This is the recommended reading list from the C.I.A. for its intelligence officers and analysts:
- Ethics of Spying: A Reader for the Intelligence Professional, Volume 2, editor Jan Goldman
- Historical Dictionary of Terrorism by Sean K. Anderson with Stephen Sloan
- The Search for Al Qaeda: Its Leadership, Ideology, and Future by Bruce Riedel
- Cash On Delivery: CIA Special Operations during the Secret War in Laos by Thomas Leo Briggs
- Cold War Radio: The Dangerous History of American Broadcasting in Europe, 1950-1989 by Richard H. Cummings
- Covert Action in the Cold War: US Policy, Intelligence, and CIA Operations by James Callanan
- Hezekiah and the Assyrian Spies: Reconstruction of the Neo-Assyrian Intelligence Services and its Significance for 2 Kings 18-19 by Peter Dubovsky
- Invisible Ink: Spycraft of the American Revolution by John Nagy
- Mind-Sets and Missiles: A First Hand Account of the Cuban Missile Crisis by Kenneth Michael Absher
- Operation Mincemeat: The True Spy Story that Changed the Course of World War II by Ben Macintyre
- The Spy Who Loved Us: The Vietnam War and Pham Xuan An's Dangerous Game by Thomas A. Bass
- Targeting the Third Reich: Air Intelligence and the Allied Bombing Campaigns by Robert S. Ehlers, Jr.
Intelligence Services Abroad
- The KGB's Poison Factory: From Lenin to Litvinenko by Boris Volodarsky
- Spies in the Vatican: The Soviet Union's Cold War Against the Catholic Church by John Koehler
- The Terminal Spy: A True Story of Espionage, Betrayal, and Murder by Alan S. Cowell
Life in the World of Intelligence
- The Cloak and Dagger Cook: A CIA Memoir by Kay Shaw Nelson
Here is a brief selection from the review of "Historical Dictionary of Terrorism":
The dictionary itself has 700 pages with more than 2,000 entries, presented alphabetically. Topics include key actors and organizations- mostly in the Middle East, but including the IRA, and groups in Mexico, South Africa, Japan, and the United States. In addition there are entries on principal laws, a great variety of cases and plots, techniques-data mining and terrorist weapons like ricin-and assassinations.
And here is a brief selection from the review of "The Search for Al Qaeda: Its Leadership, Ideology, and Future":
From the outset Riedel makes it clear that the war on terror is really a war on al Qaeda. He explains that in order to defeat this enemy we must understand its reasons for being, what it hopes to achieve, and its strategy. For background, he reviews why al Qaeda undertook the 9/11 attacks and stresses the importance of understanding that Bin Laden's objective was to provoke the United States into a war in Afghanistan, where it could be bled to death-the same strategy that defeated the Soviets. To achieve this goal, Riedel stresses al Qaeda's need for a safe haven in Pakistan.
The war on terror is not "really a war on Al Qaeda". The war on terror is actually a defensive war against Islamic jihad that began over thirteen hundred years ago when Mohammad waged war to conquer the Arabian peninsula and drive all other religions from it. That jihad has picked up pace recently only due to the increased wealth that the petroleum industry has provided to the ummah, and due to the relaxed immigration policies of the West.
Having achieved the above goals, Reidel explains, al Qaeda intends to create "franchises" throughout the Muslim world that can continue to attack America's allies. In addition, he argues, al Qaeda works to acquire a nuclear weapon and to accomplish its ultimate objectives "to drive the United States from the Muslim world, destroy Israel, and create a jihadist Caliphate" similar to the Ottoman Empire. An Israeli-Palestinian peace treaty is not an option, Riedel emphasizes, because for Islamists peace can only come when Israel is physically eliminated.
Note the emphasis on Israel. Islam does not teach that "peace can come only when Israel is physically eliminated", it teaches that peace can come only when every person in every nation submits to Allah, either by converting to Islam, paying the jizya tax, or being killed by devout Muslims. I agree that an Israeli-"Palestinian" peace treaty is not an option, but I disagree that Israel is the key to world peace, even in the eyes of Muslims.
Also, Al Qaeda is not creating "franchises" in other nations. Al Qaeda is simply one of many jihadi groups, each of which is motivated by the core beliefs of Islam as documented in the Qur'an and the sunnah; Al Qaeda cooperates with other jihadi groups in carrying out their shared objectives. Al Qaeda is not the parent organization; if anything, Al Qaeda is the child organization of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. (Again, that is not an accurate description of their relationship. They are each waging jihad according to their understanding of the Qur'an and the ahadith).
In the final chapter, "How to Defeat Al Qaeda," Riedel presents recommendations for action by US decision makers and intelligence organizations. First, the "hunt for al Qaeda lacks a sheriff," he notes, the DNI "does not know who is in charge-clearly he is not." Given a leader, he recommends shutting down the al Qaeda propaganda apparatus, the sanctuaries in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and South Asia, and the franchises. Whatever approaches are adopted, he underlines, they must avoid "alienating succeeding generations of Iraqis and other Muslims." He ends with suggestions for accomplishing this.
Do we really have to avoid alienating generations of Iraqis and other Muslims? The teachings of the Islamic prophet Mohammed already teach Muslims to remain alienated from non-Muslims. Why is it then our goal to avoid alienating them? Their alienation has nothing to do with our foreign policy (other than the extent we refuse to submit to Allah, and refuse to allow Muslims to force other nations to submit to Allah), and nothing to do with the existence or behavior of Israel (except as noted above).
If an intelligence officer were to read the books on this list, would they have the knowledge required to understand what motivates our nation's enemies, enemies who are attacking us on a weekly basis (and attacking non-Muslims around the world on a daily basis)?
Where is a book by Robert Spencer, Ibn Warraq, Nonie Darwish, Wafa Sultan, Bat Ye'or, Andrew Bostom, Mark Steyn, Richard Rubenstein, or F.A. Hayek? From where would the intelligence officer gain the knowledge of what motivates jihad attacks? In the lead-up to the second World War, leaders such as Winston Churchill had the foresight to study Adolf Hitler's "Mein Kampf". In the Barbary Wars, Presidents John Adams and Thomas Jefferson had the desire to study the Qur'an, in order to understand the motivation of the jihadis who were attacking our ships (and taking slaves from raids in Europe). I assume during the Cold War that C.I.A. agents were familiar with the writings of Karl Marx and other communist writers, and that they studied communist ideology and the history of communism. It seems prudent to try to understand those who are fighting against you.
I believe that history has much to teach us, and I'm sure that each of the books on the C.I.A.'s list has much to recommend it. But there is a glaring hole in the above list.