Friday, June 21, 2013

'No Way Back": A Broad-Brush Smear Of Americans Who Wear A Badge Along The Border

Veteran journalist and author Joseph C. Goulden, a noted authority on espionage and intelligence, offers a savage review of  Andrew Gross' novel No Way Back in the Washington Times.
Given their lack of legal standing to launch libel actions, America’s intelligence and law enforcement agencies are a lush target for hack writers who concoct outlandish schemes involving nefarious agents and officials.

In this genre of books, casual murders by the CIA is a given, as is its penchant for betraying its own officers and maintaining millions of dollars in illicit offshore accounts. The FBI? An aggregation of arrogant (and ignorant) drones in dark suits and crewcuts who lord over local police and use savage interrogation techniques that would gag the Marquis de Sade.

So perhaps it was inevitable that a relatively new federal agency, the Department of Homeland Security, should fall victim to a trash writer, with sins far more dire than requiring graying grannies to doff their orthopedic shoes at airline security checkpoints. In “No Way Back,” DHS, through its adjunct, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), has chosen to give a powerful Mexican drug cartel the guns it needs to destroy a competitor.

... In his fictional presentation, Mr. Gross makes a broad-brush smear of the thousands of men and women who risk their lives protecting American borders, truly one of the more dangerous jobs in the world. He writes, “It was stated that almost 30 percent of the DEA or the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) border guards were on the payroll of the cartels, paid hundreds of thousands to look the other way when shipments crossed the border.” Directing this supposed mass conspiracy was a woman who ran the important El Paso, Texas, office of the DEA.

So, what is the problem? Mr. Gross‘ novel is clearly labeled fiction, and writers are presumed to be entitled to unlimited literary license. In this instance, however, as is true of all too many “thrillers” dealing with intelligence and policing, Mr. Gross smears the reputations of anyone working for the U.S. government, especially those who wear a badge along the border.

You can read the rest of the review via the below link:

You can also read my Counterterrorism magazine interview with Mr. Goulden via the below link:

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