We invite you to come out to a presentation and conversation about the transformation of the CIA and America’s special operations forces into man-hunting and killing machines in the world’s dark spaces: the new American way of war. We will be honoring Pulitzer-prize winning journalist Mark Mazzetti’s new book.
The most momentous change in American warfare over the past decade has taken place in the corners of the world where large armies can’t go. The Way of the Knife is the untold story of that shadow war: a campaign that has blurred the lines between soldiers and spies and lowered the bar for waging war across the globe. America has pursued its enemies with killer drones and special operations troops; trained privateers for assassination missions and used them to set up clandestine spying networks; and relied on mercurial dictators, untrustworthy foreign intelligence services, and proxy armies.
This new approach to war has been embraced by Washington as a lower risk, lower cost alternative to the messy wars of occupation and has been championed as a clean and surgical way of conflict. But the knife has created enemies just as it has killed them. It has fomented resentments among allies, fueled instability, and created new weapons unbound by the normal rules of accountability during wartime. Mazzetti tracks an astonishing cast of characters on the ground in the shadow war, from a CIA officer dropped into the tribal areas to learn the hard way how the spy games in Pakistan are played to the chain-smoking Pentagon official running an off-the-books spy operation, from a Virginia socialite whom the Pentagon hired to gather intelligence about militants in Somalia to a CIA contractor imprisoned in Lahore after going off the leash.
Mark Mazzetti is a correspondent for The New York Times, where he has covered national security from the newspaper’s Washington bureau since April 2006. In 2009, he shared a Pulitzer Prize for reporting on the intensifying violence in Pakistan and Afghanistan and Washington’s response. The previous year, he was a Pulitzer finalist for revelations about the C.I.A.’s detention and interrogation program.