The 9/11 attacks brought a new ballgame to the intelligence world. The severity of the attacks and the fear unleashed changed the way the US government behaved both stateside and overseas. VP Cheney mentioned going over to the dark side, and the government would play near and over the dark side. The Bush presidency was given carte blanche by its Office of Legal Counsel who would find innovative ways in interpreting Presidential authority. Warrantless wiretapping, torture, extraordinary rendition would be utilitzed to fight the Global War on Terror. Protection of the public would be reason to subvert laws. The Patriot Act(s) would be passed under little initial scrutiny. There would be detractors seeking an assessment of the extralegal programs, but would they be heard? The actions of post 9/11 intelligence gathering have current reverberating ramifications. How much power is too much?
Karen Greenberg’s book is not the first to pierce through the wall of secrecy involving the Bush White House’s war on terror. It delves further into the backgrounds of those pursuing unchecked executive power and those looking to conduct intelligence programs legally. Greenberg also examines the Obama administrations continuation of certain programs (Guantanamo, wiretapping) and their attempts to deal with the fall-out of the Edward Snowden revelations. This is a much needed addition to the library of post 9/11 literature. A book that still asks “Who will watch the watchers”? A+
|Karen J. Greenberg
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