Eyes, Ears, & Daggers Examines The Evolving Relationship Between America’s Intelligence And Special Operations In The War Against Terror

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

The Hoover Institution Press released today Eyes, Ears, & Daggers by Hoover Institution senior fellow Thomas Henriksen. 

Eyes, Ears, & Daggers is a comprehensive look at the evolving relationship between America’s intelligence and special operations communities in the war against terror.

Eyes, Ears, & Daggers by Hoover Institution senior fellow Thomas Henriksen.
Eyes, Ears, & Daggers by Hoover Institution senior fellow Thomas Henriksen.

“This clearly written account of the evolution of the working relationship between irregular US military units and the paramilitary activities of the CIA is exciting and important,” stated John Deutch, former director of the CIA. “Henriksen’s compelling analysis is that cooperation between Special Operation Forces and CIA is necessary in today’s struggle against large terrorist organizations, Al Qaeda and ISIS, that are operating in many countries of the Islamic world.”

From revolutionary patriot Nathan Hale to the present day, spying and warfighting have often been hard to distinguish. Henriksen examines the warrior-spy connection both before and after the formation of the Special Operations Forces (SOF) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), suggesting that their history is notable for instances of cooperating, competing, circumventing, and even cutting each other out of the action. Eyes, Ears, & Daggers is a stimulating account on the collaboration between intelligence and special warrior communities to keep America safe.

“Eyes, Ears, & Daggers is a primer on how the U.S. military and intelligence communities have evolved and cooperated in counterterrorism,” stated Hoover senior fellow and author Thomas Henriksen. “This book lays out my recommendations to ensure the ongoing teamwork between intelligence case officers and elite special operators in a shadowy war against Islamist terrorists.”

The 9/11 terrorist attacks changed America’s Cold War thinking about security. The alignment between the military’s special operators and CIA case officers developed primarily to combat insurgency-based terrorism. The contributions of the SOF and the CIA influenced the United States transition away from Cold War Goliath to a nimbler force - more equipped to take on an elusive enemy. But their contemporary blending, Henriksen suggests, might just be a temporary realignment and a return to their traditional rivalry is not out of the question. Through revisiting and appreciating their respective histories before partnering to combat Islamist terrorism, Henriksen provides a clear understanding of the evolving relationship between America’s intelligence and operations communities that offers valuable lessons for today’s struggle against combating jihadi violence. 

For more information on Eyes, Ears & Daggers, visit HooverPress.org.  For more information on the Hoover Institution, visit Hoover.org or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Scribd (keyword: Hoover Institution).

Thomas 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.

About the Hoover Institution:  The Hoover Institution, Stanford University, is a public policy research center devoted to the advanced study of economics, politics, history, and political economy—both domestic and foreign—as well as international affairs. With its eminent scholars and world-renowned Library & Archives, the Hoover Institution seeks to improve the human condition by advancing ideas that promote economic opportunity and prosperity and secure and safeguard peace for America and all mankind.

CONTACT INFORMATION:  Jenny Mayfield | Office of Public Affairs | Hoover Institution jennymayfield [at] stanford.edu | 650-723-0603