A compelling chronological examination of the new intelligence-driven, multiagency counterterrorism model the U.S. military now uses to meet the “Age of Superterrorism.”
In order to penetrate the layers of official agency and military-speak, Kitfield (Senior Fellow/Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress; War & Destiny: How the Bush Revolution in Foreign and Military Affairs Redefined American Power, 2005, etc.) begins with the American response to 9/11 via the unprecedented scope provided by the Donald Rumsfeld Pentagon to the U.S. Special Operation Forces in Afghanistan, led by Col. John Mulholland. Featuring strategic air attacks during Operation Enduring Freedom, led by Air Force Maj. Gen. David Deptula—drones turned out to be the “real game changer”—the vast U.S. national security apparatus successfully melded into a synergy of operation despite long-standing jealousies among agencies like the FBI, CIA, and National Security Agency. However, the failure to capture Osama bin Laden when he was within reach at Tora Bora in late 2001 and the controversy over CIA interrogation tactics of “enemy combatants” at secret “black sites” opened up old scores of ineptitude. During the subsequent war in Iraq, both generals Stanley McChrystal and David Petraeus had significant roles in transforming the vast counterterrorism apparatus—e.g., McChrystal created Task Force 714, “combining under one roof all the military, intelligence, and law enforcement agencies that had a piece of the counterterrorism mission.” Improvised explosive devices, suicide bombings, and assassinations of Western journalists and others demanded new ways of gaining information and rooting out terrorist cells, as Kitfield amply illustrates in his discussion of the intensive manhunt for al-Qaida leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in 2006. The author also addresses the Obama administration’s attempts at drawdown and discrete, targeted operations, while the homeland threat—e.g., the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing—would prompt the NSA’s massive collection of metadata in the communications of average Americans, to worldwide outcry.
Kitfield gets inside the U.S. military "brotherhood" to produce an engaging and chilling report.