Eyes, Ears, and Daggers

Eyes, Ears, and Daggers

Special Operations Forces and the Central Intelligence Agency in America’s Evolving Struggle against Terrorism

Author: Thomas H. Henriksen
ISBN: 978-0-8179-1974-0
Publication Date: 10/1/2016

Both the Special Operations Forces (SOF) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) have served as the nation’s eyes, ears, and daggers, often in close cooperation but occasionally at cross- purposes throughout their histories. In this book, Thomas H. Henriksen examines the warrior-spy connection both before and after the formation of the SOF and the CIA, suggesting that their history is notable for instances of cooperating, competing, circumventing, and even cutting each other out of the action before the 9/11 terrorist attacks brought about their present close alignment.

Henriksen shows how, by adopting an intelligence-driven, targeted counterstrike weapon against terrorists, the United States went from a Cold War Goliath to a more nimble force, thanks largely to the SOF and CIA contributions. But their contemporary blending, he suggests, could be just a temporary realignment and that a return to their traditional rivalry is not out of the question. By revisiting and appreciating their respective histories before partnering to combat Islamist terrorism, he provides a clearer understanding of their interaction and offers lessons for the struggle against extremist violence.

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Thomas H. Henriksen

TThomas H. Henriksen is an emeritus senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, where he focuses on American foreign policy, international political affairs, and insurgencies. He specializes in the study of US diplomatic and military courses of action toward terrorist havens in the non-Western world and toward rogue regimes.


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Acronyms and Abbreviations
Chapter One: America’s Early Unconventional Ventures
Chapter Two: World War II and After: The Catalysts for Cloak and Dagger
Chapter Three: Specialized Soldiering and Intelligence Operatives in the Vietnam War
Chapter Four: The Emergence of a New Security Architecture
Chapter Five: September 11th and the Integration of Special Operators and Intelligence Officers
Chapter Six: The SOF-CIA Fusion Concept in Two Theaters
Chapter Seven: SOF-CIA in Yemen, Somalia, and Beyond
About the Author

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