The Targeter
The story of a young woman from Montana who joined the CIA and worked her way up through the ranks to the frontline of the fight against Islamic extremists.In 1999, 30-year-old Nada Bakos moved from her lifelong home in Montana to Washington, DC, to join the CIA. Quickly realizing her affinity for intelligence work, Nada was determined to rise through the ranks of the agency first as an analyst and then as a Targeting Officer, eventually finding herself on the frontline of America's War against Islamic extremists. In this role, Nada was charged with finding the godfather of ISIS and mastermind of Al Qaeda in Iraq: Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.In a tight, tension-packed narrative that takes the reader from Langley deep into Iraq, Bakos reveals the inner workings of the Agency and the largely hidden world of intelligence gathering post 9/11. Entrenched in the predominantly male world of the CIA, Bakos belonged to a small yet dedicated sisterhood leading U.S. Special Operations Forces to the doorstep of one of the world's most wanted terrorists.Filled with on-the-ground insights and poignant personal anecdotes, The Targeter shows us the great personal sacrifice that comes with intelligence work. This is Nada's story, but it is also an intimate chronicle of how a group of determined, ambitious men and women worked tirelessly in the heart of the CIA to ensure our nation's safety at home and abroad.

The Targeter Details

TitleThe Targeter
Author
ReleaseJun 4th, 2019
PublisherLittle, Brown and Company
ISBN-139780316260473
Rating
GenreNonfiction, History, Biography, Autobiography, Memoir, War, Military Fiction

