Tyler Drumheller, the recently retired CIA Chief for the
European Division during the build up for the war in Iraq is out with a
great new book, On the Brink.
Tyler’s account takes you inside the CIA during the month before 9-11
and through the start of the war in Iraq. He was in charge of all
U.S. clandestine operations in Europe, including Turkey. But
beyond a look back at what went wrong with Iraq from an intelligence
perspective, Tyler offers a devastating critique of how the Bush
Administration has engaged in an unprecedented politicization of the
CIA. In corrupting the intelligence community the Bush
Administration has put the nation at greater risk and hobbled an
important government resource.
Tyler’s book is unique because it offers the first insider’s account
about the events surrounding the build up to the war in Iraq, including
the backstory on Curveball (the Iraqi fabricator) and the interactions
with our British and Turkish allies. (Although CIA censors
prevented Tyler from naming specific countries, a careful reader can
easily pick out who is who.) On the Brink
is a perfect companion to the other books published this year
recounting the fabrication and failure that is Iraq–Fiasco (by Tom
Ricks), Hubris (by David Corn and Michael Isikoss), Cobra II (by
Bernard Trainor and Michael Gordon), Imperial Life in the Emerald City
(by Rajiv Chandrasekaran) and State of Denial (by Bob “late to the
party” Woodward). Taken as a whole, these volumes tell a
disturbing and horrifiying story of how our nation’s security has been
hijacked and squandered by the very people sworn to protect it.
Tyler fleshes out the intelligence portion of the story.
Tyler fought an uphill battle in trying to get this book out.
CIA editors did their best to quash the story and keep it off the
shelves before the November elections. Notwithstanding the
bureaucratic and procedural obstacles erected to thwart the book, Tyler
still manges to tell a compelling story.