A powerful and revelatory memoir from former CIA director John Brennan, spanning his more than thirty years in government.
My Fight Against America’s Enemies, At Home and Abroad
by John Brennan
Celadon/Macmillan, October 2020
Friday, January 6, 2017: On that day, as always, John Brennan’s alarm clock was set to go off at 4:15 a.m. But nothing else about that day would be routine. That day marked his first and only security briefing with President-elect Donald Trump. And it was also the day John Brennan said his final farewell to Owen Brennan, his father, the man who had taught him the lessons of goodness, integrity, and honor that had shaped the course of an unparalleled career serving his country from within the intelligence community.
In this brutally honest memoir, Brennan describes the life that took him from being a young CIA recruit enamored with the mystique of spy work and invigorated by his travels in the Middle East to being the most powerful individual in American intelligence. He details his experiences with very different presidents and what it’s been like to bear responsibility for some of the nation’s most crucial and polarizing national security decisions. He pulls back the curtain on the inner workings of the Agency, describing the selfless, patriotic, and invisible work of the women and men involved in national security. He also examines the insularity, arrogance, and myopia that have, at times, undermined its reputation in the eyes of the American people and of members of other branches of government. Through topics ranging from George W. Bush’s intervention in Iraq to his thoughts on the CIA’s controversial use of enhanced interrogation techniques to his eye-opening account of the planning of the raid that resulted in Bin Ladin’s death to his realization that Russia had interfered with the 2016 election, Brennan brings the reader behind the scenes of some of the most crucial moments in recent U.S. history. He also candidly discusses the times he has failed to live up to his own high standards and the very public fallouts that have resulted.
UNDAUNTED offers a rare and insightful look at the often-obscured world of national security, the intelligence profession, and Washington’s chaotic political environment. But more than that, it is a portrait of a man striving for integrity; for himself, for the CIA, and for his country.
John O. Brennan was one of President Obama’s most trusted national security advisors during all eight years of the Obama Administration, first as assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism and then as director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Mr. Brennan had previously worked in the CIA from 1980 to 2005, where he specialized in Middle Eastern affairs and counterterrorism and served as President Clinton’s daily intelligence briefer. Mr. Brennan received a bachelor’s degree in political science from Fordham University in 1977 and a master’s degree in government from the University of Texas at Austin in 1980.