He may be the best-known “Anonymous” man in Washington these days. Over the
past two weeks, he has appeared for interviews — always in the shadows,
his face unseen — on almost every national television network. He is a
23-year veteran of the CIA and the author of a new book, “Imperial Hubris:
Why the West Is Losing the War on Terror.” As a CIA employee, he had to
submit his manuscript for agency review. The CIA allowed him and his
Virginia publisher, Brassey’s, to go ahead with the book on the condition
that he maintain his anonymity.

By requiring him to withhold his identity but allowing him to publish as
Anonymous, the CIA has actually drawn attention to the book (it briefly
alighted on Amazon.com’s best-selling top 10 last week). That prompted the
Washington speculation machine to wonder whether the book somehow serves
the CIA’s interests.

At this point, his name is about the only basic biographical detail that
hasn’t become known. He writes in his book that he has spent most of his
career at “headquarters,” where he has worked as an analyst for the past 17
years, “focusing exclusively on terrorism, Islamic insurgencies, militant
Islam and the affairs of South Asia.” Other biographical details come from
reporters and published reports: From 1996 until he was transferred in
1999, he was in charge of a special office set up to oversee the
intelligence effort on Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda. His transfer wasn’t
voluntary; his blunt manner and strident views apparently did not sit well
with some in the intelligence community, and he was taken off the al Qaeda
portfolio. He returned to the counterterrorism field on Sept. 12, 2001, but
not specifically to the al Qaeda desk. He has told interviewers that he
wrote “Imperial Hubris” to send a message, and he minces no words in his
criticism of White House and CIA leadership. An example: He scorns “senior
leaders” as “moral cowards” for ignoring warnings he says they received
about al Qaeda


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