AUTHOR'S NOTE | GLOSSARY (pdf) | KEY PLAYERS (pdf) | JAWBREAKER IN THE MEDIA
TO THE READER:
This is a book that the CIA didn’t want you to read. In May 2005, I
submitted the manuscript to the CIA’s Publication Review Board
for review. I was told it would take approximately thirty days for them
to redact those passages that they felt compromised active Agency
sources and methods. In working with my co-author, I had been careful
not to reveal sensitive material beyond what the CIA had already
approved in other books.
As an experienced CIA Chief of Station and one loyal to the
Agency’s mission, I have absolutely no interest in undermining our nation’s
intelligence effort. But I also believe that freedom of speech is
fundamental to all of our liberties, and that a timely and fair review of
manuscripts by the Agency’s Publications Review Board and Clandestine
Service is essential if current and ex-Agency employees are to
have a relevant voice in our national debate.
That same month, May 2005, I decided to retire from CIA’s Clandestine
Service after twenty-three years of service and an additional
four years in the U.S. military. It had been a privilege to serve in the
Directorate of Operations alongside brave men and women who
helped me combat al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups.
Despite the fact that the CIA had recently approved another book
by a retired Agency officer about the war in Afghanistan and had
briefed authors Steve Coll (Ghost Wars) and Bob Woodward (Bush at
War), they held up my manuscript for months. Finally in mid-July
2005, in what turned out to be the most surreal and frustrating experiences
in my life, I was forced to file a lawsuit against my former employer. When a Federal judge ordered the Agency to release the manuscript
in late August, they told me I had to redact over forty pages of
material, including the mileage between cities in Afghanistan and the
name of CIA officer William Buckley, which has appeared in hundreds
of publications since his death in 1987.
When I asked the Agency to restore some of the material that had
already appeared in other publications that had been cleared by
them, I had to file another injunction in Federal Court before they
would respond. A Federal judge will ultimately rule if segments of the
book that have been blacked out by CIA censors will be added to future
editions. For the sake of readability, my co-author and I have
tried to give the reader a sense of the subject matter of excised material.
Blacked out lines of text that run more than two lines often indicate
redacted segments which run for several pages.
I am privileged to have served alongside very brave men from the
CIA and the U.S. Military’s Special Operations community while in
Afghanistan. As in many past conflicts, many of them were American
immigrants—especially, Muslim Americans from South Asia and the
Middle East—who stepped up and were the most critical component
of our intelligence collection effort. Those Muslim Americans reminded
me about how special our country is and the liberties we
sometimes take for granted.
May God bless America and, especially, those who fight and sacrifice
to defend it. I would also like to thank my wife and children for
their love and support over so many years, and extend thanks to Jim
Tyler of DOD and retired Lt. Colonel Mark Brightman for historical
and military context.