Breakdown, by Bill Gertz

July 29, 2010 at 20:31 (Book Reviews, Historical, Poorly Rated Books) (, , , , , )

2/10

One cannot really fault Gertz too much. It is a reporter’s job to say “it will all be fine if you listen to me,” and, “it’s all the fault of the guy at the top.” Which is really all that he does. Repeatedly. For two-hundred bloated pages. This is no page-turner packed with corruption and smoking guns, but a rather sad trip through the crummy motel rooms and apartments of people who have a grudge against the CIA and over-inflated views of their own importance.

Almost all of the purported evidence in this book is simply the cobbled-together accounts of former employees of this agency or that bureau. It makes for bitter reading, that is for sure. And yes, Gertz is right that somewhere a ball was dropped. But his bizzare assertion that we just need some good ol’ boys to dress like foreigners and get us some good old fashioned human intelligence can sound a little naïf after a while. One rather gets the impression that if we just placed our hope (and the reins, don’t forget) in the hands of Joe-the-honest-hardworking-cop, we’d be raking terrorists from the streets faster than anything. At the end of the day, we’ve heard everything in this book before. Clinton, bureaucrats, agency directors and Commies were to blame; Reagan, cops, soldiers and American know-how will save us. And al Qaeda will be gone in five years. Why do I keep reading books by journalists?

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