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Intelligence in Literature and Media

"The Rest of the Story"
Reflections on Readings on 9/11, Iraq WMD, and the Detention and Interrogation Program

Martin Petersen

It is now 16 years since 9/11, one of “those dates” when everyone in the United States knows where they were and what they were doing. Like most historic events, a considerable mythology has grown up around that September Tuesday and the controversies that followed. While not quite “ancient history” for much of the Intelligence Community workforce, it is still a poorly understood history.

Few will have read the 9/11 Commission Report, the Robb-Silberman Report on the IC estimate on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction (WMD), or the deeply flawed Report of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Committee Study of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Detention and Interrogation Program. Among its flaws, it also fails to adequately capture the context of the times—the difficulty of the decisions then needed, the complexity of the politics, the degree of fear around the country, and the deep sense of responsibility we, in intelligence, all carried.

I remember observing the 9/11 commission hammer out its report and turning to the director of Public Affairs and asking rhetorically, “Who will tell our story? So much of this is just off.” I thought, feared, it might 25 to 30 years or more for a more complex appreciation of events to emerge and that I would not be around to see it.

Wrong. Increasingly the memoirs of serving CIA officers are becoming part of the public record. There is now an impressive library of books and articles that should be read in conjunction with the “official record.” What follows is a discussion of readings I recommend because the material provides additional perspective and adds to the official records on 9/11, Iraq WMD, and the CIA’s detention and interrogation program.

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Posted: Oct 02, 2017 02:42 PM
Last Updated: Oct 02, 2017 02:42 PM