Ghost: Confessions of a Counterterrorism Agent

Fred Burton, Author Random House (NY) $26 (288p) ISBN 978-1-4000-6569-1
With spy thriller suspense and the clarity of a police report, former special agent Burton's State Department saga reads like a brewing-storm prequel to the current ""war on terror."" Working for the tiny, newly created counterterrorism division of the Diplomatic Security Service in the mid-1980s, Burton liaisons among the FBI, the CIA, and a network of covert informants ""to find out the how"" of terrorist attacks, and prevent repeat events. This snapshot of his career reveals ""the foundations for the chaos we face today: a cold war between superpowers overlayed atop a growing struggle between the Christian world and radical Islam."" Of obvious interest to anyone with an eye on world affairs, Burton's assets will draw in even casual counterterrorism fans: the spook can actually write. His first hook is a Dashiell Hammett-esque preface about his hand-written list of targeted terrorist masterminds, which he keeps on his person at all times and ""as current as today's headlines."" From there he takes readers through the crimes and captures of a few, along with the formation and administration of the first State Department unit of its kind. Most striking is the material's relevance twenty years later; Burton's clashes with Hezbollah in Beirut and prickly diplomacy with Iran could almost be pulled from present-day newspapers.
Reviewed on: 06/30/2008
Release date: 07/01/2008
Genre: Nonfiction
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 239 pages - 978-1-58836-704-4
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