The Targeter Review

  • Caitlin
    January 1, 1970
    A true story with the propulsion of a thriller and fascinating details of life in the CIAThe true story of a rural Montana girl who took an unlikely path to the center of the U.S. war on terror. The title refers to Bakos's role chasing down one of the most dangerous extremist leaders the U.S. faced in Iraq, leader of the group known at one time as Al Qaeda in Iraq and which would later become ISIS, Abu Musab Al Zarqawi. The story has the pace and tension of a thriller but is larded with fascinat A true story with the propulsion of a thriller and fascinating details of life in the CIAThe true story of a rural Montana girl who took an unlikely path to the center of the U.S. war on terror. The title refers to Bakos's role chasing down one of the most dangerous extremist leaders the U.S. faced in Iraq, leader of the group known at one time as Al Qaeda in Iraq and which would later become ISIS, Abu Musab Al Zarqawi. The story has the pace and tension of a thriller but is larded with fascinating details on what the work of a CIA analyst and of a CIA targeter really looks like, and what it was like to be in the thick of things, both in Iraq and back in the DC area, in the early years of the Iraq war. Bakos comes across as a true patriot who wants to make a difference but not one to drink the Kool-Aid. Her misgivings about some of the decisions made by the administration during her CIA career indicate someone with an independence of thought, guided by immense dedication to what she sees as in the best interests of her country. A ground-level view of events like you won't be able to get from many others. I want to see the 12-episode prestige TV series version of this - it would be a corker.
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  • Glen
    January 1, 1970
    I won this book in a goodreads drawing.A former CIA agent writes about her life in The Company. It's a lot different than in the espionage novels. Nobody seems to know what they're doing, and there's an awful lot of politicians and bureaucrats involved. She and the agency try to find out about terrorists, and keep themselves out of legal jeopardy.Informative.
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  • Steve Stred
    January 1, 1970
    I’m a big fan of alternative history or exploring ‘other’ options of how things might have played out. This will sound like I’m a big proponent of conspiracy theories, but I know we, as the public, are not always privileged to know all of the details of what happens. We are told only what we need to know or what a government agency deems necessary for the public to know. Hence – all of the redacted parts when a Freedom of Information Act request is granted.This love of alternative stuff led me t I’m a big fan of alternative history or exploring ‘other’ options of how things might have played out. This will sound like I’m a big proponent of conspiracy theories, but I know we, as the public, are not always privileged to know all of the details of what happens. We are told only what we need to know or what a government agency deems necessary for the public to know. Hence – all of the redacted parts when a Freedom of Information Act request is granted.This love of alternative stuff led me to find the show ‘Hunting Hitler.’ This show had three seasons on the History Channel and really what I was enthralled by was seeing just how immense the war effort had been. The cast and crew travelled across Europe and South America, showing different places and massive war time construction efforts. As someone who has never been a member of the military or involved in anything like this, it is fascinating to see.During the shows run, Nada Bakos was brought on board and I was immediately drawn into her level-headedness and how she always worked to state facts/ideas and never worked towards sensationalizing the story. Sadly, I found she wasn’t featured enough, as she became one of my favourite people featured.Which led me to her book ‘The Targeter.’ Thank you to Netgalley, the author and publisher for approving me for this book. I only read a handful of non-fiction books each year, but when I saw Bakos’ name pop up, I knew I needed to throw my hate in the ring and read about her previous career.This book is an exhilarating romp following the behind the scenes story of how Bakos’ was involved in tracking Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a mastermind with ISIS and Al-Qaeda.Nada does a fantastic job of sharing her story with us in spurts and as the hunt pics up, it reads like a well-made war movie.I had a great time reading this and as a Canadian, it’s always interesting to read about how the USA functions at some of the top tier levels.For those who are reading this for any ‘Hunting Hitler’ dirt, this book doesn’t deal with it at all. But that shouldn’t stop you from checking this fast-paced thriller out.I really enjoyed that citations were added at the end to help with the logistical nightmare keeping this stuff in order must have been.
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  • Rb Andry
    January 1, 1970
    The Targeter is a fascinating, entertaining first person behind the scenes account of a CIA’s analysts attempts to counter the White House’s misguided motivations to invade Iraq and her subsequent role hunting Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the forefather of ISIS.The Targeter seems especially relevant today given the Iran related saber-rattling currently emanating from Bolton / Trump Admin.Bakos’ role at the CIA places her in a unique position to witness and influence the U.S. political, military and dip The Targeter is a fascinating, entertaining first person behind the scenes account of a CIA’s analysts attempts to counter the White House’s misguided motivations to invade Iraq and her subsequent role hunting Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the forefather of ISIS.The Targeter seems especially relevant today given the Iran related saber-rattling currently emanating from Bolton / Trump Admin.Bakos’ role at the CIA places her in a unique position to witness and influence the U.S. political, military and diplomatic efforts in Cheney’s Iraq war. The targeter is a mashup that provides a fact-based version of Zero Dark Thirty and includes an unvarnished description of the political shenanigans that occurred in the run up to and during the Iraq war (ala All the President’s Men) and includes comedic episodes reminiscent of the movie M.A.S.H.I found it interesting to read this story from a woman’s perspective; there aren’t any super hero stories in this book. There are plenty of depictions of ordinary people doing extraordinary things in stressful circumstances. But Bakos also does a great job of describing the tragedy, humanity and foibles that occur in politics and war.
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  • Matt
    January 1, 1970
    I can't recommend this enough. Nada tells a personal story of service and sacrifice and fighting for facts while standing up against political agendas. Importantly, she shows the human story of those that are serving in our Intelligence Community who are our neighbors and our friends...patriots who give their all for the service of others and, all too often, at great sacrifice to themselves and their families vs some “deep state” portrayed so often in movies and by politicians with personal agen I can't recommend this enough. Nada tells a personal story of service and sacrifice and fighting for facts while standing up against political agendas. Importantly, she shows the human story of those that are serving in our Intelligence Community who are our neighbors and our friends...patriots who give their all for the service of others and, all too often, at great sacrifice to themselves and their families vs some “deep state” portrayed so often in movies and by politicians with personal agendas. This is an important read in a time where false information, attacks on facts, and extremist views and ideologies are front & center across the globe. Nada and those with whom she worked, set an example as to what it means to serve and fight (both inside and outside the Intelligence Community) for the truth.
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  • Patty
    January 1, 1970
    I learned A LOT about what went on in the search for WMD in Iraq, how the Bush administration justified the invasion of Iraq, the relationship between Bin Laden and Zarqawi, how ISIS/ISIL formed. Later, perhaps, but better late than never. ALSO it's written by a WOMAN that was a targeter (the job title says it all) for the CIA. She was in HR and ended up a targeter in the CIA. You go, girl! An easy to read study of how we got into Iraq and made a mess of it.
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  • Jeffrey Edwards
    January 1, 1970
    A good review of her work within the CIA, both domestically, and in the field in Iraq. Just enough insight into her background, work and views on The Agency and The Bush Administration to give the reader a good overall view of the workings of a so-called "Targeter." A very readable/listenable account.
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  • Chester Marx
    January 1, 1970
    Interesting first hand account of CIA work. Most of the political drama I had read about, but it's good to be reminded of skulduggery that goes on. Good read & timely in view of the mess in the Middle east.
  • PWRL
    January 1, 1970
    E
  • Ayushman
    January 1, 1970
    The Targeter offers an interesting perspective into the organisational culture of the CIA. Nada Bakos' description of feeling powerless despite working in the Agency was notable. The book attempts to provide serious introspection into the activities of the Agency in the build-up to and in the immediate aftermath of the invasion of Iraq. It could've been a valuable contribution to the literature on intelligence theory and the study of intelligence but is, in my opinion, hampered by Bakos' focus o The Targeter offers an interesting perspective into the organisational culture of the CIA. Nada Bakos' description of feeling powerless despite working in the Agency was notable. The book attempts to provide serious introspection into the activities of the Agency in the build-up to and in the immediate aftermath of the invasion of Iraq. It could've been a valuable contribution to the literature on intelligence theory and the study of intelligence but is, in my opinion, hampered by Bakos' focus on her own story, and her lack of access and understanding of the wider functioning of the organisation.
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  • Nada Bakos
    January 1, 1970
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