BOOK REVIEW: Rules of Engagement: A Novel      By David Bruns and J.R. Olson Reviewed by Robert Richer, Former Associate Deputy Director for Operations, CIA Editor’s note: Last week, The Cipher Brief published a review written by CIA veteran Rob Richer of Dan Silva’s novel “The New Girl.”  Richer praised ...

BOOK REVIEW: VICTOR IN THE JUNGLE     By Alex Finley Reviewed by Bill Harlow, The Cipher Brief  Senior Book Editor Alex Finley has an eye (and an ear) for the absurd.  A talent that no doubt came in useful during the six years she spent as a reports officer in the ...

BOOK REVIEW:  The Targeter: My Life in the CIA, Hunting Terrorists and Challenging the White House By Nada Bakos  Reviewed by Jack Boger The vast majority of stories that have emerged from the war on terror star a now-familiar main character: male, macho, a military and/or intelligence officer, preferably bearded and ...

BOOK REVIEW: The Protected By Michael Trott Reviewed by Thomas Pecora, former CIA GS 15 Senior Security Officer Have you ever wondered what it is like to be a “bodyguard” for a high-ranking U.S. government official, the CEO of a large corporation, or the family of a billionaire?  In The Protected, ...

BOOK REVIEW:  Bytes, Bombs, and Spies: The Strategic Dimensions of Offensive Cyber Operations Edited by Herbert Lin and Amy Zegart, Brookings Institution Press Reviewed by George M. Moore, scientist-in-residence at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS) at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey.  This collection published by the ...

BOOK REVIEW: To Catch A Spy: The Art of Counterintelligence By James M. Olson Reviewed by Mark Kelton, Former Deputy Director for Counterintelligence, CIA The realm of counterintelligence (CI) is the most cloistered of the intelligence world.  In his book To Catch a Spy, James Olson makes the invariably, and often ...

BOOK REVIEW: How We Win:  How Cutting-Edge Entrepreneurs, Political Visionaries, Enlightened Business Leaders and Social Media Mavens Can Defeat the Extremist Threat By Farah Pandith Reviewed by Jeff Patterson, PhD, University of Texas at Austin Farah Pandith’s new book How We Win: How Cutting-Edge Entrepreneurs, Political Visionaries, Enlightened Business Leaders, ...

BOOK REVIEW: The Killer Collective   By Barry Eisler Reviewed by Daniel Hoffman In Barry Eisler’s new novel The Killer Collective, half-Japanese and half-American assassin John Rain leads a ruthless team with military and law enforcement backgrounds to deliver their distinct brand of justice to a sinister criminal ring operating ...

BOOK REVIEW: HUNTING LEROUX: The Inside Story of the DEA Takedown of a Criminal Genius By Elaine Shannon Reviewed by Joseph Augustyn, former Chief of Staff for CIA's Director of Operations Paul Calder LeRoux was a genius.  He was a diabolical genius.  He was also a computer genius. And he ...

BOOK REVIEW: One Nation, Under Drones: Legality, Morality and the Utility of Unmanned Combat Systems By Capt. John E. Jackson, USN, (Ret.) Editor, Naval Institute Press Reviewed by Terence Check The development of “drones”, it would seem, has come full circle. From a technology originally pioneered in the garages of ...

BOOK REVIEW: Putin's World: Russia Against the West and With the Rest By Angela Stent Reviewed by Cipher Brief expert, Michael Sulick Vladimir Putin, enormously popular in Russia yet reviled in the West, avidly courting, and courted, by other nations, has become one of the most studied – and most ...

Strategic Warning Intelligence: History, Challenges, and Prospects by John A. Gentry and Joseph S. Gordon (Georgetown University Press) Reviewed by Jason U. Manosevitz The importance of strategic warning analysis is something all can agree upon. If you believe, as I do, that this kind of analysis is vital for sound ...

By Larry Loftis Reviewed by: Carol Rollie Flynn, Cipher Brief Expert and Former Assoc. Deputy Director, National Counterterrorism Center, CIA.  Currently CEO & Managing Director, Singa Consulting Code Name: LISE: The True Story of the Woman Who Became WWII’s Most Decorated Spy,  Gallery Books, January 15, 2019 Early in Larry Loftis' ...

Spy Pilot By Francis Gary Powers, Jr. and Keith Dunnavant Reviewed by John Campbell, Lt Gen, USAF (Ret) “Difficulties might arise out of these flights, but we can live with them”, that was how Allen Dulles, Director of Central Intelligence, made the case to President Dwight Eisenhower that the reward ...

