Blind Spot: The Secret History of American Counterterrorism

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9780465092819: Blind Spot: The Secret History of American Counterterrorism
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In this revelatory new account, national security historian Timothy Naftali relates the full back story of America's attempts to fight terrorism. On September 11, 2001, a long history of failures, missteps, and blind spots in our intelligence services came to a head, with tragic results.At the end of World War II, the OSS's X-2” department had established a seamless system for countering the threats of die-hard Nazi terrorists. But those capabilities were soon forgotten, and it wasn't until 1968, when Palestinian groups began a series of highly publicized airplane hijackings, that the U.S. began to take counterterrorism seriously. Naftali narrates the game of catch-up” that various administrations and the CIA played with varying degrees of success from the Munich Games hostage-taking to the raft of terrorist incidents in the mid-1980s through the first bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993, and up to 9/11.In riveting detail, Naftali shows why holes in U.S. homeland security discovered by Vice President George H. W. Bush in 1986 were still a problem when his son became President, and why George W. Bush did little to fix them until it was too late. Naftali concludes that open, liberal democracies like the U.S. are incapable of effectively stopping terrorism. For anyone concerned about the future of America's security, this masterful history will be necessary and eye-opening reading.

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Advance Praise for Blind Spot:

"An engrossing narrative of mistakes, missed opportunities, and the occasional triumph, Blind Spot surprises and enlightens. Timothy Naftali's provocative analysis of US counterterrorism should force a profound reappraisal of our current efforts. This important and fascinating work is necessary reading for policymakers and the public alike." -Fareed Zakaria, author of The Future of Freedom

"You are going to want to read this book. With Blind Spot, Timothy Naftali has done everyone interested in the history of U.S. efforts to fight terrorism a great favor: he has combed through all the archives, interviewed all the key participants, and dug up a great many stories that have never seen the light of day before and put them all in one terrifically readable place. The result is a book that weaves the full tapestry of American efforts against the world's worst terrors, illustrating both the revealing details as well as the larger image of America's long unwillingness to take this threat seriously until the horror of 9/11 forced us to do so. Anyone who wants to understand that story will be well-rewarded by starting with this smart, splendid book." -Kenneth M. Pollack, author of The Threatening Storm, former director for Persian Gulf Affairs on the staff of the National Security Council

"In this fascinating, well-researched, and important book, Timothy Naftali has done an excellent job of using the lessons to history to illuminate one of the central issues of our time." -Michael Beschloss, author of The Conquerors: Roosevelt, Truman and the Destruction of Hitler's Germany, 1941-1945

"The best book yet on U.S. counterterrorism. America's current problems can be properly understood only if they are put in long-tern perspective, and Tim Naftali does this brilliantly. Blind Spot is a must-read." -Christopher Andrew, author of The Sword and the Shield

"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. In this deeply researched book certain to spark controversy, Naftali argues that successful intelligence campaigns against Nazi and Soviet spies prove the United States knows how to run counter-terror operations. But until 9-11 the blind spot kept American presidents and the American people alike from seeing that the time had come to make hard decisions to fight new enemies already gathering to strike." -Thomas Powers, author of Heisenberg's War and The Man Who Kept Secrets

About the Author:

Timothy Naftali is Associate Professor and Director of the Presidential Recordings Program and Kremlin Decision-Making Project at the Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia. He lives in Charlottesville, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780465092826: Blind Spot

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ISBN 10:  0465092829 ISBN 13:  9780465092826
Publisher: Basic Books, 2006
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9781422360804: Blind Spot: The Secret History of American Counterterrorism

Diane Pub, 2005
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