Hard Measures: How Aggressive CIA Actions After 9/11 Saved American Lives

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An explosive memoir about the creation and implementation of the controversial Enhanced Interrogation Techniques by the former Chief Operations Officer for the CIA's Counterterrorism Center.

While the American public is aware of the CIA’s use of highly controversial “enhanced interrogation techniques,” few know the man who, in the wake of September 11, led all U.S. counterterrorism operations and oversaw the use of those procedures—procedures that obtained vital and timely intelligence and helped safeguard the nation from future attacks.

Puerto Rican–born Jose A. Rodriguez, Jr., served the United States for twenty-five years as an undercover officer before bringing his wealth of field knowledge to the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center; now, in this riveting account and fascinating life story, one of America’s top undercover operatives reveals how hard measures have derailed terrorist activity targeting the U.S., and saved countless American lives. Fully disclosed here for the first time are the undercover operations and tactics implemented during the George W. Bush presidency—which were approved by the highest levels of the U.S. government, certified as legal by the Department of Justice, and supported by bipartisan leadership of congressional intelligence oversight committees.

But as the shock of 9/11 faded, the support that the intelligence community enjoyed and deserved gave way to shortsighted and potentially dangerous political correctness. One by one, the tools needed to successfully fight terrorism were banished, and the men and women who volunteered to carry out our nation’s orders in combating al-Qa'ida found themselves second-guessed, hamstrung, and investigated— including Rodriguez himself. In effect, the United States has chosen to willfully and unilaterally disarm itself in the war on terror. In Hard Measures, Rodriguez convincingly argues for the techniques used, and uncompromisingly details when these techniques were necessary, why they worked, and how, ultimately, they contributed to the capture of the world’s most-wanted terror operatives, including Usama bin Ladin. From law school student to CIA recruit to his role as America’s top spy, Rodriguez’s full story is one of utmost importance—a rare, insider’s look at an issue that demands attention. Above all, it’s a reasoned, imperative, and fully informed case for hard measures, and an explosive and gripping account of the real war on terror— where it’s been and where it’s headed.

***

Terrorism has always been one of the toughest targets on which to collect intelligence. The secrets you want to steal frequently don’t reside in computer systems, which can be hacked, or safes, which can be broken into, but in the inner recesses of a handful of individuals’ minds.

The cliché about intelligence work is that it is like working on a thousand-piece jigsaw puzzle but not having the box top to show you what the finished picture should look like. If only it were that easy. In fact, it is more like working on a million-piece puzzle with no box top, and having millions more random pieces that look like they might fit, but actually are from different puzzles altogether.

It fell to us to make sense of the countless fragments of information and to take action on the chunks of the puzzle, which represented a real and growing threat to the United States and our allies.

—from Hard Measures
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About the author

Jose A. Rodriguez, Jr., joined the Central Intelligence Agency in 1976 and served with the Agency for thirty-one years. At the time of his retirement he was the Director of the National Clandestine Service for the CIA, responsible for the coordination of clandestine human operations for the intelligence community. As a former Director of the Counterterrorism Center, he led the worldwide intelligence collection programs and covert action operations against international terrorist organizations following the ouster of terrorists from Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks.

Bill Harlow is the former chief spokesman for the Central Intelligence Agency. He was the coauthor of former CIA director George Tenet’s #1 New York Times bestseller At the Center of the Storm, published in 2007. He is a retired Naval Officer who served in top spokesman jobs at the White House, Pentagon, and CIA.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Simon and Schuster
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Published on
Apr 30, 2012
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Pages
288
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ISBN
9781451663495
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Political Science / General
Political Science / Intelligence & Espionage
Political Science / Political Freedom
Social Science / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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James E. Mitchell, Ph.D.
In the dark days immediately after 9/11, the CIA turned to Dr. James Mitchell to help craft an interrogation program designed to elicit intelligence from just-captured top al-Qa'ida leaders and terror suspects.  

A civilian contractor who had spent years training U.S. military members to resist interrogation should they be captured, Mitchell, aware of the urgent need to prevent impending catastrophic attacks, worked with the CIA to implement "enhanced interrogation techniques"--which included waterboarding.

In Enhanced Interrogation, Mitchell now offers a first-person account of the EIT program, providing a contribution to our historical understanding of one of the most controversial elements of America's ongoing war on terror.  Readers will follow him inside the secretive "black sites" and cells of terrorists and terror suspects where he personally applied enhanced interrogation techniques.

Mitchell personally questioned thirteen of the most senior high-value detainees in U.S. custody, including Abu Zubaydah; Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, the amir or "commander" of the USS Cole bombing; and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind behind the September 11, 2001, terror attacks--obtaining information that he maintains remains essential to winning the war against al-Qa'ida and informing our strategy to defeat ISIS and all of radical Islam.

