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State of War: The Secret History of the C.I.A. and the Bush Administration
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State of War: The Secret History of the C.I.A. and the Bush Administration

3.6 of 5 stars 3.60  ·  rating details  ·  358 ratings  ·  35 reviews
With relentless media coverage, breathtaking events, and extraordinary congressional and independent investigations, it is hard to believe that we still might not know some of the most significant facts about the presidency of George W. Bush. Yet beneath the surface events of the Bush presidency lies a secret history -- a series of hidden events that makes a mockery of cur ...more
ebook, 256 pages
Published January 5th 2006 by Free Press (first published January 1st 2006)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,082)
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Jerome
A hastily written,breezy, and somewhat opinionated analysis of the CIA's role in the Bush administration's wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but evenhanded for the most part, even though it paints the administration as naive, overly hawkish neocons. He also briefly sums up Clinton's counterterrorism policies and their failures. Very easy, snarky read. Also includes an interesting, very detailed account of Abu Zubaydah's capture. He also writes about the CIA-sponsored Iraqi paramilitary "Scorpions". ...more
James Piper
Beacause I have read so much on this topic, much of it wasn't new, but a worth a read.

One thing you'll conclude is Cheney used the CIA, manipulated the CIA to support his conviction that the US had to invade Iraq. It's this type of warped thinking I find repulsive. Data picking to support a conclusion and not the other way around.

I'm amazed that everyone seems to think it was the CIA's fault. They became the scapegoat. Where they failed was not being more politically savy.
A.J.
Reading this book some 8 years after it was published filled me with anger (again) about what was (and is) done in our country's collective name. Done without oversight; in fact, done with the deliberate intention of avoiding ANY oversight. There are no successes trumpeted by Risen and one can be certain given the egotistical and megalomaniac nature of the Bush Administration that any successes would have been "declassified" and brought forth then - or later. Instead, we remain in 2014 waiting f ...more
Tony duncan
May 09, 2009 Tony duncan rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people interested in history politics and military issues
Recommended to Tony by: dad
Shelves: audio, history, politics
An excellent even handed analysis of the CIA's role in the fight against Al Qaida, and the war in iraq. Mostly about the role in the Bush Amin. it does not spare the Clinton years.
This is just another confirmation of the lies and the manipulation that the Bush admin, especially Cheney and Rumsfeld, used to channel the CIA into a role of supporting admin policy rather than giving unvarnished intelligence.
It gives a good line of the progression from the initial policy decisions of the Administrat
...more
Ahmed Abdelhamid
الكتاب يعج بالمعلومات التي ليست قيمة في ذاتها لأنها غير مؤكدة, ولكن لقيمة "إمكانية الفعل" نفسه. أو اختلاف الآليات...
يلقي الكتاب الضوء على الجانب الإنساني في العلاقات, فمثلا إحباط عملاء المخابرات الذين تحولوا إلى "سجانين" لم يكن هذا هو ما تمنوه في حياتهم, وكذا علاقة بوش الأب بابنه... والتي لم يكن ليغفلها الكاتب, في الأخير هو والده ولو كان بوش الصيغر رئيس أكبر دولة في العالم. مشاعر الغيرة و الحقد و الوقيعة في الطبقة الحاكمة في أمريكا... كلها أشياء لا تكتب في كتب التاريخ كأحداث أو وقائع غيرت مجرى
...more
Dennis Fischman
Things you'll learn, or be reminded of and still shocked by, if you read State of War by James Risen:

CIA Director George Tenet got and kept his job by sucking up to power.

The CIA specifically avoided asking President George W. Bush for authorization to use torture, providing him with what the spy trade calls "plausible deniability."

The NSA started large-scale spying on Americans almost immediately after 9/11/2001, "The Bush administration...swept aside nearly thirty years of rules and regulat
...more
Zach
Okay. I picked this up after hearing about the related leak prosecution, not really sure what was leaked as it seems that much of what is in this book has been in other (arguably better) books on the same topic.

The author makes some interesting points, but his bias interferes with the information he is trying to present. Having a bias is fine, but this book is presented as a lengthy NYT/Wash. Post story. The author could have attempted to use this information to make a persuasive argument, inst
...more
Will Byrnes
Risen writes what he calls “a secret history of the CIA and the Bush administration, both before and after 9/11” (p 10)

P 3
The absence of effective management has been the defining characteristic of the Bush administration’s foreign policy and has allowed radical decisions to take effect rapidly with minimal review

