An unprecedented high-level master narrative of America's intelligence wars, from the only person ever to helm both the CIA and the NSA, at a time of heinous new threats and momentous change.
How did American intelligence respond to terrorism, a major war and the most sweeping technological revolution in the last five hundred years? What was the NSA before 9/11 and how did it change in its aftermath? Why did the NSA begin the controversial terrorist surveillance program that included the acquisition of domestic phone records? What else was set in motion during this period that formed the backdrop for the infamous Snowden revelations in 2013?
As the director of the CIA in the last three years of the Bush administration, Hayden had to deal with the rendition, detention and interrogation program as bequeathed to him by his predecessors. He also had to ramp up the agency to support its central role in the targeted killing program that began to dramatically increase in July 2008. This was a time of great crisis at the CIA, and some agency veterans have credited Hayden with actually saving the agency. He himself won't go that far, but he freely acknowledges that the CIA helped turn the American security establishment into the most effective killing machine in the history of armed conflict.
For ten years, Hayden participated in every major event in American national security, the fallout and consequences of which are still unfolding today. His perspective is truly unmatched, and his goals in writing this book are simple and unwavering: no apologies. No excuses. Just what happened, and why. As honest and candid as it is revelatory, PLAYING TO THE EDGE is an essential history of our turbulent times that sheds new light on events and decisions we think we know well.