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Courting Disaster: How the CIA Kept America Safe and How Barack Obama Is Inviting the Next Attack

3.97 of 5 stars 3.97  ·  rating details  ·  120 ratings  ·  24 reviews
White House speechwriter Marc Thiessen was locked in a secure room and given access to the most sensitive intelligence when he was tasked to write President George W. Bush’s 2006 speech explaining the CIA’s interrogation program and why Congress should authorize it. Few know more about these CIA operations than Thiessen, and in his new book, Courting Disaster, he documents ...more
Hardcover, 376 pages
Published January 18th 2010 by Regnery Publishing (first published December 29th 2009)
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As my father handed me this book to read he told me, “It will make you mad.” He was right.

Thiessen starts out with the following: “You should not be reading this book. I should not have been able to write it.” Powerful words from a man with 15 years in national security, and one who served in the White House as a Senior Staff speechwriter (thus being privy to top secret classified information) for George W. Bush. Many of my suspicions were confirmed in these 300 pages; and many shocking (unknown
Chances are you probably only think you know about what enhanced interrogations were, how often they were used, what they yielded, and how they saved lives. If you want the truth, if you care about the truth, read the book. Documents which should never have been declassified are abundantly cited and Thiessen shows how utterly distorted the public discourse has been due to lack of, or false, information.
This is a really fascinating, thoroughly researched book that basically tracks the history of human intelligence gathering (HUMINT) since 9/11, what it has meant, the public debate over it, and how accurate (or not) it has been, and what it means.

While Thiessen is hardly an unbiased observer, he wrote speeches for Bush and Rumsfeld, he's one of the most knowledgeable people on the topic, having researched it extensively in order to write high-profile speeches on it and then researched it a lot
The men and women of the CIA risk their lives everyday to gather intelligence from some of the most dangerous individuals on the planet. Marc Thiesen does an excellent job describing how careful the CIA interrogatories questioned the terrorist detainees. While the left was crying "torture," and many such as myself would be quite happy to provide the terrorists only with food and water, Mr. Thiesen shows the actual truth. In reality, detainees are questioned by experienced, well-trained staff by ...more
Brian Besaw
OK, I generally try to avoid current news books as they tend to be shallow and a reiteration and piling on over what you hear each night on the various networks.

Not so here. The author is highly knowledgeable on the subject and goes into great detail.

Thiessen is the man who wrote GWB's speech revealing the CIA's enhanced interrogation program. It was Obama's flurry of security undermining last year that made the publishing of Courting Disaster possible. In his foreward the author admits, "You sh
Bojan Tunguz
It has been said so many times before that it's become a cliché: the events of September 11 2001 changed everything. What is usually meant by "everything" refers to the way the US and its allies treat terrorists and conduct operations to thwart and punish those who aim to hurt and civilian targets around the World. In the eyes of many, including the Bush administration, the previous paradigm of conducting these operations using the essentially law enforcement tools was completely discredited. A ...more
This book puts a new spin on waterboarding. The media has presented the USA's version of waterboarding in a dishonest way. That being said, the Bush Administration and its officials (the author of this book) want to be taken at their word. That is not going to work with the majority of the public due to the various issues during the administration. They played all their "trust us" cards during the first few years... Their credibility is not good enough for this book to sway opinions. If you thin ...more
It took me forever to finish this book, but only because I was teaching a class for the first time. I see I started this book on Sept 3rd; my class started on Sept 8th. My class ended on Dec 13 and I finished the book on Jan 17th. Every time I took the book to bed, I ended up falling asleep. This book is a little tedious, but I think it offered the pro-enhanced interrogation side very well. Most important to the book is the appendices, which back up Thiessen's case very well. Whether you are for ...more
Jeff Aldrich
An eye opening read that left me shaking with anger at decisions taken by the Obama administration that are reducing the security of America and punishing those who worked hard, within the legal framework, to keep us safe.

There are legitimate decisions that have to be made for global ethical standing. Marc Thiessen makes a strong case that the reasons the Obama administration tried to stand on both do not hold firm and that President Obama has chosen to reverse course with his policy of bombings
After reading this book, I have a much clearer understanding of what enhanced interrogation is, how are nation has been protected from attacks by terrorists since 9/11, and why we are in danger of current attacks. What was striking to me was how far everyone involved bent over backwards to ensure that everything they were doing was legal, was not torture, and that the safety of the person being interrogated was protected. Granted, this book is written by a former member of the Bush administratio ...more
This is a great 'what really happened' book. It chronicles in great detail the REAL CIA interrogation methods (not torture), the REAL Guantanamo Bay conditions (very good), and the REAL threat from terrorism (still high). It makes you sad to read about how those who have worked hardest to keep the country safe have been maligned. It scares you to read about how their most effective methods have been halted.
Nov 23, 2011 Lisa rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lisa by: Lynn
Slow read but interesting look at what our government classifies as torture and how some things work, or rather how they used to work, at Guantanamo. Details how terrorists are treated. Goes in depth to explain research on the subject of torture and specific studies on the treatment of detainees. 3 stars because it didn't keep my attention very long but the subject matter was very informative.
Charles Blumberg
Insider account of interrogations of Al Qaeda and specific attacks prevented as a result using declassified documents released by Obama. Makes a strong case for the need of enhanced interrogation techniques, that the ones we use are not torture, why terrorists should not be given POW rights under Geneva, and the damage done by Obama's declassification and shutdown of the CIA program.
Rushay Booysen
The events that leads up to 9/11 and the effects of the plunge.The book seems mostly to defend President Bush's policies,some of the points the author lifted left deep gashing questions which seems to make sense when i think in a patriotic sense.The events leading up to 9/11 and the cause of this tumultuous turn about is to be questioned.
I try to do my best to look at both side of each stories. Basically, Marc Thiessen shows that the mentality of the previous administration was had a "By any means necessary" mentality. I do not agree with the methods and the approach, but I appreciate the inside on the other school of thoughts.
I was mainly interested in the information about thwarted Al Qaeda attacks as a result of the CIA interrogations. Unfortunately that was covered in about the first chapter, and the remainder of the book focused on combating the arguments against CIA interrogation techniques.
Ryan Swensen
Do yourself a favor and get an accurate look at the damage the current administration is doing to our national security, the farce that is the liberal media, and how Comrade Barack and his cronies are bound and determine to destroy this nation.
Excellent read and a real insight into events.

Could have done with more of the support material pushed off into appendixes, as the main premises were well established within the first 30-40% of the read.
An important book touching on the war on "terror", the Geneva Conventions, enhanced interagation techniques and the actual facts dealing with all of the above.
Karl Rove
A tough book by a former White House colleague, it will make you very angry and maybe even very afraid.
Kristopher Vermillion
A must-read primer on how we began winning against Al Qaeda and why current policy is costing us dearly.
Amazing wht Obama is doing to our security and the CIE, terrible.
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9/11 Ten Years Later: How Barack Obama Has Made Us Less Safe A Charge Kept: The Record of the Bush Presidency, or, a Prelude to DECISION POINTS A Charge Kept: The Record of the Bush Presidency 2001 - 2009

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