Senseless Secrets is a military history of the United States through its intelligence operations, covering more than 200 years of intelligence breakdowns in every American war, from the Revolution’s Benedict Arnold to the War on Terror and the chaos surrounding the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021.
From the War for Independence to the War on Terror, American military intelligence has often failed, costing needless casualties and squandering money and materiel as well as prestige – and all too often it has failed to learn from its mistakes. Senseless Secrets covers more than 200 years of intelligence breakdowns in every American war, including not only how intelligence has been wrong, but also how good intel has failed to make it to battlefield commanders, how spies and traitors have infiltrated the military intelligence community, and more. Here are stories of Benedict Arnold’s turn in the Revolution, George McClellan’s reliance on the Pinkertons’ inflated estimates of enemy strengths in the Civil War, Custer’s flawed intelligence prior to the Little Bighorn, the controversy over Pearl Harbor, the surprise German attack that started the Battle of the Bulge, the failure to convey useful intelligence to small-unit commanders in Vietnam, overestimates of Iraqi strength during Operation Desert Storm, the bad intelligence about Saddam Hussein’s supposed nuclear arsenal in 2002-03, and the chaos surrounding the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021. Senseless Secrets is a military history of the United States through its intelligence operations. It should be required reading inside the U.S. military and beyond.