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by Timothy Naftali

Download Blind Spot ePub
  • ISBN 0465092829
  • ISBN13 978-0465092826
  • Language English
  • Author Timothy Naftali
  • Publisher Basic Books; Reprint edition (May 2, 2006)
  • Pages 428
  • Formats lit lrf doc mbr
  • Category Different
  • Subcategory Social Sciences
  • Size ePub 1679 kb
  • Size Fb2 1270 kb
  • Rating: 4.9
  • Votes: 224

In this revelatory new account, national security expert Timothy Naftali relates the full story of America's decades-long attempt to fight terrorism. On September 11, 2001, a long history of failures and missteps came to a head, with tragic results. But, explains Naftali, it didn't have to be so. Blind Spot traces the long history of American efforts to thwart terrorism, from World War II to the Munich Games hostage-taking to the first attack on the World Trade Center in 1993. In riveting detail, based on original research and interviews with the key participants, Naftali describes why our early successes in counterterrorism did not translate into success against Osama bin Laden later in the 1990s, and why, until 9/11, the domestic threat of terrorism was the largest blind spot in United States national security.

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Timothy Naftali is a Canadian-American historian who is clinical associate professor of public service at New York University. He has written four books, two of them co-authored with Alexander Fursenko on the Cuban Missile Crisis and Nikita Khrushchev. He is a regular CNN contributor as a CNN presidential historian. Naftali was born in Montreal and at one point worked as an aide to Robert Bourassa.

Details (if other): Cancel. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Blind Spot: The Secret History of American Counterterrorism.

On September 11, 2001, a long history of failures and missteps came to a head, with tragic results. But, explains Naftali, it didn’t have to be so. Blind Spot traces the long history of American efforts to thwart terrorism, from World War II to the Munich Games hostage-taking to the first attack on the World Trade Center in 1993.

Blind Spot: The Secret History of American Counterterrorism. Blind Spot - Tim Naftali. On September 11, 2001, a long history of failures and missteps came to a head, with tragic results. But, explains Naftali, it didn't have to be so.

Book Overview But, explains Naftali, it didn't have to be so. Blind Spot traces the long history of American efforts to thwart.

The blind spot in Timothy Naftali's important book was the inability of American presidents, despite frequent warning, to recognize the danger posed by Osama Bin Laden. That a huge failure occurred has been obvious since 9-11, but Naftali, a leading scholar of American intelligence organizations, has something bigger on his mind than the now-familiar missed clues and failures to communicate.

BLIND SPOT The Secret History of American Counterterrorism. By Richard A. Posner. 214 pp. Hoover Institution/ Rowman & Littlefield. Hoover Institution/ Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. THE notion that Sept. 11 changed everything has become deeply ingrained in the American psyche. Indeed, when Steven Brill gave his 2003 book on post-9/11 America a single-word title - After" - everyone knew instantly what he meant.

History & Military Hardcover Nonfiction Books in English.

Talk about Blind Spot

It would probably be useful to potential readers to explain what this book is not before discussing what it is. It is not a "secret history" in any sense nor is it a diatribe against either the U.S. Intelligence Community (IC) or the Executive Branch of government. The book is a sober and sobering history of how the U.S. has dealt with issues of State and non-State terrorism from World War II through the catastrophe of September 11 2001. Naftali also does a great service by noting the obvious similarities between the operating techniques of counter-Espionage and counter Terrorism (especially domestic).

