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Facts and Fears

Hard Truths from a Life in Intelligence
Lu par : Mark Bramhall
Durée : 18 h et 43 min
5 out of 5 stars (1 notation)

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Description

New York Times best seller

The former director of National Intelligence's candid and compelling account of the intelligence community's successes - and failures - in facing some of the greatest threats to America

When he stepped down in January 2017 as the fourth United States director of national intelligence, James Clapper had been President Obama's senior intelligence adviser for six and a half years, longer than his three predecessors combined. He led the US intelligence community through a period that included the raid on Osama bin Laden, the Benghazi attack, the leaks of Edward Snowden, and Russia's influence operation during the 2016 US election campaign. 

In Facts and Fears, Clapper traces his career through the growing threat of cyber attacks, his relationships with presidents and Congress, and the truth about Russia's role in the presidential election. He describes, in the wake of Snowden and WikiLeaks, his efforts to make intelligence more transparent and to push back against the suspicion that Americans' private lives are subject to surveillance. Finally, it was living through Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and seeing how the foundations of American democracy were - and continue to be - undermined by a foreign power that led him to break with his instincts honed through more than five decades in the intelligence profession to share his inside experience.

Clapper considers such controversial questions as: Is intelligence ethical? Is it moral to intercept communications or to photograph closed societies from orbit? What are the limits of what we should be allowed to do? What protections should we give to the private citizens of the world, not to mention our fellow Americans? Are there times when intelligence officers can lose credibility as unbiased reporters of hard truths by inserting themselves into policy decisions?

Facts and Fears offers a privileged look inside the US intelligence community and, with the frankness and professionalism for which James Clapper is known, addresses some of the most difficult challenges in our nation's history.

©2018 James R. Clapper and Trey Brown (P)2018 Penguin Audio

Commentaires

"James Clapper has written the best book on intelligence in a generation.... At a critical time in our nation, [Clapper] offers a crucial insight into the threat we face.... His great sense of humor also makes the book a pleasure to read." (Brookings)

"James Clapper might just be the nation's most experienced intelligence officer ever.... Facts and Fears does more than simply tell Clapper's own story.... Instead, he's written a book that stands with the likes of Robert Gates' first memoir, From the Shadows.... Clapper's book tells the first, thoughtful, in-depth history of the rise of the American intelligence community as a semi-united entity.... Readers of this memoir will find a more complex and nuanced portrait than they might expect. The James Clapper who comes across in the book possesses a self-deprecating charm and a wry sense of humor.... Every chapter of the book offers hard-earned lessons for our modern moment." (Wired

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Global
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  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Cynthia
  • 29/05/2018

Speaking Straight, Unbiased Truth to Power

Retired Director of National Intelligence (and retired USAF Lieutenant General) James R. Clapper’s “Facts and Fears: Hard Truths From a Life in Intelligence” (2018) dropped on Audible the same day as Stephen King’s “The Outsider” (2018). I am a huge fan of Mr. King; the narrator is Will Patton, who I would listen to if he narrated a badly translated blue tooth speaker instruction manual; and I had a very long, tedious drive with limited radio reception. I went with co-author Trey Brown and Mr. Clapper’s “Facts and Fears” because I figured it would be more likely to keep me awake. It sure did.

Mr. Clapper was responsible for some of the most important Innovations in intelligence gathering and analysis in the last half century. In his last job, Mr. Clapper was responsible for all US Intelligence gathering and analysis, both military and civilian.

Mr. Clapper made some mistakes, and got some important intelligence wrong: he misread what was going to happen in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11 to 12, 2012. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three others died when a diplomatic post was attacked. More importantly, he saw evidence of weapons of mass destruction that lead to the 2003 Iraq War - and the “evidence” turned out to be milk pasteurization equipment.

One thing Mr. Clapper didn’t get wrong was the Russian interference with the 2016 US Presidential elections. Mr. Clapper knew some of what was happening, how it was being done and who was doing it long before either presidential candidate clinched their party’s nomination. The Intelligence Community (IC) monitored what Russia, through its government funded media company RT (formerly Russia Today) was doing to try to destabilize the United States as a whole. It wasn’t just the election - RT sowed and continues to foment racial and religious strife.

The book is chronological, and the really scary stuff starts at Chapter 12/Audible Chapter 131, 2 hours and 2 minutes before the end of the book. That’s where Mr. Clapper talks about specific tactics used by Russian President Vladimir Putin and RT, especially social media.

Mr. Clapper made sure President Barrack Obama knew what was happening, but Mr. Clapper could not recommend how he should respond. His job was to gather intelligence and present it truthfully, but not to apply it to US policy.

