CLBR #329 Philip Mudd on Black Site: The CIA in the Post 9/11 World

Philip Mudd, Author of

Black Site: The CIA in the Post 9/11 World


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We continue our Miami Book Fair author’s series with Philip Mudd, author of Black Site: The CIA in the Post 9/11 World.

The Book

From Amazon:  A bold account of one of the most controversial and haunting initiatives in American history, Black Site tells the full story of the post-9/11 counterterrorism world at the CIA. Mudd will be appearing at the Miami Book Fair on November 24, 2019.

The book’s release coincides with the November release of the theatrical film, “The Report” about the Senate Intelligence Committee investigation into the excesses of the CIA program.

The Author

Philip Mudd joined the Central Intelligence Agency in 1985 as an analyst specializing in South Asia and then the Middle East.  He began work in the CIA’s Counterterrorist Center in 1992 and then served on the National Intelligence Council as the Deputy National Intelligence Officer for the Near East and South Asia (1995-98).  After a tour as an executive assistant in the front office of the Agency’s analytic arm, Mr. Mudd went on to manage Iraq analysis at the CIA (1999-2001).

Mr. Mudd began a policy assignment at the White House in early 2001, detailed from CIA to serve as the Director for Gulf Affairs on the White House National Security Council.  He left after the September 11 attacks for a short assignment as the CIA member of the small diplomatic team that helped piece together a new government for Afghanistan, and he returned to CIA in early 2002 to become second-in-charge of counterterrorism analysis in the Counterterrorist Center.  He was promoted to the position of Deputy Director of the Center in 2003 and served there until 2005.

At the establishment of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Security Branch in 2005, FBI Director Mueller appointed Mr. Mudd to serve as the Branch’s first-ever deputy director.  He later became the FBI’s Senior Intelligence Adviser.  Mr. Mudd resigned from government service in March 2010.

Mr. Mudd is the recipient of numerous CIA awards and commendations, including the Director’s Award; the George H.W. Bush Award for excellence in counterterrorism; the CIA’s Distinguished Intelligence Medal and the Distinguished Career Intelligence Medal; the first-ever William Langer Award for excellence in analysis; and numerous Exceptional Performance wards.

During his assignments at CIA and the FBI, Mr. Mudd has commented about terrorism in open and closed Congressional testimony, and he has been featured by ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, Fox, BBC, MSNBC, Al-Jazeera, NPR, the New York Times, and The Washington Post.  Mr. Mudd has written in Newsweek, the Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, Foreign Policy, the Washington Post, The Daily Beast, and Sentinel, the journal of the US Military Academy’s Combatting Terrorism Center.

Mr. Mudd is the President of Mudd Management, a company specializing in security consulting; analytic training; and public speaking about security issues.  He is a senior fellow at the New America Foundation and The George Washington University’s Homeland Security Policy Institute.  He now serves as Senior Global Adviser to Oxford Analytica, a British-based firm specializing in advising multinational companies.   He sits on the advisory board for the National Counterterrorism Center and for the Director of National Intelligence, and he serves on the Aspen Institute’s Homeland Security Group.

The Interview

Mudd’s position is that the CIA did it’s best operating under the threat that a second 9-11 style attack was around the corner, but that, in hindsight, the Black Site program could have been better managed.  Rather than debate the questionable legal underpinnings of some of what was done (i.e., the infamous Torture Memos authorizing the practices that were later rescinded) or the efficacy of some of the methods use (e.g., waterboarding), I chose to let him tell his story despite the fact that I am on record as being highly critical of what was done during this period as the list below demonstrates.

America’s Day of Shame and Redemption
Why the Torture Memos Matter
Campaigns and Elections
McCain is Right, Torture is Wrong

“High Noon” over Torture

John McCain’s Better Nation

Bush’s Strategic Blunder on Torture