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 ...

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 ...

Lea Carpenter’s second novel, Red, White, Blue is a love story wrapped in a novel about what it means to be a spy.  It’s a story about a father and daughter, about a marriage, and about unraveling the real story of why spies do what they do.   They story ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...