11, a “ghost detainee” who, the CIA believed, might hold the key to finding Osama bin Ladin.

As Carle’s interrogation sessions progressed though, he began to seriously doubt the operation. Was this man, kidnapped in the Middle East, really the senior al-Qa’ida official the CIA believed he was? Headquarters viewed Carle’s misgivings as naïve troublemaking. Carle found himself isolated, progressively at odds with his institution and his orders. He struggled over how far to push the interrogation, wrestling with whether his actions constituted torture, and with what defined his real duty to his country. Then, in a dramatic twist, headquarters spirited the detainee and Carle to the CIA’s harshest interrogation facility, a place of darkness and fear, which even CIA officers only dared mention in whispers.

A haunting tale of sadness, confusion, and determination, The Interrogator is a shocking and intimate look at the world of espionage. It leads the reader through the underworld of the Global War on Terror, asking us to consider the professional and personal challenges faced by an intelligence officer during a time of war, and the unimaginable ways in which war alters our institutions and American society.

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  • The Interrogator: An Education
    The Interrogator: An Education  

Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

Until he retired in 2007, Glenn L. Carle served as a member of the CIA's Clandestine Service for twenty-three years. By the time he left, he was the Deputy National Intelligence Officer for Transnational Threats. Despite the promotions, all was not rosy in Carle's career. In The Interrogator, he tells the story of his most troubling assignment, the harsh grilling of a man who his superiors imagined to be a top al-Qaeda operative. Carle's doubts about those claims and the interrogation methods used resulted in a dramatic change in his own life. This narrative gains new potency in the aftermath of the execution of Osama bin Laden and what we now know about its causes.

From the Publisher

Charles McCarry
“This haunted, powerful book may well be the best and most truthful firsthand account of life inside the CIA ever published."

Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame Wilson
“Glenn Carle's book The Interrogator is a disturbing tale of the extremes to which the Bush administration was prepared to go in its Global War on Terror. Faceless bureaucrats sacrificed the core values that made the United States a great country, while ignoring the counsel of experts on the ground. This is a damning story and a nation of laws would demand an investigation into whether crimes were committed. We fear that we are no longer that nation…”

Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell
“In The Interrogator, Glenn Carle has done more than simply lift a part of the curtain behind which are lurking despicable men such as John Yoo and Douglas Feith, he has turned the stage lights on those who stand out front and continue to receive rave reviews from the rabid right wing, men such as Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld. But most of all, Carle’s moving and emotional story—in spite of CIA redactions to the text—has exposed us all, from the CIA officers who turned a blind eye, to the cabinet members who should have known better, to the American people themselves because they allowed such people to corrupt our nation. I know; I was one of them.”

John H. Hedley, former Chairman of CIA’s Publications Review Board
“Glenn Carle shares his personal experience and soul-searching reflection on rendition, detention, and interrogation in the Global War on Terrorism. It is a cathartic effort that recounts an intensely emotional journey. Carle weighs what he sees as the corrosive effect of this experience on him, his Agency, and his country. Ultimately the detainee interrogated may not have suffered most; perhaps it was the interrogator himself.”

Peter Bergen, author of The Longest War: The Enduring Conflict between America and al-Qaeda
“Glenn Carle writes with great verve and lyricism about a decidedly unlyrical moment in the history of the U.S. intelligence community; the decision after 9/11 to take the gloves off when it cane to the detention and interrogation of al Qaeda suspects. As Carle witnesses, the U.S. government’s assumptions about how important those suspects were was sometimes way off base, while their treatment at the hands of American officials often did not measure up to the high ethical standards the United States wishes to uphold as a country. Carle tells the story from inside the CIA’s “war on terror” and he does it with great honesty and realism; he has the eye of the novelist and the analytical skills of the senior CIA officer he was. That makes “The Interrogator” an engrossing read, and also an important book.”