For anyone looking for an admission that the IC was spying on Mr. Trump’s campaign - it’s not in this book. No, this Tweet from the President that “Clapper has now admitted that there was Spying in my campaign. Large dollars were paid to the Spy, far beyond normal. Starting to look like one of the biggest political scandals in U.S. history. SPYGATE - a terrible thing!" (Twitter, at realDonaldTrump, May 24, 2018) is just wrong.

Mr. Clapper’s dedication to advancing women, the LGBTQ community and other minorities was unexpected. I’m a veteran myself and I don’t know that I was ever at the same duty station Mr. Clapper was at the same time, but to quote Clint Eastwood in “Heartbreak Ridge” (1986), “Well, we sure as hell chewed some of the same dirt, sir.” Opportunities, both civilian and military, for anyone who wasn’t a straight white Protestant male were limited or nonexistent when I served. Mr. Clapper worked hard to change that.

I haven’t listened to Mr. Kong’s “The Outsider” yet, but Mr. Clapper’s book was so compelling I finished the 18 hour book in three days. I did have it on x1.25 speed. Mark Bramhall, the narrator, has a voice of deliberate, too-slow gravitas and x1.25 sounded just fine.

The title of this review is a quote from the book - and the way Mr. Clapper did his job from intelligence briefings in Vietnam to congressional hearings even after he retired, in 2017.

[If this review helped, please press YES. Thanks.]

235 personnes ont trouvé cela utile

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Colleen Collins
  • 25/05/2018

Great Recent History

Very little of this book is about Trump. It is a life story of a man who was born into the intelligence community, and continued for 50 years. He tells wonderful back stories of foreign affairs. He starts in intelligence with "a piece of acetate, a grease pencil and two corporals", and transitions through the high tech information gathering of today. He is open and humble about some of the biggest intel blunders in recent history. You learn much about Russia and the 2016 election. You will know why he hates Trump, and how much he loves America.

89 personnes ont trouvé cela utile

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  • richard
  • 29/05/2018

wOw. Well done!

This is a long BOT... but- it is very well done, AND Jim Clapper giving his, for the most part, half-century worth of Intelligence background/work is, I think, relevant for you to fully accept his credibility... which, before I bought this work, I don't know which side of the fence I would fall on.
However- now... after enjoying this work (and he DOES have a sense of humor), I find him 100% credible... and trump inversely so. Clapper also does some pretty thorough work explaining in detail the how and whys of events during the campaign, and afterwards. Insightful!
The very worst thing I can say isn't about the book... but the recording, or rather editing, of the vocal (being a recording engineer myself)... when edits were needed in the recording... care wasn't taken to assure the voice sounded consistent between the original recording(s), and the edit recordings. You may, or may not notice... or care. It's not a factor, really... it just stands out for me.
None the less... if you have ANY interest in how the intelligence world operates, and how it has evolved since the 60s... you WILL want to get this one!

35 personnes ont trouvé cela utile

  • Global
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anne
  • 25/05/2018

This is a very important book that everyone who is concerned with preserving our democracy must read.

Although the beginning of the story of American intelligence agencies is peppered with military alphabet soup and acronyms, I have found it best to just skip over these without trying to decipher each and every one. It can be read as simply an evolution of these agencies and their cultures.
The latter portion of the book dealing with the elections in the Obama and Trump eras, has the ring of truth.
We owe James Clapper a great debt for adding to our understanding of the methods used by Russia and self-serving politicians to corrupt an election and the democratic process.

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  • Publius
  • 28/05/2018

Excellent Book!

Excellent book! Mr. Clapper provides unique insight into how national intelligence has evolved based on his decades of experience. His self-effacing tone and dry-wit add appeal to the narrative. What I found most interesting was the level of effort that Russia has undertaken and continues to make to undermine our democratic processes. While those who lived through the Cold War should not be surprised, the resources utilized and potential influence of Russian information warfare through the utilization of national news organizations and social media was surprising. The alignment of messaging between the Trump campaign, right-leaning news organizations, and Russian media while not definitive proof of collusion is uncanny. A review of Russia’s Influence Campaign Targeting the 2016 US, conducted by three separate American government institutions, provides strong support to the author’s conclusions regarding Russian attempts to influence the 2016 election and discredit Americans confidence in our government and election process.

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  • Gary
  • 27/05/2018

Excellent

I found this book well balanced and very informative. I found it ring true throughout. Impressive. Very, very well done. I recommend this to anyone interested in the history of today.