From the interrogation program's earliest moments to its darkest hours, Mitchell also lifts the curtain on its immediate effects, the controversy surrounding its methods, and its downfall. He shares his view that EIT, when applied correctly, were useful in drawing detainees to cooperate, and that, when applied incorrectly, they were counter-productive.  He also chronicles what it is like to undertake a several-years-long critical mission at the request of the government only to be hounded for nearly a decade afterward by congressional investigations and Justice Department prosecutors.

Gripping in its detail and deeply illuminating, Enhanced Interrogation argues that it is necessary for America to take strong measures to defend itself from its enemies and that the country is less safe now without them than it was before 9/11.
Joby Warrick
WINNER OF THE 2016 PULITZER PRIZE FOR GENERAL NONFICTION

“A Best Book of 2015”—The New York Times, The Washington Post, People Magazine, San Francisco Chronicle, Kansas City Star, and Kirkus Reviews

In a thrilling dramatic narrative, awarded the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction, Joby Warrick traces how the strain of militant Islam behind ISIS first arose in a remote Jordanian prison and spread with the unwitting aid of two American presidents.
 
   When the government of Jordan granted amnesty to a group of political prisoners in 1999, it little realized that among them was Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a terrorist mastermind and soon the architect of an Islamist movement bent on dominating the Middle East. In Black Flags, an unprecedented character-driven account of the rise of ISIS, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Joby Warrick shows how the zeal of this one man and the strategic mistakes of Presidents Bush and Obama led to the banner of ISIS being raised over huge swaths of Syria and Iraq.
   Zarqawi began by directing terror attacks from a base in northern Iraq, but it was the American invasion in 2003 that catapulted him to the head of a vast insurgency. By falsely identifying him as the link between Saddam and bin Laden, U.S. officials inadvertently spurred like-minded radicals to rally to his cause. Their wave of brutal beheadings and suicide bombings persisted until American and Jordanian intelligence discovered clues that led to a lethal airstrike on Zarqawi’s hideout in 2006.
   His movement, however, endured. First calling themselves al-Qaeda in Iraq, then Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, his followers sought refuge in unstable, ungoverned pockets on the Iraq-Syria border. When the Syrian civil war broke out in 2011, and as the U.S. largely stood by, ISIS seized its chance to pursue Zarqawi’s dream of an ultra-conservative Islamic caliphate.
   Drawing on unique high-level access to CIA and Jordanian sources, Warrick weaves gripping, moment-by-moment operational details with the perspectives of diplomats and spies, generals and heads of state, many of whom foresaw a menace worse than al Qaeda and tried desperately to stop it. Black Flags is a brilliant and definitive history that reveals the long arc of today’s most dangerous extremist threat.


From the Hardcover edition.
James E. Mitchell, Ph.D.
In the dark days immediately after 9/11, the CIA turned to Dr. James Mitchell to help craft an interrogation program designed to elicit intelligence from just-captured top al-Qa'ida leaders and terror suspects.  

A civilian contractor who had spent years training U.S. military members to resist interrogation should they be captured, Mitchell, aware of the urgent need to prevent impending catastrophic attacks, worked with the CIA to implement "enhanced interrogation techniques"--which included waterboarding.

In Enhanced Interrogation, Mitchell now offers a first-person account of the EIT program, providing a contribution to our historical understanding of one of the most controversial elements of America's ongoing war on terror.  Readers will follow him inside the secretive "black sites" and cells of terrorists and terror suspects where he personally applied enhanced interrogation techniques.

Mitchell personally questioned thirteen of the most senior high-value detainees in U.S. custody, including Abu Zubaydah; Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, the amir or "commander" of the USS Cole bombing; and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind behind the September 11, 2001, terror attacks--obtaining information that he maintains remains essential to winning the war against al-Qa'ida and informing our strategy to defeat ISIS and all of radical Islam.

From the interrogation program's earliest moments to its darkest hours, Mitchell also lifts the curtain on its immediate effects, the controversy surrounding its methods, and its downfall. He shares his view that EIT, when applied correctly, were useful in drawing detainees to cooperate, and that, when applied incorrectly, they were counter-productive.  He also chronicles what it is like to undertake a several-years-long critical mission at the request of the government only to be hounded for nearly a decade afterward by congressional investigations and Justice Department prosecutors.

Gripping in its detail and deeply illuminating, Enhanced Interrogation argues that it is necessary for America to take strong measures to defend itself from its enemies and that the country is less safe now without them than it was before 9/11.
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