Playing to the Edge

Playing to the Edge

American Intelligence in the Age of Terror

eBook - 2016
Average Rating:
6
3
Rate this:
An unprecedented high-level master narrative of America's intelligence wars, from the only person ever to helm both CIA and NSA, at a time of heinous new threats and wrenching change
 
For General Michael Hayden, playing to the edge means playing so close to the line that you get chalk dust on your cleats. Otherwise, by playing back, you may protect yourself, but you will be less successful in protecting America. "Play to the edge" was Hayden's guiding principle when he ran the National Security Agency, and it remained so when he ran CIA.  In his view, many shortsighted and uninformed people are quick to criticize, and this book will give them much to chew on but little easy comfort; it is an unapologetic insider's look told from the perspective of the people who faced awesome responsibilities head on, in the moment.
 
How did American intelligence respond to terrorism, a major war and the most sweeping technological revolution in the last 500 years?  What was NSA before 9/11 and how did it change in its aftermath?  Why did NSA begin the controversial terrorist surveillance program that included the acquisition of domestic phone records? What else was set in motion during this period that formed the backdrop for the infamous Snowden revelations in 2013?  
 
As Director of CIA in the last three years of the Bush administration,  Hayden had to deal with the rendition, detention and interrogation program as bequeathed to him by his predecessors. He also had to ramp up the agency to support its role in the targeted killing program that began to dramatically increase in July 2008. This was a time of great crisis at CIA, and some agency veterans have credited Hayden with actually saving the agency. He himself won't go that far, but he freely acknowledges that CIA helped turn the American security establishment into the most effective killing machine in the history of armed conflict.
 
For 10 years, then, General Michael Hayden was a participant in some of the most telling events in the annals of American national security. General Hayden's goals are in writing this book are simple and unwavering: No apologies. No excuses. Just what happened. And why. As he writes, "There is a story here that deserves to be told, without varnish and without spin. My view is my view, and others will certainly have different perspectives, but this view deserves to be told to create as complete a history as possible of these turbulent times. I bear no grudges, or at least not many, but I do want this to be a straightforward and readable history for that slice of the American population who depend on and appreciate intelligence, but who do not have the time to master its many obscure characteristics."


From the Hardcover edition.
Publisher: New York : Penguin Press, 2016
ISBN: 9780698196131
0698196139
Characteristics: 1 online resource

Opinion

From the critics


Community Activity

Quotes

Add a Quote

s
SEBoiko
Jul 20, 2016

Amazing what people will do when they think they're acting on the will of God.

s
SEBoiko
Jul 20, 2016

To live outside the law, you must be honest.

s
SEBoiko
Jul 20, 2016

Intelligence usually sets the right-and left-hand boundaries of policy discussion; it defines the limits of options.

s
SEBoiko
Jul 20, 2016

... the Balkans produces more history than it can consume.

s
SEBoiko
Jul 20, 2016

Good intelligence is like a tapestry with multiple threads woven into a beautiful whole.

s
SEBoiko
Jul 20, 2016

Secrecy had a short shelf life.

Comment

Add a Comment

adcl May 10, 2017

Interesting subject matter for the modern day.

2
2004modena360
Apr 17, 2017

What with our current political climate we had seen Michael Hayden on a number of political talk shows. I liked the way he came across so I checked his book out. To be fair, I wasn't sure what to expect. It was so dry that we didn't get past the first 40 pages or so. It just wasn't working for us, maybe it will for you.

s
StarGladiator
Feb 22, 2016

[Update 1/23/2017: An excellent article in the NY Times Review of Books thoroughly debunking that CIA/Trump report, a most disturbing piece, which again makes one wonder why the CIA is still in business???]
[Update - - 3/15/16: A month or so ago, Hayden claimed that the military would probably revolt if Donald Trump were elected president, and the other day a survey of the US military revealed that they overwhelmingly favor Trump for president. Once again, as on 9/11 and before and after, Michael Hayden remains completely clueless and bereft of any information!]

[At a CIA station in Afghanistan, a supposed double agent - - a Sunni extremist whom the CIA stooges thought they could turn {???} gets through the outer security because the CIA agents refuse to follow basic security protocols, and he blows them all to kingdom come! A CIA section decides to send a geriatric, diabetic retired FBI money laundering expert to Iran, where he's immediately captured? Next, they pay his family $2 million to keep quiet, and they immediately go to the news?]
Lordy, lordy, lordy, the dude who was in charge when 9/11 went down, says we shouldn't criticize, then he was in charge when a number of other smaller incidents went down [Underwear bomber, Times Square bomber, et cetera - - think he was gone when that Boston Marathon bombing took place?] and he says we shouldn't criticize - - so just what was he doing all that time with all those billions?
During his tenure, lots of money disappeared - - but where to? ? ?
Never had an audit of the CIA - - NSA - - DIA - - Fed - - about high time, I'm sure a whole bunch of thieves would be uncovered!
I mean, just think about recent events for a moment: a Sunni food safety inspector in San Bernardino, flies to Saudi Arabia for an arranged marriage to a pharmocology graduate and Sunni extremist from Pakistan, and nobody's checking this stuff out? ? ? ? Sunni food safey inspector and Sunni pharmacology grad? And we now know that Alfreda Bukowski Silverstein - - at the CIA, was involved with everything from start to finish - - a true cluster screwup of epic proportions, yet nobody has yet been fired!
[FYI: We know from the after-action congressional reports that the NSA - - under Hayden - - did indeed follow the hijackers, along with the CIA, up to that time they boarded those five airliners that day. Best book on the events of 9/11/01 Touching History, by Lynn Spencer.]

Age

Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.

Summary

Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.

Notices

Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.

Explore Further

Recommendations

Subject Headings

  Loading...

Find it at PLYMC

  Loading...
[]
[]
To Top