Michael R. Gordon


Gordon, Michael R. "'Campus Activist to Insider': C.I.A. Choice's Inner Journey." New York Times, 11 Jan. 1993, A1, A14.


Gordon, Michael R. "Ex-Soviet Pilot Still Insists KAL-007 Was Spying." New York Times, 9 Dec. 1996, A6 (N).

The author interviews retired Lt. Col. Gennadi Osipovich, the Soviet pilot who shot down KAL-007 on 1 September 1983. Osipovich states that he knew he was dealing with a civilian plane, not an RC-135, but insists that the jet was on a spy mission and did not have civilian passengers aboard.


Gordon, Michael R. "In Cold War Throwback, Moscow Says London Runs a Spy Ring." New York Times, 8 May 1996, A13.


Gordon, Michael R. "Moscow Court Backs Treason Charge for Atom-Waste Exposer." New York Times, 5 Feb. 1999. [http://www.nytimes.com]

Alexander Nikitin "was arrested three years ago after helping to document environmental pollution by Russia's northern fleet" and charged with treason. On 4 February 1999, Russia's Supreme Court refused to drop those charges.


Gordon, Michael R. "Russian Military Loses Satellites." New York Times, 22 Nov. 1996, A1, A6 (N).

Russian and Western scientists report that Russia has been without photo reconnaissance satellites for almost two months. The last operable photo satellite burned up on reentry on 28 September 1996. A launch effort on 20 June 1996 failed.


Gordon, Michael R. "Russians Detain U.S. Diplomat, Calling Her a Spy." New York Times, 1 Dec. 1999. [http://www.nytimes.com]

On 30 November 1999, Russia temporarily detained U.S. diplomat Cheri Leberknight, accusing her of spying. "The Russians ... asserted that she was a CIA officer who was working under cover as a second secretary at the American Embassy.... Russian officials said that Ms. Leberknight carried a map showing her meeting point and was equipped with a variety of devices to determine if she was under surveillance."


Gordon, Michael R. "Russia Ousts U.S. Officer as Ties Sour Over Kosovo." New York Times, 4 Jul. 1999. [http://www.nytimes.com]

The assistant Army attache at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, Lt. Col. Peter Hoffman, has been declared persona non grata; he departed Russia on 1 July 1999. The Russian action is seen as "a fresh sign of the tensions that have grown between the United States and Russia since the war in Kosovo."

[GenPostwar/90s/Gen; Russia/99]

Gordon, Michael R. "Special Forces Hunt Al Qaeda on the Ground." New York Times, 15 Nov. 2001. [http://www.nytimes.com]

Senior U.S officials said on 15 November 2001 that "[m]ore than 100 American commandos are in southern Afghanistan, driving around in special vehicles and carrying out covert operations against the Taliban and Al Qaeda leaders."


Gordon, Michael R., and Mark Mazzetti. "U.S. Used Base in Ethiopia to Hunt Al Qaeda in Africa." New York Times, 23 Feb. 2007. [http://www.nytimes.com]

According to American officials, a U.S. Special Operations unit, Task Force 88, deployed in Ethiopia and Kenya, "waged a campaign from Ethiopia [in January 2007] to capture or kill top leaders of Al Qaeda in the Horn of Africa, including the use of an airstrip in eastern Ethiopia to mount airstrikes against Islamic militants in neighboring Somalia." U.S. officials described the effort "as a qualified success that disrupted terrorist networks in Somalia, [and] led to the death or capture of several Islamic militants." The officials "said that Fazul Abdullah Mohammed, the mastermind of the 1998 embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania and the alleged ringleader of Al Qaeda's East African cell, remains at large."

[MI/SpecOps/00s; Terrorism/07]

Gordon, Michael R., and David E. Sanger. "Bush Approves Covert Aid for Taliban Foes." New York Times, 1 Oct. 2001. [http://www.nytimes.com]

Administration officials said on 30 September 2001 that "President Bush has approved a secret effort to strengthen a diverse array of groups opposing the Taliban rulers of Afghanistan."


Gordon, Michael R., and Bernard E. Trainor [LTGEN/USMC (Ret.)]. Cobra II: The Inside Story of the Invasion and Occupation of Iraq. New York: Pantheon, 2006.

Peake, Studies 50.4 (2006) and Intelligencer 15.2 (Fall-Winter 2006-2007), notes that the majority of this book focuses on the "successful thrust that took Baghdad in 2003." However, "significant portions are devoted to the invasion planning and follow-up, which the authors find deeply flawed. They name names, describe incredible bureaucratic infighting, identify errors in strategic guidance, and conclude that civilian decision making has no place in deciding the details involved in executing tactical military operations."

To Prados, I&NS 21.6 (Dec. 2006), this is "not really a book about intelligence." The treatment of prewar weapons of mass destruction is "brief," and the authors "provide no significant coverage of the deception and psychological operations carried out before the war." In addition, the authors do not appear to know much about how the CIA is organized. Hutchinson, IJI&C 20.1 (Spring 2007), says that this "is an excellent book" in which the authors lay "a sound basis for analysis and conclusions that are forthrightly stated.... The authors' interviews with former CENTCOM planners document the many frustrations and anxieties accompanying" the two years of planning that preceded the Iraq invasion.

Brooks, NIPQ 30.3 (Jul.-Sep. 2006), calls this work "a remarkable piece of research." It provides "an excellent appreciation of what went on prior to and during the assault on Iraq.... It also makes abundantly clear that there was an almost total lack of planning for the occupation phase." For Freedman, FA 85.5 (Sep.-Oct. 2006), "[t]he research is meticulous and properly sourced, the narrative authoritative, the human aspects of conflict never forgotten.... The one disappointment here is that the post-2003 story is only sketched."

"If you read one book on the war in Iraq, let it be Cobra II" is the advice offered by Laslie, Air & Space Power Journal 21.1 (Spring 2007). The reviewer finds that the book "pulls no punches. If someone made a mistake in the planning or execution of the Iraq campaign, this book reveals it. No one is spared the authors' scrutiny, whether former secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld or lieutenant colonels at the tactical level of execution. That said, Gordon and Trainor do an excellent balancing act as they trace the origins of the war through buildup and execution. One finds enough strategic-/operational-/tactical-level discussion to gain an overall view of the war from multiple levels and satisfy the desires of amateur tacticians and strategic thinkers alike."


Gordon, Michael R., and Bernard E. Trainor [LTGEN/USMC (Ret.)]. The Generals' War. Boston: Little, Brown, 1995.

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