In this book Naftali chronicles the failure of our political and national security systems to effectively protect American lives and property from terrorist threats. Naftali does record those rare successes against individual terrorists such as Abu Nidal, but the thrust of his book is that on the whole we have had difficulty countering terrorism in any form. He gives a fairly detailed case study of the series of terrorist attacks against U.S. personal in Lebanon during 1983-1984. The perpetrators of these attacks were members of Hezbollah, a Shia terrorist organization sponsored by Iran and enabled by Syria. In the case of the bombing of the U.S. Beirut Embassy in 1984 as it turned out, if the CIA had reviewed its available evidence, especially imagery they would have seen that a mock up of the U.S. Embassy had been constructed and was being used to train for car bomb attacks against the real thing. This is not a matter of "connecting the dots"; it is a matter of knowing the target (in this case Hezbollah) and building rational indications lists. In the fallout from this series of disasters, the redoubtable Charlie Allen, a long time CIA employee, called attention to the existence of this imagery (hind site is always 20/20). As a result Allen was named the new National Intelligence Officer (NIO) for counter-Terrorism. To his credit, Allen almost immediately tried to make information sharing a part of IC culture by connecting all concerned agencies directly with the CIA center for photo interpretation. Needless to say the IC culture than as now was largely opposed to sharing anything and Allen's efforts came to naught. In the couple of chapters of this book Naftali does chronicle the efforts by the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations to deal with the terrorist threat posed by the Osama bin Laden movement. Neither comes off very well in this, but the Bush administration comes off as the most indifferent, at least prior to 9/11.

This reviewer would recommend that prior to reading this book; interested readers should read "Inside Terrorism" by Bruce Hoffman to understand all the different manifestation of terrorism.
Very Old Chap
Excellent look at the US Govt's Counter-terrorism apparatus prior to 9/11 as well as an all encompassing conclusion that links exactly how Sunni extremists were able to move in undetected. The author draws hard lines about the political atmosphere at specific times as well as internal policies failures. Additionally, the book is well referenced as it has 20 plus pages of just references.

This book remains important today as we move into another change in in presidential administrations; which may, historically, change political parties. We see that countless times Presidents want to view Terrorism as something winnable like against the Soviets or the Nazi's and each time we see that come back to bite us.

The single greatest line from I took from this book is in the conclusion when the author talks about Policy Failure vs. Intelligence Failure. The author quotes Henry Kissenger when he claimed an attack occurred due to an intelligence failure. He's quickly reminded that he had been warned to which he responds that "yes, however I wasn't convinced." This point strikes home as we see time and time again it's easy for the president to say something is an intelligence failure, IE ISIS, when in reality it just didn't fit the political bill. On the same token though, it does mean that when facing that sort of challenge it's up to the intelligence community to prove to the American people more than the President that something is expected.
If you like to konw more about modern and contemporary history, this book is for you. The author collected information from different sources for the 9/11 commision and expanded it further for this book. It's better than a mistery book as you know some of the fact but you didn't know all it happened behind the scenes.

My wife's granfather was a spy after WWII and I found references of his work in this book too.
Good, although inconclusive as far as the government authorities responsibilities.
MOST still sit in their seats of power spending most of their time and efforts trying to look good to the people!
It was an interesting read as the topic ranged from WWII on to 9/11, (mainly international terrorism as he does touch on the 1970’s rash of hijackings but does not discuss the domestic terrorism of that time).
I have to point out some major mistakes though, such as:

• Naftali mistook 9/11 flight 93 (which crashed in Pennsylvania) as "Flight 83."

• Naftali stated that terrorist Abu Nidal died of “natural causes” in Baghdad, (Nidal, who had many enemies including mainstream PLO, was shot in Baghdad in 2002).

• Naftali stated that aircraft from the USS Vincennes shot down Iranian airbus 655 in 1988. The fact is that a surface to air missile was launched from the Vincennes.

• Naftali also mistakes al-Qai’da terrorist “Abu Zubayday for Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Zubaydah, (really more of a freelancer than al-Qai’da), worked as the gate keeper to Afghan based terrorist camps-including bin Laden’s camps. Naftali states it was Zubaydah who escaped to Iraq and set up a resistance to US forces in 2003. Zubayday was captured in March 2002, Zarqawi, the leader (of what is now ISIS), was killed by US forces in 2006.

I think they were major mistakes, but found the book entertaining regardless.