Surprise, Kill, Vanish

Surprise, Kill, Vanish

The Secret History of CIA Paramilitary Armies, Operators, and Assassins

Book - 2019
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Surprise... your target. Kill... your enemy. Vanish... without a trace. From Pulitzer Prize finalist Annie Jacobsen, the untold story of the CIA's secret paramilitary units. When diplomacy fails, and war is unwise, the president calls on the CIA's Special Activities Division, a highly-classified branch of the CIA and the most effective, black operations force in the world. Originally known as the president's guerrilla warfare corps, SAD conducts risky and ruthless operations that have evolved over time to defend America from its enemies. Almost every American president since World War II has asked the CIA to conduct sabotage, subversion and, yes, assassination. With unprecedented access to forty-two men and women who proudly and secretly worked on CIA covert operations from the dawn of the Cold War to the present day, along with declassified documents and deep historical research, Pulitzer Prize finalist Annie Jacobsen unveils--like never before--a complex world of individuals working in treacherous environments populated with killers, connivers and saboteurs. Despite Hollywood notions of off-book operations and external secret hires, covert action is actually one piece in a colossal foreign policy machine. Written with the pacing of a thriller, Surprise, Kill, Vanish brings to vivid life the sheer pandemonium and chaos, as well as the unforgettable human will to survive and the intellectual challenge of not giving up hope that define paramilitary and intelligence work. Jacobsen's exclusive interviews--with members of the CIA's Senior Intelligence Service (equivalent to the Pentagon's generals), its counterterrorism chiefs, targeting officers, and Special Activities Division's Ground Branch operators who conduct today's close-quarters killing operations around the world--reveal, for the first time, the enormity of this shocking, controversial and morally complex terrain. Is the CIA's paramilitary army America's weaponized strength, or a liability to its principled standing in the world? Every operation reported in this book, however unsettling, is legal.
Publisher: New York : Little, Brown and Company, 2019
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780316441438
Branch Call Number: 327.1273 Un328J 2019
Characteristics: xiii, 545 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (some color) ; 25 cm


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Oct 10, 2019

War is wicked, violent, and treacherous. A horror of chaos, anarchy, and revenge.

Oct 10, 2019

Assassination was as old as warfare and would never go away.

Oct 09, 2019

The aversion to risk was perhaps the single greatest discrepancy between the CIA and the Pentagon.

Oct 09, 2019

Either you kill or capture, or you will be killed or captured,...

Oct 09, 2019

The president's third option was born in the wake of World War II, and those who created it did so to advert World War III.


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Of course, if you interview people who worked in this area, you're only going to hear about how great this sideshow was. Ask yourself, for instance, would the Cold War have turned out any different if the CIA never existed? They were just as surprised when the USSR collapsed as everybody else. They had to watch it on CNN with the rest of us.

May 23, 2019

There have been an enormous number of declassified documents released to the public, the latest in 2018 and 2017 - - I read them and either Jacobsen couldn't be bothered or is a professional liar!
I always approach Jacobsen's books with considerable trepidation after that bogus story she "reported" in her book, Area 51. [Some dude really made a fool out of her: she recounted how the Soviets, in the early 1950s, somehow managed to engineer a starcraft, piloted by genetically engineered children meant to look like space aliens, and crashed it in Roswell, New Mexico, to scare the American public!? This at the time when the Sovs were just beginning to adopt vacuum tubes!]
A horrible hatchet job on our last real democratic president, assassinated on Nov. 22, 1963, John F. Kennedy. On p. 144 she errs and refers to him as a "young lieutenant colonel" - - no such rank in the US Navy - - and JFK was a young Navy lieutenant.
Furthermore, Jacobsen claims JFK created an assassination section in the CIA - - FALSE! The CIA's assassination section, Staff D, existed during the Eisenhower Administration, appearing the congressional budget in the 1950s. Next, she bases this on the SUGGESTION of former CIA deputy director, Richard Bissell, fired years before by JFK and still full of vitriol and animosity towards him! Bissell's protege whom he taught at Yale, McGeorge Bundy, is supposed to be the guy who passed on the orders, according to Bissell. [JFK was planning, according to a declassified memo, to shift Bundy over to State from his position as Nat'l Security Advisor as he did not trust him.]
Next, Jacobsen claims that JFK acted to significantly widen the Vietnam War - - totally FALSE!
Three independent forms of declassified documentation have thoroughly debunked this: State Dept. memorandum - - notes and directives to the DoD from JFK - - and directives sent to military installations - - all detailing the complete withdrawal of all US military advisors, beginning in late November of 1963. [JFK was assassinated on 11/22/63] and completed before the 1964 election. There is a revisionist lie long repeated that JFK increased the number of advisors Eisenhower originally dispatched to Vietnam - - based upon a Marine helicopter group, situated in Thailand and Laos, which was rotated per schedule to Vietnam, set up under the previous administration!]
Jacobsen incorrectly identified Lucien Conein's position in Saigon: he was actually the CIA chief of station, promoted in an unauthorized manner by Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. [both Lodge and Averell Harriman were slated to be fired by President Kennedy for acting opposite his orders and directives - - they were both war hawks!]. She also incorrectly described the murder of President Diem: he was brutally mutilated before being executed and both Diem and Kennedy were against the presence of US troops in Vietnam. Lucien Conein was on the ground in Saigon when Diem and his brother were assassinated, and on the ground in Dallas when JFK was assassinated!
Jacobsen displays her utter shamelessness when she quoted the founder of the CIA's MK ULTRA program [which she didn't mention in the Family Jewels - - she omits mountains of pertinent data - - had been involved in illegal experimentation on young children, both American and non-America], Richard Helms, who was CONVICTED of misleading congress, in suggesting that JFK was responsible for foreign assassinations and had thereby been murdered by the Cubans - - JFK had officially halted all assassination attempts on Castro, beginning with the Bay of Pigs op he inherited from Ike, and when they were tipped off to the existence of a training facility in Louisiana for that purpose, AG Bobby Kennedy, with US Marshals, was dispatched to shut it down. [The tipster, BTW, was FBI informant named Lee H. Oswald - - sound familiar?]


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