BOOK REVIEW:  Hunting the Caliphate: America's War on ISIS and the Dawn of the Strike Cell By Dana J.H. Pittard and Wes J. Bryant Reviewed by Brian Raymond Brian Raymond served as National Security Council Director for Iraq from 2014-2015. He participated in numerous meetings with President Obama in the ...

BOOK REVIEW: Madame Fourcade’s Secret War:  The Daring Young Woman Who Led France’s Largest Spy Network Against Hitler By Lynne Olson Reviewed by Rick Ledgett Rick Ledgett served as the Deputy Director of the National Security Agency from January 2014 until his retirement in April 2017, culminating a nearly 40-year career ...

BOOK REVIEW: Life Undercover: Coming of Age in the CIA  By Amaryllis Fox Reviewed by Suzanne Kelly Suzanne Kelly is CEO & Publisher of The Cipher Brief. She previously served as an Intelligence Correspondent and Executive Producer for CNN. Prior to that, she was a freelance anchor for CNN International ...

TV SERIES REVIEW: The SPY A Netflix Miniseries Reviewed by Paul Kolbe Paul Kolbe is Director of The Intelligence Project at Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.  Kolbe also led BP’s global Intelligence and Analysis team supporting threat warning, risk mitigation, and crisis response.  Prior to that, ...

Undercover readers might remember that we introduced you this past spring to Bill Rapp, a former CIA analyst turned author.  He’s an interesting character in his own right, with the look and charm of Sam Elliott.  In his new book, The Budapest Escape, Rapp brings back old characters and descriptions ...

BOOK REVIEW: Black Site: The CIA in the Post-9/11 World by Philip Mudd, former Deputy Director of the CIA Counterterrorist Center and FBI National Security Branch Reviewed by Christopher Messina The subject of Black Site: The CIA in the Post-9/11 World is one many Americans will have strong opinions about. ...

REVIEW: Information Wars: How We Lost the Global Battle Against Disinformation and What We Can Do About It by Richard Stengel Reviewed by Cindy L. Otis Cindy L. Otis served in the CIA as a military analyst, intelligence briefer, and manager in the Directorate of Intelligence. While at the CIA, ...

BOOK REVIEW: Sailing True North: Ten Admirals and the Voyage of Character By Admiral James Stavridis, USN (Ret.) Reviewed by John Nixon John Nixon was a senior leadership analyst with the CIA from 1998 to 2011. He did several tours in Iraq and was recognized by a number of federal agencies ...

BOOK REVIEW: The Killing in the Consulate: Investigating the Life and Death of Jamal Khashoggi By Jonathan Rugman Reviewed by Nick Fishwick Nick Fishwick CMG retired in 2012 after nearly thirty years in the British Foreign Service. He did postings in Lagos, Istanbul and Kabul. His responsibilities in London included director ...

BOOK REVIEW: The Compatriots: The Brutal and Chaotic History of Russia’s Exiles, Emigres, and Agents Abroad By Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan Reviewed by Joseph W. Augustyn Joseph W. Augustyn is a 28 year-year veteran of the CIA’s Directorate of Operations, and once served as the Director of the Defector Resettlement ...

BOOK REVIEW: Guardian: Life in the Crosshairs of the CIA’s War on Terror By Thomas Pecora Reviewed by Mike Howard Mike Howard is the former Chief Security Officer for Microsoft, where he worked for 16 years.  He is also a former CIA Security and Operations Officer, a role which he held ...

BOOK REVIEW:  Empty Hearts By Juli Zeh Reviewed by Carol Rollie Flynn Carol Rollie Flynn is CEO/Managing Principal at Singa Consulting and a 30-year veteran of the Central Intelligence Agency where she served as Executive Director of the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center, and Chief of Station in major posts in Southeast ...

BOOK REVIEW:  Public Diplomacy: Foundations for Global Engagement in the Digital Era By Nicholas J. Cull Reviewed by Jeff Patterson, PhD Jeff Patterson, PhD, is a lecturer in strategic communications and political strategy at The University of Texas at Austin.  In his latest book, Public Diplomacy: Foundations for Global Engagement in ...

BOOK REVIEW:  Inside the Five-Sided Box: Lessons from a Lifetime of Leadership in the Pentagon By Ash Carter, former Secretary of Defense Reviewed by Carol Saynisch, M.A., APR Carol Saynisch is a Washington state-based journalist/geopolitical analyst. She has worked with Pentagon-connected international defense contractors since 1994 and has written scenarios and simulated ...

BOOK REVIEW: Madame Fourcade’s Secret War:  The Daring Young Woman Who Led France’s Largest Spy Network Against Hitler By Lynne Olson Reviewed by Nada Bakos Nada Bakos is a former CIA Analyst and author of the book, The Targeter: My Life in the CIA Hunting Terrorists and Challenging the White ...

Former CIA and FBI official Phil Mudd knows a lot of details you probably don't about CIA black sites.  He knows, because he was associated with the enhanced interrogation program that took place post 9/11.  Now, Mudd has written a new book, Black Site: The CIA in the Post-9/11 World that ...

