9780307456298

The Dark Side

by
  • ISBN13:

    9780307456298

  • ISBN10:

    0307456293

  • Edition: Reprint
  • Format: Trade Paper
  • Copyright: 5/5/2009
  • Publisher: Anchor

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Summary

One of The New York Times 10 Best Books of the Year; National Bestseller With a New Afterword; National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist; A Best Book of the Year: Salon, Slate, The Economist, The Washington Post, Cleveland Plain-Dealer. The Dark Side is a dramatic, riveting, and definitive narrative account of how the United States made terrible decisions in the pursuit of terrorists around the world-- decisions that not only violated the Constitution, but also hampered the pursuit of Al Qaeda. In spellbinding detail, Jane Mayer relates the impact of these decisions by which key players, namely Vice President Dick Cheney and his powerful, secretive adviser David Addington, exploited September 11 to further a long held agenda to enhance presidential powers to a degree never known in U.S. history, and obliterate Constitutional protections that define the very essence of the American experiment.

Author Biography

Jane Mayer is the co-author of two bestselling and critically acclaimed narrative nonfiction books, Landslide: The Unmaking of the President, 1984-1988, and Strange Justice: The Selling of Clarence Thomas, the latter of which was a finalist for the National Book Award. Mayer was also awarded the prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship in connection with The Dark Side.

She is currently a Washington-based staff writer for The New Yorker, specializing in political and investigative reporting. Before that, she was a senior writer and front-page editor for The Wall Street Journal, as well as the Journal's first female White House correspondent.

She lives in Chevy Chase, Maryland.

Excerpts

PANIC

America should go “not abroad in search of monsters to destroy. . . . She might become the dictatress of the world: she would be no longer the rulerof her own spirit.”–John Quincy Adams,An Address . . . Celebrating the Anniversary of Independence, at the City of Washington on the Fourth of July 1821
If anyone in America should have been prepared to respond to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, it ought to have been Vice President Dick Cheney. For decades before the planes hit the Pentagon and World Trade Center, Cheney had been secretly practicing for doomsday.

During the 1980s, while serving as a Republican congressman from Wyoming and a rising power in the conservative leadership in Congress, Cheney secretly participated in one of the most highly classified, top-secret programs of the Reagan Administration, a simulation of survival scenarios designed to ensure the smooth continuity of the U.S. government in the event of all-out nuclear war with the Soviet Union. Every year, usually during congressional recesses, Cheney would disappear in the dead of the night. He left without explanation to his wife, Lynne Vincent Cheney, who was given merely a phone number where he could be reached in the event of emergency. Along with some four or five dozen federal officials, Cheney would pretend for several weeks to be chief of staff to a designated substitute “president,” bivouacked in some remote location in the United States.

As James Mann reveals inThe Vulcans,his rich intellectual history of the neoconservative brain trust that has guided Bush foreign policy, the exercise tried to re-create some of the anticipated hardships of surviving a nuclear holocaust. Accommodations were Spartan and cuisine was barely adequate. Civilian communications systems were presumed destroyed. The challenge was to ensure civil order and control over the military in the event that the elected president and vice president, and much of the executive branch, were decimated. The Constitution, of course, spells out the line of succession. If the president and vice president are indisposed, then power passes first to the Speaker of the House, and next to the president pro tempore of the Senate. But in a secret executive order, President Reagan, who was deeply concerned about the Soviet threat, amended the process for speed and clarity. The secret order established a means of re-creating the executive branch without informing Congress that it had been sidestepped, or asking for legislation that would have made the new “continuity-of-government” plan legally legitimate. Cheney, a proponent of expansive presidential powers, was evidently unperturbed by this oversight.

Mann and others have suggested that these doomsday drills were a dress rehearsal for Cheney’s calm, commanding performance on 9/11. It was not the first time he had stared into the abyss. One eyewitness, who kept a diary, said that inside the Presidential Emergency Operations Command, or PEOC, a hardened command center several hundred feet under the by-then-evacuated White House, Cheney never broke a sweat as he juggled orders to shoot down any additional incoming hijacked planes, coordinated efforts with other cabinet members, most particularly the Directors of the FBI and CIA, and resolved issues such as how to avoid charges of taking hostage two visiting foreign heads of state, from Australia and Lithuania, after all air traffic had been shut down.

Six weeks after the attacks on New York and Washington, the Bush Administration had successfully restored calm, reassured the financial markets, and rallied the sympathies and support of much of the world. But once again the White House was plunged into a state of controlled panic.
On October 17, 2001, a white powder that had been sent through the U.S. mail to Senate Majori

Excerpted from The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals by Jane Mayer
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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