Surprise, Kill, Vanish: The Secret History of CIA Paramilitary Armies, Operators, and Assassins

Surprise, Kill, Vanish: The Secret History of CIA Paramilitary Armies, Operators, and Assassins

by Annie Jacobsen


$24.00 $30.00 Save 20% Current price is $24, Original price is $30. You Save 20%. View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Friday, June 28


The definitive, character-driven history of CIA covert operations and U.S. government-sponsored assassinations, from the author of the Pulitzer Prize finalist The Pentagon's Brain

Since 1947, domestic and foreign assassinations have been executed under the CIA-led covert action operations team. Before that time, responsibility for taking out America's enemies abroad was even more shrouded in mystery. Despite Hollywood notions of last-minute rogue-operations and external secret hires, covert action is actually a cog in a colossal foreign policy machine, moving through, among others, the Bureau of Intelligence and Research, the House and Senate Select Committees. At the end of the day, it is the President, not the CIA, who is singularly in charge.

When diplomacy fails and overt military action is not feasible, the President often calls on the Special Activities Division, the most secretive and lowest-profile branch of the CIA. It is this paramilitary team that undertakes dramatic and little-known assignments: hostage rescues, sabotage, and, of course, assassinations.

For the first time, Pulitzer Prize finalist and New York Times bestselling author Annie Jacobsen takes us deep inside this top-secret history. With unparalleled access to former operatives, ambassadors, and even past directors of the Secret Service and CIA operations, Jacobsen reveals the inner workings of these teams, and just how far a U.S. president may go, covertly but lawfully, to pursue the nation's interests.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780316441438
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication date: 05/14/2019
Pages: 560
Sales rank: 1,395
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

Annie Jacobsen is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Area 51 and Operation Paperclip and the Pulitzer Prize finalist The Pentagon's Brain. She was a contributing editor at the Los Angeles Times Magazine. A graduate of Princeton University, she lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two sons.

Table of Contents

Author's Note on Sources xi

Prologue 3

Part I 1941

Chapter 1 An Office for Ungentlemanly Warfare 11

Chapter 2 Tertia Optio 30

Chapter 3 Surprise Attack in Korea 38

Chapter 4 Special Forces 57

Chapter 5 Ruin and Rule in Guatemala 65

Chapter 6 Kings, Shahs, Monarchs, and Madmen 79

Chapter 7 The KGB's Office of Liquid Affairs 93

Chapter 8 Green Light 102

Chapter 9 The Special Group 115

Part II 1961

Chapter 10 An Assassination Capability 131

Chapter 11 JFK, KIA 142

Chapter 12 The Studies and Observations Group 161

Chapter 13 Kill or Capture 173

Chapter 14 Green Berets 191

Chapter 15 Revenge 211

Chapter 16 Colonel Qaddafi's Libya 230

Part III 1981

Chapter 17 Reagan's Preemptive Neutralization 251

Chapter 18 Parachute Assassins, Saddam Hussein, and Osama bin Laden 274

Chapter 19 Operation Love Storm 292

Chapter 20 Carlos the Jackal 303

Chapter 21 The Engineer 317

Part IV 2001

Chapter 22 War in Afghanistan 341

Chapter 23 Poke the Bear 358

Chapter 24 War in Iraq 371

Chapter 25 Imad Mugniyah 389

Chapter 26 The Moral Twilight Zone 398

Chapter 27 Just War 417

Chapter 28 The Hidden Hand 433

Epilogue 451

Acknowledgments 455

Bibliography 459

Notes 477

Index 527

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews