RELENTLESS PURSUIT: The DSS and the Manhunt for the al-Qaeda Terrorists

Samuel M. Katz, Author . Forge/Doherty $24.95 (299p) ISBN 978-0-7653-0402-5

The clandestine world of the Department of State's Diplomatic Security Service is the focus of this latest entry into the post–Sept. 11 publishing sweepstakes by Katz, an expert on international terrorism and security issues. The DSS was created in 1985 by Secretary of State George Shultz in response to rising terrorist threats. Katz re-creates a variety of scenes, highlighting the role of DSS agents—whether protecting Secretary of State Madeleine Albright from al-Qaeda-linked Muslim terrorists in Uzbekistan, or tracking down a possible Iraqi connection behind a failed attempt to bomb the American embassy in Manila, or playing a central role in the worldwide search for Ramzi Yousef, the mastermind behind the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. (The FBI falsely took full credit for his capture, reports Katz.). Much of the book revisits that bombing and its aftermath, but Katz is strongest when he focuses, through interviews with agents, on the personal—for instance, how agents anxiously await the annual "bid list," which details their postings for the coming year and the difficulty of long postings overseas. Katz does shed light on a secret world of America's foreign operations, but in portraying events primarily through the agents' own eyes, he fails to address some basic issues—could the DSS, which claims to have the most expertise in worldwide terrorism, have done more to prevent Sept. 11? How should their role now be expanded or changed? This one-sided look at the world of these secret agents leaves too many questions unanswered. Agent, Al Zuckerman, Writer's House. (Aug.)

Reviewed on: 06/03/2002
Release date: 06/01/2002
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-0-7653-0910-5
Ebook - 304 pages - 978-1-4668-2524-6
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