OverviewBoth the Special Operations Forces (SOF) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) have served as the nation's eyes, ears, and daggers, often in close cooperation but occasionally at cross-purposes throughout their histories. In this book, Thomas H. Henriksen examines the warrior-spy connection both before and after the formation of the SOF and the CIA, suggesting that their history is notable for instances of cooperating, competing, circumventing, and even cutting each other out of the action before the 9/11 terrorist attacks brought about their present close alignment. Henriksen shows how, by adopting an intelligence-driven, targeted counterstrike weapon against terrorists, the United States went from a Cold War Goliath to a more nimble force, thanks largely to the SOF and CIA contributions. But their contemporary blending, he suggests, could be just a temporary realignment and that a return to their traditional rivalry is not out of the question. By revisiting and appreciating their respective histories before partnering to combat Islamist terrorism, he provides a clearer understanding of their interaction and offers lessons for the struggle against extremist violence.
Reviews"Eyes, Ears, and Daggers is arguably the best book on the relationship of the modern Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Special Operations Forces (SOF). From the American Revolution to the Office of Strategic Services and the subsequent birth of the CIA and the SOF, the relationship among intelligence, paramilitary, psychological operations, the SOF, and the broader Special Operations community can be summed up as yin and yang, constantly adjusting, rebalancing, and ebbing and flowing with the good and the bad. When it has counted, the CIA's resources, relationships, and authorities, combined with the SOF capabilities and capacity, have provided our nation with exquisite tactical actions that have achieved decisive and often strategic effects. Thomas Henriksen's well-researched work, using analyses based on open-source and published works, will serve students, researchers, and the public, providing an understanding of the unique and incredible relationship between two of our nation's most important organizations: the CIA and the SOF." —David S. Maxwell (colonel, ret., US Army Special Forces), associate director, Center for Security Studies, Georgetown University
"This clearly written account of the evolution of the working relationship between irregular US military units and the paramilitary activities of the Central Intelligence Agency(CIA) is exciting and important. Henriksen's compelling analysis is that cooperation between Special Operation forces and the CIA is necessary in today's struggle against the large terrorist organizations, Al Qaeda and ISIS, that are operating in many countries of the Islamic world." —John Deutch, former director of the Central Intelligence Agency and deputy secretary of defense
"Eyes, Ears, and Daggers is a primer on what makes our Special Operations Forces so special. Henriksen shows how the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)'s inability to provide the intelligence essential to the military forces' operation has caused the Pentagon to develop its own intelligence, how the CIA pushed back, and how battlefield necessity has been key to mastering bureaucratic rivalries. This book teaches the cautionary lesson that the skills and bravery of frontline operators are hostage to high officials' proper focus on the mission to be accomplished. It should be read by all who count on our special forces in the fight against terrorism." —Angelo Codevilla, professor emeritus of international relations at Boston University
Author BiographyThomas H. Henriksen is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, where he focuses on American foreign policy, international political affairs, insurgencies, and counterterrorism. He is a trustee of the George C. Marshall Foundation and has been a member of the President's Commission on White House Fellowships and the US Army Science Board.