BOOK REVIEW: Lincoln’s Spies      By Douglas Waller Reviewed by Michael Sulick Michael Sulick was the director of CIA’s National Clandestine Service.  He also served as Chief of Counterintelligence and Chief of the Central Eurasia Division where he was responsible for intelligence collection operations and foreign liaison relationships in Russia, Eastern ...

Alex Finley worked for CIA’s Directorate of Operations for about six years in the early 2000s.  Her roles took her to places like West Africa and Europe and also allowed for some time at Headquarters in Langley. Her work as a reports officer - which serves as a bridge between ...

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: THE NEW GIRL     By Daniel Silva Reviewed by Robert Richer, Former Associate Deputy Director for Operations, CIA Richer retired from the CIA in November 2005. Prior to his assignment as the ADDO in 2004, Richer was the Chief of the Near East and South Asia Division, responsible ...

Editors note: Daniel Silva is one of America’s most prolific and popular novelists.  His latest book, The New Girl, is officially out today, July 16th. Look for a full review of the book in The Cipher Brief this Friday, written by Cipher Brief Expert Rob Richer, who himself has had ...

[ED NOTE from Cipher Brief CEO Suzanne Kelly: I met Nada Bakos, the author of The Targeter:  My Life in the CIA, Hunting Terrorists and Challenging the White House, nearly a decade ago.  We had a mutual friend, whom Bakos refers to only as ‘Katherine’ in the book and the ...

Under/Cover is constantly probing for insights that will help readers (and writers) understand how to gauge demand, and how to know if that story they have burning inside of them, is actually a book.  We recently spoke with Bruce Nichols, Senior Vice President & Publisher of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt's (HMH) ...

BOOK REVIEW: THE SPY IN MOSCOW STATION     By Eric Haseltine Reviewed by Paul Kolbe, Former Member CIA's Senior Intelligence Service While reading The Spy in Moscow Station, I kept noticing a sub-tone emanating from the narrative, a steady low signal, like tinnitus through a subwoofer. I couldn’t place the ...

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:   Surprise, Kill, Vanish: The Secret History of CIA Paramilitary Armies, Operators and Assassins By Annie Jacobsen Reviewed by former CIA Paramilitary Operations Officer, Ian Allen In Neither Victims Nor Executioners, Albert Camus recalled “certain friends” – presumably Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre – who had accused him ...

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:  Cult of the Dead Cow – How the Original Hacking Supergroup Might Just Save the World  By Joseph Menn  Reviewed by Christopher Messina Joseph Menn has good timing. The topic of cybersecurity has attained a degree of cultural currency that is still waxing. His book is part historical ...

BOOK REVIEW: The Moscow Rules: The Secret CIA Tactics That Helped America Win the Cold War By Antonio and Jonna Mendez Reviewed by Robert Dannenberg, 24-year CIA veteran who was responsible for running Moscow operations both from CIA headquarters and in the field  “There is no limit to a human being’s ...

BOOK REVIEW: Leading Intelligence Analysis: Lessons from the CIA’s Analytic Front Lines By Bruce E. Pease Reviewed by Christopher A. Corpora, PhD., Professor of Practice in Intelligence Studies, Mercyhurst University Many industries, governments and other complex social environments present a wide range of challenges to those who might lead in these ...

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: Honorable Exit: How A Few Brave Americans Risked All to Save Our Vietnamese Allies at the End of the War By Thurston Clarke Reviewed by Bill Harlow, former CIA Officer and Senior Book Editor, The Cipher Brief Most observers would probably say that the United States’ involvement in ...

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: The Back Channel: A Memoir of American Diplomacy and the Case for Its Renewal By William Burns Reviewed by Gary Grappo, former U.S. Ambassador who held senior positions in Baghdad, Oman and Saudi Arabia Writing a memoir is something of a rite of passage for retiring senior government officials and diplomats. ...

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 ...

Bill Rapp’s real story is just as interesting as the ones he makes up. The former CIA Analyst began working in West Germany back when the country was still divided after World War II.  He also worked in Turkey and the Aegean, Canada, Iraq and London. It wasn’t where he ...

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: 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: 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 ...

BOOK REVIEW:  Breaking and Entering: The Extraordinary Story of a Hacker Called ‘Alien’ By Jeremy N. Smith Reviewed by Niloofar Razi Howe Hacking new technology is an old sport. In June 1903, Italian inventor and eventual Nobel Prize Winner Guglielmo Marconi held a public demonstration of his new wireless telegraph ...

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 ...

It’s not exactly his first conspiracy, but thriller writer Brad Meltzer’s new book, First Conspiracy: The Secret Plot to Kill George Washington, is the author’s first non-fiction foray. Co-written with documentary producer Josh Mensch, The First Conspiracy pieces together the previously untold story about a secret plot to kill George ...

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, ...

John Carlin brings a wealth of government experience to his new book, co-written with author Garrett M. Graff, Dawn of the Code War: America’s Battle Against Russia, China, and the Rising Global Cyber Threat. Part of that government experience includes serving as the former Assistant Attorney General for National Security, ...

Brad Thor has made a career out of secrets and espionage, and using them to craft the kind of adventures most people only ever dream about.  For the past (nearly) two decades, he's been cranking out a novel a year, (one year, he wrote two) and he’s managed to successfully ...

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 ...