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More than a Million Names

Mattathias Schwartz: American Intelligence, 16 June 2016

Playing to the Edge: American Intelligence in the Age of Terror 
by Michael Hayden.
Penguin, 464 pp., £21.99, February 2016, 978 1 59420 656 6
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... the case, a step that could have led to disciplinary measures. The final decision on this fell to Michael Hayden, the CIA director at the time. He chose not to. ‘It was a pretty easy call,’ he writes in Playing to the Edge, his new memoir. He doesn’t describe el-Masri as ‘innocent’, noting his ‘clouded past’, but does admit he was a ...


David Bromwich: The Snowden Case, 4 July 2013

... the hero to turn the tables on the agency and to expose one of its larger malignant operations. Michael Hayden, who became the director of the NSA in 1999, saw the movie and told his workers they had an image problem: the agency had to change its ways and inspire the trust of citizens. But in 2001 Hayden, like many ...


John Barrell: John Wilkes Betrayed, 6 July 2006

John Wilkes: The Scandalous Father of Civil Liberty 
by Arthur Cash.
Yale, 482 pp., £19.95, February 2006, 0 300 10871 0
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... point, invited to justify those wiretaps in the light of the Fourth Amendment, Air Force General Michael Hayden, just confirmed as the new director of the CIA but formerly in charge of the NSA, repeatedly denied the words ‘probable cause’ appeared in the amendment at all. He claimed that it insisted only that searches should be based on reasonable ...

Working the Dark Side

David Bromwich: On the Uses of Torture, 8 January 2015

... as the police were fumbling with handcuffs. It was this spectacle – more than the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, after a violent altercation – that set off the demonstrations which continue in many American cities to protest against the mistreatment and killing of citizens with impunity. The Senate Select Committee report on CIA ...


Owen Bennett-Jones: In the North-West Frontier Province, 25 September 2008

... not register on the watchdogs’ computer screens. Despite this, in May, the CIA director, Michael Hayden, claimed that al-Qaida had suffered a ‘near-strategic defeat’. And the British government’s National Security Strategy, released in March, concluded that terrorism ‘does not at present amount to a strategic threat’. Those confident ...

Disappearing Ink

Tom Stevenson: Life of a Diplomat, 10 August 2023

And Then What? Inside Stories of 21st-Century Diplomacy 
by Catherine Ashton.
Elliott and Thompson, 256 pp., £20, February, 978 1 78396 634 9
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... of CIA directors have written memoirs: Richard Helms, William Colby, Robert Gates, George Tenet, Michael Hayden, Leon Panetta, Michael Morell, John Brennan. We already have the memoir of the current CIA director, Bill Burns, but not that of his predecessor, Gina Haspel. Perhaps it would be too torture-heavy to be ...

Bob Hawke’s Australia

Michael Davie, 6 October 1983

... remarked drily that the election could have been won by a drover’s dog. Another colleague, Bill Hayden, said it could have been won by a cripple. Hayden, now Australia’s Foreign Minister, had reasons to be less than wholly delighted by Hawke’s triumph. Until the very day that the election was called, ...

I figured what the heck

Jackson Lears: Seymour Hersh, 27 September 2018

by Seymour M. Hersh.
Allen Lane, 355 pp., £20, June 2018, 978 0 241 35952 5
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... wrong, legal and illegal, honour and dishonour’. And there it remains today, while its leaders (Michael Hayden, James Clapper – to mention just two) perjure themselves and pose alongside the FBI as guardians of public truth. Despite the show of unity, Hersh says, he had always noticed that the CIA sustained a contempt for the FBI; he wondered why ...

Short Cuts

Daniel Soar: The vexed issue of Labour Party funding, 19 October 2006

... in severe financial difficulty. The Labour Party may even have to sack a few press officers. The Hayden Phillips review of party funding, commissioned by Blair in order to get the press off his back, is due to report in December. Phillips has made a big deal of opening up the discussion of options – state funding, caps on donations – to ...

Second Last Leader

Ian Gilmour, 7 June 1984

Another Heart and Other Pulses: The Alternative to the Thatcher Society 
by Michael Foot.
Collins, 220 pp., £8.95, June 1984, 0 00 217256 9
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... electorally it died in 1980 or even earlier. There will be similar controversy over the role of Michael Foot: did he lead it to its death or did he just accompany it? Was he one of the physicians who killed it, or was he merely the undertaker? The most remarkable feature of Labour’s history is not its short life, but its striking lack of success during ...