Risen’s obvious sympathies cloud his judgment on occasion. In talking about Louis Freeh and his hostility towards Bill Clinton he takes Freeh’s self-justifying word for it that what he
...more
Chris DePoy
The Department of Justice has been cracking down on informants and has recently overturned a first amendment ruling that protected James Risen from disclosing his sources in this book, State of War. Despite these recent developments, Mr. Risen has vowed to go to jail to protect his sources, and last Saturday he said in a statement, “I remain as resolved as ever to continue fighting”. These facts had compelled me to pick up the book and read what all the controversy is about.
This book was an inte
...more
Clive Hallam
Finished this over the Christmas/New Year break. It was an unusual book for two reasons. First, while I like American literature I'm not so good with the style of American factual writing - it's a little too "informal" for a a Brit like me. Once I got through that I was intrigued and not a little taken with the fact that Risen had identified seven years previously what Edward Snowden was getting all the credit for last year! namely the insidious nature of NSA's infiltration into the everyday liv ...more
Nikki
Well-written, but limited. It only tells you slices of the mood and facts that led to the Iraq war and the policy for the subsequent "war for peace" that continues today. It focuses on the slices that turned out to erroneous (like that no WMD were ever found in Iraq)or are undermining ethical democracy today (such as prisoner-torture). The endearing part is that he tries to hard to be anti-Bush, but can't help but add some concessions now and again. He managed to phrase at least one sentences pe ...more
Kelley Maddox
Really great book but in 2014 and with the release of the torture report in December this book is really dated. However, it's fascinating how much Risen knew and reported in this book that ended up being correct. The book likely could have been written in a more summarized way. In fact, the abridged book on tape (which I used at the same time I read the book) cut out a lot of the extraneous information without loss.
Tonya
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
The American Conservative
'James Risen’s State of War has opened a Pandora’s Box for the Bush administration that no amount of howling, scowling, or bogus terrorist-attack warnings will be able to close. Risen’s revelations on pervasive National Security Agency warrantless spying on Americans shred the final pretenses to legality of the Bush administration. Now the debate is simply whether, as Bush and his supporters claim, the president is effectively above the law and the Constitution during a time of (perpetual) war.' ...more
Keith
This non-fiction book about the CIA and the Bush Administration was current affairs when it came out in 2006. Risen’s name was widely reported when he broke the story on the NSA’s warrantless surveillance of communications. The book is based entirely on anonymous sources which makes it impossible to discern the motives of the individuals leaking the information, much of it classified. How many were disgruntled employees, how many were fired, or how many left the CIA out of frustration? Neverthel ...more
Jessica
Difficult to read and follow because so many sources had to remain anonymous. Continously seeing the phrases "anonymous highly-placed source in the CIA" or "anonymous highly-placed source in the white house" or "anonymous high-level officer in the FBI" made the book clunky and more than a little tedious to read. The material was both enlightening and depressing as the 30 second sound bites from television news reports these last 7 years coalesced into a grand, cohesive web of power plays and dec ...more
Roger Cottrell
My previous critique didn't do this important book justice. Risen opens the lid on the CIA's failure to identify the threat posed by al Qaeda, ahead of 9/11 and the consequent efforts of strategically placed Neo Cons to fabricate evidence for an illegal war in Iraq as well as how they exploited the war on terror to which this gave rise. Along the way, Risen shows how the war in Afghanistan was lost and that with Iran is being manufactured. A very important book by an acclaimed journalist who kno ...more
Johnny Williams
Risen does a good job of giving us a glimpse inside the everyday stuff-- the CIA and the White house drum up AS intelligence-- He highlights the blunders of the leadership-- but comes no where close to any new revelations that well read readers don't already know-- it is yet another voice on the miss management of the CIA -- and of the blunders our Presidents have made --by miss using the CIA--I much more enjoyed the Legacy of Ashes- by Tim Weiner

If you dont have to pay for it -- its worth a ski
...more
William
Risen's writing has the feel of a really good newspaper article...the type that makes you think you're learning about something unknown but essential for everybody to know. Risen's use of firsthand interviews with CIA case officers and the like makes the reader feel important and finally, "in-the-loop." Now what to do with such information or even how to ever tell it to another like Risen...well, that is the best argument for just reading the book yourself.
Jason
Had a hard time understanding this author's bias. At times he comes across like a tea-partier, at other times like a conservative Democrat. Hard to determine if he was pro-Bush policies, but against how they were executed, or if he didn't like any of it at all. At the least, it was informative in terms of the evidence (or lack thereof) used to lead to the second Iraq war.
Emilyrs
Over Christmas, my dad told me I should read the CIA book he had, so I grabbed this one. Turned out he meant a different one. Don't read this before going to bed, because you will have trouble falling asleep. Instead of counting sheep, try counting the number of mistakes, scandals, cover-ups, and screw-ups described in this book.
Ryan
A good end-of-the-empire read, this is far more than the compilation of long-known facts that many similar books have turned out to be. Risen delves far deeper than many other journalists have dared, which is probably why the government is threatening to jail him if he won't give up his sources.
Mark Lacy
Disturbing. Only further reinforced my feelings about the Bush administration. No adequate conclusion or summary to the book, which would have been nice.
Ehren
Good synopsis of CIA involvement and political factors in the iraq invasion. Probably good to read this with "Bush at War" to get a good idea of what was happening in the bureaucracy during the invasion planning.
Chris
A decent account, but leaves a lot of holes in coverage of how the Bush administration operated, and who Bush really is. Besides the topic of the book has been done 10 times over by other authors.
Steven Feeney
A balanced and illuminating exposé of the run up to the Iraq War. The accuracy was such that James Risen faced a Grand Jury indictment to reveal his sources. Excellent.
Kamal Kannan
A Fine book detailing how US & CIA flopped from Afghan to Iraq..Sheer coincidence, when i finished this book yesterday news flashed out that US ends its occupation in Iraq.....
Seligne
Well written and workmanlike, this short book does not have any of the flash associated with similar books by Woodward, et al., but is worth the read in its own right.
alejandro
I'm very interested in government scandels and enjoy "conspiracies," that made this book interesting, full of jaw dropping moments for me at the time!
Joe
Great book. It amazes me how many poor choices were made by King George 2. This should be required reading.
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NSA Wiretapping 1 2 Feb 10, 2014 05:32PM  
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