Michael F. Scheuer


Scheuer, Michael F., writing as "Anonymous." Imperial Hubris: Why the West Is Losing the War on Terror. Washington, DC: Brassey's, 2004.

Washington Post, "CIA Insider: The Threat We Refuse to Get," 11 Jul. 2004, B1, publishes "selected portions from various sections" of Imperial Hubris. USA Today, 19 Jul. 2004, 13A, carries a full-page interview with "Anonymous." Killebrew, Parameters 35.2 (Summer 2005), calls this an "insightful, bitter, worrisome book. It is also the most consequential critique of the war on terror yet published, deeply historical, broadly researched, and crisply articulated.... [While] the author's strategic proposals seem to fall short,... his call for objectivity, accountability, and expertise in our response to the Islamic insurgency is much more on target."

According to Pincus, Washington Post, 26 Jun. 2004, this book "sharply attacks the Bush administration's approach to Islamic terrorists, sternly criticizes the decision to invade Iraq and chides officials for trying to create a Western-style democracy in Afghanistan.... The book's author is a 22-year veteran of the CIA who ... served as chief of the bin Laden station from 1996 to 1999, a time when, he complains, senior leaders 'downplayed intelligence' and 'ignored repeated warnings' about the dangers approaching from Islamic terrorists."

Clarke, Washington Post, 27 Jun. 2004, calls Imperial Hubris "a powerful, persuasive analysis of the terrorist threat and the Bush administration's failed efforts to fight it.... Anonymous has painted a detailed picture of th[e] enemy.... The enemy is 'an Islamic insurgency,' a multinational movement to replace governments in the Islamic world with fundamentalist theocracies." For Brooks, NIPQ 20. 4 (Dec. 2004), this "is a well-written work by a man who is obviously well-read and thoughtful." Although the book is "rather repetitive, loosely organized, and duplicative of his previous work [Through Our Enemies' Eyes (2002)]," it is also "eloquent and persuasive."

To Chapman, IJI&C 18.4 (Winter 2005-2006), "Scheuer's book contains strong, provocative, heady stuff, but adds to public knowledge of the Islamic insurgencies that rock the world." Whether the author "is right or wrong, there's logic in what he has written." This work "should be read carefully by U.S. national leaders and not forgotten."

Joyner, Strategic Insights 3.9 (Sep. 2004) [http://www.ccc.nps.navy.mil], believes that the author "is an intelligent, dedicated man who has spent his adult lifetime studying terrorism, Islamist radicalism, and Osama bin Laden. As such, his insights deserve attention. His core argument -- that we are fighting against a large, Islamist jihad rather than a discrete terrorist organization -- is quite compelling. Many of the conclusions that follow from that premise, while exceedingly frightening and anathema to the current mores of American political culture, should be debated. My fear is that the powerful arguments he marshals ... will be largely dismissed because of the sneering tone and style. It will certainly be taken less seriously by the key decision makers whom he insults than it would have had he restrained his desire to vent his frustrations."


Scheuer, Michael. "Inside Out." Atlantic 295, no. 3 (Apr. 2005): 30.

"Career advancement in al-Qaeda tends to wash away much of the mercenary hypocrisy found at the entry level.... The odds of our ever having an informant among the senior al-Qaeda decision-makers are remote."


Scheuer, Michael F. "Tenet Tries to Shift the Blame. Don't Buy It." Washington Post, 29 Apr. 2007, B1. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

The author rips George Tenet as "a man who never went from cheerleader to leader." Tenet "helped preside over every step of the [clandestine] service's decline during three consecutive administrations -- Bush, Clinton, Bush -- in a series of key intelligence jobs for the Senate, the National Security Council and the CIA.... [W]hat troubles me most is Tenet's handling of the opportunities that CIA officers gave the Clinton administration to capture or kill bin Laden between May 1998 and May 1999.... [S]everal key Clinton counterterrorism insiders ... have reported that Tenet consistently denigrated the targeting data on bin Laden, causing the president and his team to lose confidence in the hard-won intelligence."


Scheuer, Michael F., writing as "Anonymous." Through Our Enemies' Eyes: Osama bin Laden, Radical Islam, and the Future of America. Washington, DC: Brassey's, 2002.

According to Peake, Studies 48.1, the author "seeks to explain bin Laden the man, provides context and reasons for his abhorrance of the West, describes the religious basis for its intensity.... The story of bin Laden is unpleasant and disturbing, but well told. For him and his followers, Islam is the superior religion and way of life.... And since the behavior of the United States appears to Muslims as inconsistent with that view, its physical elimination is warranted."


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