By John Nixon
In December 2003, after one of many greatest, such a lot competitive manhunts in heritage, US army forces captured Iraqi president Saddam Hussein close to his fatherland of Tikrit. Beset by means of body-double rumors and fake alarms in the course of a nine-month seek, the Bush management wanted confident id of the prisoner ahead of it will possibly make the statement that may rocket round the world.
on the time, John Nixon used to be a senior CIA management analyst who had spent years learning the Iraqi dictator. known as upon to make the respectable identification, Nixon hunted for telltale scars and tribal tattoos and requested Hussein a listing of questions in simple terms he may perhaps resolution. the guy was once certainly Saddam Hussein, yet as Nixon realized within the resulting weeks, either he and the USA had enormously misunderstood simply who Saddam Hussein fairly was.
Debriefing the President provides an stunning, candid portrait of 1 of our era’s so much infamous strongmen. Nixon, the 1st guy to behavior a chronic interrogation of Hussein after his seize, bargains professional perception into the historical past and brain of America’s such a lot enigmatic enemy. After years of parsing Hussein’s management from afar, Nixon faithfully recounts his debriefing classes and in this case strips away the mythology surrounding an both brutal and intricate guy. His account isn't really an apology, yet a sobering exam of the way preconceived principles led Washington policymakers—and the Bush White House—astray. Unflinching and remarkable, Debriefing the President exposes a basic misreading of 1 of the trendy world’s so much imperative figures and offers a brand new narrative that boldly counters the bought account.
"A damning indictment of the perversion of an immense intelligence provider by way of little minds within and above it." –The occasions of London
“That a CIA officer may still carry energy to account in a memoir is rare, and patriotic. John Nixon has performed so with perception and elegance. Debriefing The President is a web page turner of historic end result — good news for the republic in treacherous times.” – Nick McDonell, writer of Twelve and the tip of significant wrestle Operations
"Nixon captures the mental give-and-take of those exchanges [with Saddam Hussein] with gripping readability...and he describes the consequent verbal sparring with a pointy ear for nuance." – Steve Donoghue, The Christian technology Monitor
"Mr. Nixon, the 1st C.I.A. officer to interrogate Hussein after his seize in December 2003, unearths gobsmacking evidence approximately that deposed Iraqi chief that elevate new questions about why the us afflicted to invade Iraq to oust him from energy. those information will most likely appall americans who've watched their nation’s blood and treasure wasted in Iraq ever since…. extra generally, Mr. Nixon bargains a stinging indictment of the C.I.A. and what he sees because the agency’s dysfunctional technique for delivering intelligence to the president and different coverage makers…. Mr. Nixon’s e-book comes at a unprecedented second, whilst President-elect Donald J. Trump is already at battle with the C.I.A….“Debriefing the President” will upload gas to the fireplace of the Trump-led feedback. it's going to additionally ship a chilling caution to someone hoping on the C.I.A. to face as much as Mr. Trump as soon as he's in office.” – James Risen, the hot York Times
“Gripping…Nixon’s ebook, Debriefing the President, offers extra ammunition to the skeptics; certainly, a few of its contents can merely be defined as sensational.” – John Cassidy, the hot Yorker
"A interesting glimpse of the "tough, intelligent, manipulative" chief and his perspectives at the U.S. invasion, Iraqi heritage, and his personal position within the heart East...An clever and readable postscript to the Iraq warfare that might be invaluable for destiny historians."
--Kirkus (starred overview)
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Extra resources for Debriefing the President: The Interrogation of Saddam Hussein
When Muhammad Sadiq al-Sadr was murdered by Saddam’s henchmen in February 1999, we didn’t know anything about the Sadrists and had almost no idea who Muhammad Sadiq al-Sadr was. A Shia source could have quickly told us that he was a Shia cleric with the rank of ayatollah, a sayyid (someone who can trace his lineage back to the Prophet Muhammad), a prominent political and religious figure in Najaf who challenged Saddam’s repression of Shiites, and the father of Muqtada al-Sadr, later the leader of the Shia Mahdi Army and a steadfast foe of the Coalition Provisional Authority.
Without the backing of our bosses, it would be difficult to find out more about this complex target. That highlighted another problem: Our collection of information was so focused on Saddam and his inner circle that any mention of topics that touched only tangentially on the regime were deemed a poor use of resources. In retrospect, it’s clear we missed the Shia threat to Saddam’s grip on power before 9/11. Largely because of our reliance on émigré groups and opposition figures, many of whom were Sunnis who had nothing but contempt for their Shia brethren, we convinced ourselves that the Shiites didn’t matter and that a Sunni strongman would likely be the successor to Saddam.
The bar for CIA hands was one of the first things the Agency got up and running in the compound. It was in a trailer and had several TVs, Christmas lights galore, and plenty of cold beer. I used to tell people that if we ran Iraq as well as we ran the bar, Iraq would be the Switzerland of the Middle East. When I got to the bar, senior CIA men were already toasting themselves on Saddam’s capture. I waited there for what seemed like forever until I was told that the convoy was at the entrance to the CIA station.