By W.E.B. Griffin and William E. Butterworth IV Reviewed by The Cipher Brief's Brad Christian The Enemy of My Enemy, G.P. Putnam's Sons, December 11, 2018 W.E.B. Griffin is the well-known author of seven bestselling series.  The Enemy of My Enemy is the fifth installment in the “Clandestine Operations” series, ...

By Mark Urban Reviewed by Cipher Brief Expert and Former Senior Member of the British Foreign Office, Nick Fishwick The Skripal Files, Henry Holt & Company, 2018 When Sergei Skripal arrived in the UK in 2010 as part of a prisoner swap, he must have assumed that the dramatic, even ...

BOOK REVIEW: LikeWar: The Weaponization of Social Media by Peter W. Singer and Emerson T. Brooking Reviewed by Niloofar Razi Howe When famed Prussian war theorist Carl von Clausewitz wrote, “All war presupposes human weakness and seeks to exploit it,” he could not have appreciated how prescient his view was ...

BOOK REVIEW:  Red War  (A Mitch Rapp Novel Book 15) by (the late) Vince Flynn and Kyle Mills Reviewed by Robert Richer First of all, I need to highlight that I was a personal friend of the late Vince Flynn, and assisted him as he developed the characters of the ...

BOOK REVIEW: Dawn of The Code War: Americas Battle Against Russia, China, and the Rising Global Cyber Threat By: John P. Carlin with Garrett M. Graff, Public Affairs, New York, 2018 Reviewed by Peter M. Tran In 1789, Benjamin Franklin wrote in a letter that “Our new Constitution is now established, and ...

Since its launch in early October, Under/Cover has focused largely on reviewing non-fiction books from major publishing houses.  This week, we are featuring a review of a novel written by a military veteran and former CIA officer, J.R. Seeger.  Seeger’s first novel, Mike4 comes from a smaller publishing house.  In ...

Under/Cover's Senior Editor, Bill Harlow, spoke with J.R. Seeger, author of Mike4, about the journey from CIA Officer to author. J.R. Seeger served as a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne and as a CIA officer for a total of 27 years of federal service. As a CIA officer, he served ...

THE SPY WHO WAS LEFT BEHIND by Michael Pullara, Scribner, New York, 2018 Reviewed by Joseph Augustyn There are currently 129 stars carved into the white Alabama marble wall in the lobby of CIA Headquarters, each star representing a CIA employee who died in service to their country.  One of ...

By Fred Burton and Samuel M. Katz, Berkley Reviewed by Under/Cover Senior Editor Bill Harlow Young people today would be forgiven if they believed that they live in a time of unprecedented hate and senseless violence.  Apparent state-sponsored murders of journalists, political and religious-inspired assassinations, suicide bombings and random mass ...

Reviewed by James L. Bullock It is an oft-told tale in Foreign Service circles that America’s diplomats, not its soldiers and sailors, are the nation’s first line of defense. Certainly more U.S. ambassadors than generals or admirals have been killed in the line of duty since World War II. That ...

In “Under Cover” we bring readers  reviews of current books on national security matters, news about new releases, and Q’s & A’s with authors, publishers, and agents (the literary kind.) This week, we have something special up our sleeve. John McLaughlin is one of the most admired and respected alumni ...

THE SPY AND THE TRAITOR: THE GREATEST ESPIONAGE STORY OF THE COLD WAR by Ben MacIntyre, Crown, New York, 2018 Reviewed by Joseph W. Augustyn What most experienced intelligence officers will tell you is that defector stories rarely end well.  Such is the case of one of the UK’s most ...

Long before 'The Best of Enemies' was published (on sale today), movie producer Ron Howard and Imagine Entertainment optioned the book with an eye toward making a motion picture from the tale.  It's not hard to see why.  'The Best of Enemies' has all the elements that Hollywood loves.  To ...

Wartime has been a force multiplier for espionage ever since the Revolutionary War, when General George Washington was the founding father of the art of intelligence. In World War II, the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) advanced the practice, albeit tragically, with its Cassia Ring espionage network. These particular “glorious ...

In our continuing drive to spur healthy debate in the national security space, The Cipher Brief is running TCB expert John Sipher’s book review in riposte to our podcast with author Daniel Golden. We also invite you to join in the conversation, posting your point of view for submission at ...

Brad Thor’s latest thriller Foreign Agent is the fifteenth in his Scot Harvath series, and finds former Navy SEAL Harvath fighting both ISIS and evil Russians bent on luring the U.S. into another war in the Middle East.  As an espionage snob, I was fully prepared to write a nasty ...