David Ignatius, columnist for The Washington Post and author of Body of Lies
Glenn Carle’s "The Interrogator" is a remarkable memoir--for its searing personal honesty, for its portrait of the amoral secret bureaucracy of the CIA, and most of all for its revelation of how a decent American became part of a process that we can only call torture."

Gilles Kepel, Professor, Institute of Political Studies, Paris, author of Beyond Terror and Martyrdom: The Future of the Middle East
"This fascinating insider narrative of GWOT is one of the best assessments I have ever read on the major discrepancy between the jihadi challenge and the US response."

Library Journal
In was late summer 2002 when Carle was offered a career-changing assignment—the type a CIA officer spends his or her career yearning for. He was asked to participate in the interrogation of a detainee called CAPTUS who was considered a High Value Target (HVT) connected with al-Qaeda. As Carle builds an odd relationship with CAPTUS, it becomes clearer to him that CAPTUS is not the HVT the U.S. government believed. Despite his misgivings, outlined in cables to superiors, Carle had to intensify his interrogations. Carle spends much of the book soul-searching, weighing his belief in duty to his country against his moral obligations to another human. VERDICT Despite considerable CIA redactions of this text, readers will find a frightening picture of what has been taking place behind the scenes in the so-called war on terror, including incompetence, secrecy, and corruption. A well-written and highly engaging story.—Patti C. McCall, Pratt Inst. Lib., Brooklyn, NY
Kirkus Reviews

From a 27-year CIA veteran, a thoroughly documented insider's view of illegal activities undertaken on the "dark side" of the global war on terror.

As an experienced CIA spy, Carle came to the conclusion that there was a major disconnect between the White House's Global war on terror and the reality he experienced. In the aftermath of 9/11, he was assigned to interrogate a suspected top al-Qaeda terrorist. He details the battles which followed, at least as much as possible under the conditions of CIA censorship—black boxes in the text indicate the work of Agency redactors. At the beginning, Carle was asked what he would do if he was required to violate not only the letter of the law, but also his own standards of honor and duty. Previously acquired interrogation skills led to him to the conclusion that his prisoner was not the man his captors believed him to be. He was neither a leader of al-Qaeda nor someone who possessed useful information about terrorism. Nonetheless, Carle's conclusions were of no effect against the process that was underway. This was only one incident that the author considers indicative of a pattern of the CIA and the White House ignoring evidence that conflicted with the official policy narrative. By the end of the assignment, Carle was questioning how the United States had been reduced to such utter lawlessness. He believes there are still remedial steps that need to be taken to address what he calls a self-created problem of narrow perspective, hyped threats and deluded perceptions. Among them, he advocates the formation of a "Truth and Reconciliation Commission," similar to the one legislated into existence by the South African parliament after the end of apartheid.

Firsthand knowledge of what many have already suspected about the American intelligence community's methods.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781568586731
  • Publisher: Nation Books
  • Publication date: 6/28/2011
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Glenn l. Carle was a member of the CIA’s Clandestine Service for twenty-three years and retired in March 2007 as deputy national intelligence officer for transnational threats. He lives in Washington, DC.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 14, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Interesting

    Understanding the reasoning for it, the redacted and censored portions of the book get a bit annoying at times. Other than than, an intersting read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 23, 2011

    AN INSIDE LOOK INTO THE PROBLEMS FACED BY A ONCE GREAT SUPERPOWER

    Highly recommended, well written and just very interesting. The author brings you into his world as a career 'spook' and how things can radically get out of control when an administration uses subversive tatics to make it's own laws as it seeks to destroy it's perceived monsters. We are continually mislead by our media which leaves us half truths, unable to be properly informed and therefore unable to make informed decisions in our lives. The only thing we are allowed to be is afraid. Who we should fear is answered in this book.

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  • Posted September 29, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Poor author

    Very redundant read this author is so afraid of the CIA censors he doesnt tell a story dont waste your money there are many other great books on CIA operatives that are much better written. I would not even givi it one star.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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