In Denial joins Shadow Warfare (with Stu Wexler) and Creating Chaoso complete a three part study of covert warfare in both the 20th and 21st Centuries.
Shadow Warfare dug deeply into why and how the United States carried out covert action – the tactics, tools, covers, practices and oversight (or lack thereof). It also exposed the personal and legal risks involved for the personnel involved as well as the consequences for everyone, from collateral damage to the impact on American governance – especially in regard to relationship between the Commander in Chief and Congress.
Creating Chaos is a study of political warfare, from the basics of political action through propaganda and disinformation and into full blown efforts to fragment and undermine targeted regimes. It examines the historical practices and then extends them through American and Soviet political warfare during the Cold War and into more contemporary political warfare of the Russian Federation, in Europe and against the United States. In doing so it details how age old practices have become dramatically more effective in an age of global interconnection, and in particular with global access to advanced targeting capabilities against social networks.
I approached In Denial as a similar study of covert action, comparing its practices in both the 20th and 21st Century. In one sense it is an exploration of a simple question – why do regimes and political leaders consistently turn to secret warfare when it can be shown to almost always fruitless in the long run, with extremely negative political consequences and collateral damages.
However in doing that study, it quickly became apparent that the most highly visible and well documented example of secret warfare gone wrong was the Cuba Project / Bay of Pigs effort as conducted under the Eisenhower and Kennedy administrations. And in examining the huge amount of detail, including from a number of new sources, that story emerged into what can only be considered a rebuttal of much of the popular history of that effort – in particular as regards to the Bay of Pigs. As it turns out much of the popular history and media coverage is based in both outright lies and intentionally planted misinformation.
As one reader commented, In Denial is the most heavily cited book I’ve ever written. And that’s true, when you decide to joust with popular history you need to be ready for the engagement – and both engagement and detail are what readers will find in the book. Hopefully they will think it worth the read.