When the history of United States in the 21st century is written, the role of the Central Intelligence Agency will loom large in its early chapters. Two of the spy agency’s mistakes had terrible consequences for the future of the country. First, it failed to detect the September 11 plot. Second, it issued a faulty estimate that Saddam Hussein was developing weapons of mass destruction, which led to a major war. What went wrong?
Not long ago, Michael Morell hung up his trench coat after a 31-year career in the agency that took him from an entry level position to an array of high-level postings, ending up as CIA deputy director under Barack Obama. His memoir, The Great War of Our Time: The CIA’s Fight Against Terrorism–From al Qa’ida to ISIS, offers a tour of agency successes and failures and also explores a number of other highly controversial matters, including the “enhanced interrogation” of terrorists, and the agency’s convoluted role in the 2012 Benghazi imbroglio. Continue reading