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.
Publisher: Little, Brown & Company
Number of pages: 368
Dimensions: 240 x 156 mm
--Joby Warrick, author of Black Flags: The Rise of ISIS, winner of the Pulitzer Prize
"The Targeter reads like a suspense novel written in Hollywood. But it's the true story of an unsung hero working to keep America safe and speaking hard truths to those in power. I relied on public servants like Nada to fight the Islamic State. Our country is indebted to their rigor, tradecraft, and dedicated war zone service, which carries a personal toll. This is the first inside account of what it's really like."--Brett McGurk, Former Special Presidential Envoy for Campaign to Defeat ISIS
"The Targeter is a raw, honest, and gripping account of the thrilling but daunting task of a CIA analyst answering her inner call to keep America and her people safe. Nada Bakos is the real deal. Her inside perspective on the fight against terrorism, and what was happening on the ground in Iraq during the rise of the deadliest terrorist organization to date, is a must read. This is a personal and engaging story about how she came to work for the CIA and pull her weight in the fight against the notorious Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and his murderous ideology. Nada's unique insights into the man who's "fanatical vision and strategic cunning" laid the groundwork for the so-called Islamic State helps us all understand how counterterrorism is about more than killing the leader, because ideas live on. Most importantly, Nada shares the lessons she learned when serving the United States and does not shy away from acknowledging that, in counterterrorism, tactical wins do not always translate into strategic successes. This book is an important asset for any analyst, policy maker, or thought leader looking to make a difference in counterterrorism in the 21st century."--Ali Soufan, Chief Executive Officer of The Soufan Group and former FBI Supervisory Special Agent
"Nada Bakos had a frontline assignment during some of the most important chapters of America's post-9/11 wars. Her well written account of her work at the CIA is fascinating and underlines the many sacrifices she and her colleagues made in the fight against al-Qaeda. Bakos has also written one of the most clear-eyed and interesting accounts of what it is really like working at the CIA."--Peter Bergen, author of Manhunt: The Ten-Year Search for Bin Laden from 9/11 to Abbottabad.
"For the last decade, Nada Bakos has been a go-to source for understanding terrorist networks. Her memoir offers a gripping tale on how terrorists, and the counterterrorists who hunt them, actually operate in the real world."--Clint Watts, Senior Fellow at Foreign Policy Research Institute and author of Messing with the Enemy: Surviving in a Social Media World of Hackers, Terrorists, Russians, and Fake News
"Bakos writes with authority and searing honesty about the demands of her work as a targeter and the dangers and dysfunction of post-invasion Iraq. The result is a gripping behind-the-scenes account of the hunt for one of the world's most brutal terrorists. The combination of a sharp, analytical mind and a genuine humility and humanity underscores why women make some of the best CIA analysts."--Clarissa Ward, Chief International Correspondent for CNN International