The current - and uncharacteristically public - challenge facing the CIA threatens to reveal the darkest violence the spy agency is tasked with. The Senate Intelligence committee is demanding the declassification of an internal CIA report critical of the agency's interrogation (read: torture) techniques post-9/11. That episode in the agency's history is further evidence that its espionage services run parallel to direct paramilitary actions.
As national security reporter Mark Mazzetti writes in "The Way of the Knife" (now out in paperback), the U.S. is fighting a shadow war with what once was a Cold War enterprise. Mazzetti reports that the CIA’s killer drones, private assassins and proxy armies are a lower-cost, lower-risk alternative to the Defense Department’s drawn-out wars and occupations.
Why has the CIA taken over Pentagon territory? How has it been effective and where has it failed? What direction has the new director, John Brennan, taken? How much more is there to learn about "enhanced interrogation" techniques that we don’t know already? Should the CIA revert to its original mission?
Mark Mazzetti, Author, “The Way of the Knife: the CIA, a Secret Army, and a War at the Ends of the Earth” – now out in paperback from Penguin; Pulitzer-Prize winning, national security reporter for The New York Times; Previously for the Los Angeles Times.