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  • JA3
  • 21/10/2018

80/20

For this one an abridged version would have been much better IMO. There are a handful of very interesting stories and perspectives which comprise about 20% of the book, the other 80% is a non stop barrage of administrative and logistical minutia that are very boring and could have been summarized and substituted with key stories and experiences to paint the picture for readers and listeners. I like Gen Clapper but this was a long slog for a few golden nuggets. Narrator was good at 1.25x speed.

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  • @CyberSpaceSA
  • 11/06/2018

Fantastic Story and History, Highly Recommended!!!

I listened to most of "Facts and Fears" on a trans-pacific flight from Hong Kong to the US and was mesmerized with the story James Clapper had to tell. This is a great book and a must listen to audio book. "Facts and Fears" is factual, accurate and a great story of contemporary US history. James Clapper is National Treasure.

Honestly, after listening to "Russian Roulette", "Facts and Fears", "A Higher Loyalty" and other recent contemporary memoirs and stories, it is obvious that the Obama administration was way too timid with regard to countermeasures related to inference in the US electoral process. What comes to mind is someone standing on the side of a lake when a friend is drowning and crying out for help, but then frozen in inaction, afraid to jump into the water and get wet. Between the DNC and the Obama administration, it's grossly unfair to paint the current challenges to US democratic processes as "all Trump's fault."

Hillary Clinton was a seriously flawed presidential candidate and so many people voted for a brash talking, trash talking, new comer into the race. His campaign used every trick in the book to get him elected against all odds and they succeeded with the help of Russia, exposing serious flaws in the US Constitution and democracy.

James Clapper weaves all this contemporary history together in a very factual, non-partisan and matter-of-fact way. I highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone who is interested in modern US history and current events.

Thank you for your service to our nation, Jim!!! Respect!!

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  • Global
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  • 3rd
  • 27/05/2018

Exceeded Expectations of U.S. Intelligence

The title was a perfect description for the contents of this book. I was extremely pleased with the clarity and precision that James Clapper gave in his account of how our Intelligence gathering and handling of the facts is driven and performed in our country. I would highly recommend this book if you are looking for answers to just how the department is ran, along with the dedication and honor the men and women perform their duties for safety and security of the United States.

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  • Robert
  • 21/04/2019

A Book of Self-Serving Lies

If you have a look at my other reviews, you'll see that I'm an easy grader, but this book is infuriating. I bought this audiobook because I wanted to learn about intelligence and Clapper had a long career in intelligence, culminating with his role as DNI. You will learn NOTHING about intelligence from this book, nothing. I got the impression that Clapper never did any real intelligence work during his career, except for a stint as a reconnaissance radio operator during the CIA's secret (and illegal) war in Laos. Clapper is a master of presentations, budgets, and empire building within the intelligence community. You will learn much more than you ever want to know about acronyms and organizations.

When the President's Daily Briefing was given to Obama on a secure iPad, intelligence head Clapper HAD to have it on paper, because he couldn't deal with an iPad. This was the man responsible for American cybersecurity. When China (presumably) broke into OPM servers and stole the records of 4 million government employees, and thousands of security clearance applications, Clapper took no responsibility. After all, the OPM was not HIS organization. As head of cybersecurity, he seemed to believe that his responsibilities ended with his own organization. He didn't understand that it was HIS job to protect America.

When heading the agency in charge of image gathering, he provided 3000 images to the Bush administration. He said they COULD represent WMD sites. No attempt was made to verify that even ONE of these sites actually WAS a WMD site. I don't believe that Clapper is evil, I believe he is monumentally incompetent. He was responsible for hundreds of thousands of unnecessary deaths.

When called before Congress, he was asked whether he knew of any program that collected data about millions of Americans. He lied, and spends about 20% of the book explaining that he didn't lie. The video leaves no doubt, he LIED.

The first three quarters of this book is terminally boring. The final quarter is more interesting for his attacks on Trump and defense of Hillary. I suspect this may be why the book has gotten such good reviews. However, it was Clapper's job to have detected and stopped the Russian cyberattacks. He utterly failed to do this. He is the man most responsible for Trump being president. Clapper is a man with a limited skill set. He is able to react to events, but he simply does not have the intelligence to anticipate events. He is a technophobe put in charge of defending the US from cyberattacks. The book is a self-whitewash of a calamitous career. If you must listen, do so with skepticism.

And, I grew so tired of hearing of how he spoke "truth to power". Clapper only did this when it was convenient. When it counted most, he lied to please Presidents. Judge for yourself.

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