Cricket’s Superpowers

David Runciman: Beyond the Ashes, 22 September 2005

... and disdainful Ganguly, particularly loathsome, whereas one gets the feeling that they reckon Michael Vaughan to be a thoroughly decent bloke – more or less one of their own. Cricket has undoubtedly gained hugely from the friendly rivalry of this Ashes series, particularly by way of comparison with other sports, above all football, which seems a ...

Dreamtime with Whitlam

Michael Davie, 4 September 1986

The Whitlam Government 1972-1975 
by Gough Whitlam.
Viking, 788 pp., £17.95, July 1986, 0 670 80287 5
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... visitor about Indonesia. Whitlam made little attempt to encourage the loyalty of his Cabinet. Bill Hayden, the present Australian foreign minister, a former policeman, was often humiliated when the Prime Minister corrected his pronunciation. Had the Cabinet been consulted by Whitlam more often, some of the grosser errors of the Administration might well have ...

What a Woman!

J.L. Nelson: Joan of Arc, 19 October 2000

Joan of Arc 
by Mary Gordon.
Weidenfeld, 168 pp., £12.99, April 2000, 0 297 64568 4
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Joan of Arc: A Military Leader 
by Kelly DeVries.
Sutton, 242 pp., £20, November 1999, 0 7509 1805 5
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The Interrogation of Joan of Arc 
by Karen Sullivan.
Minnesota, 208 pp., £30, November 1999, 0 8166 3267 7
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... as from the trial records themselves. Gordon is good on Joan’s saints, Margaret, Catherine and Michael – ‘vivid examples of the active, rather than the contemplative, path to sanctity’ – and on her ‘appetite for action’. She notes that Joan testified to having learned the Paternoster from her mother; and that Jean Pasquerel, whom Joan chose as ...

Permission to narrate

Edward Said, 16 February 1984

Israel in Lebanon: The Report of the International Commission 
by Sean MacBride.
Ithaca, 282 pp., £4.50, March 1984, 0 903729 96 2
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Sabra et Chatila: Enquête sur un Massacre 
by Amnon Kapeliouk.
Seuil, 117 pp.
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Final Conflict: The War in the Lebanon 
by John Bulloch.
Century, 238 pp., £9.95, April 1983, 0 7126 0171 6
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Lebanon: The Fractured Country 
by David Gilmour.
Robertson, 209 pp., £9.95, June 1983, 0 85520 679 9
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The Tragedy of Lebanon: Christian Warlords, Israeli Adventures and American Bunglers 
by Jonathan Randal.
Chatto, 320 pp., £9.50, October 1983, 0 7011 2755 4
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God cried 
by Tony Clifton and Catherine Leroy.
Quartet, 141 pp., £15, June 1983, 0 7043 2375 3
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Beirut: Frontline Story 
by Salim Nassib, Caroline Tisdall and Chris Steele-Perkins.
Pluto, 160 pp., £3.95, March 1983, 0 86104 397 9
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The Fateful Triangle: Israel, the United States and the Palestinians 
by Noam Chomsky.
Pluto, 481 pp., £6.95, October 1983, 0 86104 741 9
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... especially in America, where Israeli propaganda seems to lead a life of its own. Whereas, in 1975, Michael Adams and Christopher Mayhew were able to write about a coherent but unstated policy of unofficial British press censorship, according to which unpleasant truths about Zionism were systematically suppressed, the situation is not nearly as obvious so far ...

Only in the Balkans

Misha Glenny: The Balkans Imagined, 29 April 1999

Inventing Ruritania: The Imperialism of the Imagination 
by Vesna Goldsworthy.
Yale, 254 pp., £19.95, May 1998, 0 300 07312 7
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Imagining the Balkans 
by Maria Todorova.
Oxford, 270 pp., £35, June 1997, 9780195087505
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... peasant who, having stumbled on political power, is unsure how to wield it. Reporting on Michael Portillo’s visit as defence minister to Slovenia, Romania, Bulgaria and Macedonia in 1996, Anne Applebaum (coincidentally, for the Evening Standard) has a good old chuckle: Up and down the red carpets he walks, Her Majesty’s aircraft just behind ...

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