Blind Spot by Timothy Naftali
International terrorism, particularly the variety engaged in by transnational, militant Islamic networks, is the defining national-security problem of the modern era. But was it an avoidable problem? Have we, in effect, had a hand in creating this Frankenstein monster by nodding, winking, and consciously avoiding it for decades? And have we, as a libertarian society, been undone at critical turns by a recurring ambivalence about the need for competent intelligence collection—both at home and abroad?
These are the hard questions taken up by Timothy Naftali in Blind Spot, an engaging and impressively comprehensive history of American counterterrorism. Naftali, a scholar who has specialized in the 20th-century history of U.S. intelligence, outlines the metastasis of today’s terror threat, illustrating how, for nearly a half-century, American administrations subordinated the problem in favor of other exigencies, or committed themselves to managing rather than defeating it.
About the Author
Andrew C. McCarthy directs the center for law and counterterrorism at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. In somewhat different form, this article will appear in his book, Willful Blindness: A Memoir of the Jihad, soon to be released by Encounter Books. Copyright 2008 by Andrew C. McCarthy.