How Aggressive CIA Actions After 9/11 Saved American Lives
Puerto Rican–born Jose A. Rodriguez, Jr., served the United States for twenty-five years as an undercover officer before bringing his wealth of field knowledge to the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center; now, in this riveting account and fascinating life story, one of America’s top undercover operatives reveals how hard measures have derailed terrorist activity targeting the U.S., and saved countless American lives. Fully disclosed here for the first time are the undercover operations and tactics implemented during the George W. Bush presidency—which were approved by the highest levels of the U.S. government, certified as legal by the Department of Justice, and supported by bipartisan leadership of congressional intelligence oversight committees.
But as the shock of 9/11 faded, the support that the intelligence community enjoyed and deserved gave way to shortsighted and potentially dangerous political correctness. One by one, the tools needed to successfully fight terrorism were banished, and the men and women who volunteered to carry out our nation’s orders in combating al-Qa'ida found themselves second-guessed, hamstrung, and investigated— including Rodriguez himself. In effect, the United States has chosen to willfully and unilaterally disarm itself in the war on terror. In Hard Measures, Rodriguez convincingly argues for the techniques used, and uncompromisingly details when these techniques were necessary, why they worked, and how, ultimately, they contributed to the capture of the world’s most-wanted terror operatives, including Usama bin Ladin. From law school student to CIA recruit to his role as America’s top spy, Rodriguez’s full story is one of utmost importance—a rare, insider’s look at an issue that demands attention. Above all, it’s a reasoned, imperative, and fully informed case for hard measures, and an explosive and gripping account of the real war on terror— where it’s been and where it’s headed.
Terrorism has always been one of the toughest targets on which to collect intelligence. The secrets you want to steal frequently don’t reside in computer systems, which can be hacked, or safes, which can be broken into, but in the inner recesses of a handful of individuals’ minds.
The cliché about intelligence work is that it is like working on a thousand-piece jigsaw puzzle but not having the box top to show you what the finished picture should look like. If only it were that easy. In fact, it is more like working on a million-piece puzzle with no box top, and having millions more random pieces that look like they might fit, but actually are from different puzzles altogether.
It fell to us to make sense of the countless fragments of information and to take action on the chunks of the puzzle, which represented a real and growing threat to the United States and our allies.
—from Hard Measures
Read an Excerpt
I’m tired of you Americans saying we are not doing enough to fight the terrorists.” General Ashfaq Kayani, director general of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence, was polite but firm during the meeting at his home in Islamabad in August 2006. “We may soon have a chance to conduct a major operation—what I need to know is whether you are with us or not.”
The confrontation was not the first and certainly not the last between his organization, the ISI, and mine, the CIA. As head of our National Clandestine Service, my mission was to oversee the running of... see more