"Black Site: The CIA in the Post 9/11 World"

Aug 15, 2019

Our guest is Philip Mudd, former deputy director of the CIA Counterterrorist Center, who tells us about his new book, "Black Site." It depicts one of the most controversial and unsettling initiatives in American history -- i.e., the post-9/11 counterterrorism effort created and led by the CIA. Just after September 11, 2001, as we learn, the CIA evolved into a war-fighting intelligence service, constructing what was known internally as "the Program" -- a web of top-secret detention facilities intended to help prevent future attacks on American soil and worldwide. As was noted of this book by Kirkus Reviews: "[This is] an insider's view of life inside the CIA following 9/11, when all the old protocols were off. In theory, the CIA is above politics. In fact, writes Mudd...the agency takes its cues from presidential directives, to say nothing of sometimes-veiled remarks by senior administration officials. After 9/11, agency leaders held that it was George W. Bush's 'presidential guidance [that was] one of the pillars that later led them down the path to the Program.' The Program in question was a sweeping set of reforms that provided mandates for capturing suspected al-Qaida members and other terrorists and extracting information from them in various unpleasant ways -- so unpleasant that, given American sensitivities, the work was often done in 'black sites' in other countries and sometimes farmed out to intelligence agents working for other governments...."