When Obama took office, the military had assigned only 36 Predator drones to the CENTCOM area of operations, including drones used for Joint Special Operations Command missions.
The CIA gave Pakistanis a TOP SECRET map detailing attacks in the Kam Sham training camp in North Waziristan. But the CIA did not share the fact that five Westerners were among the dead. Throughout the book, Woodward suggests that the greatest counter-terrorism threat to the U.S. comes from Westerners who hold U.S. passports.
In the latter part of the Bush administration, Pakistani PM Zardari told CIA director Michael Hayden that "collateral damage worries you Americans. It does not worry me" in reference to drone strikes.
The U.S. intelligence community is nervous about the high level of operational security and technology used by the LeT terrorist group that carried out the Mumbai attacks. They use sat phones over VOIP networks and the latest commercially available crypto gear.
Former DNI Mike McConnell and former CIA director Michael Hayden apparently had disagreements over covert operations. McConnell was worried that Obama would be entranced by the allure of secret missions, and he worried that an inexperienced president might believe he could solve a foreign policy problem by them and them alone.
Hayden bristled repeatedly when anyone linked the enhanced interrogation program to the word "torture," chastising Leon Panetta directly for doing so.
Hayden read Obama into 14 ongoing covert action programs. He demonstrates the use of one of six "enhanced techniques" on the DNI's principle deputy, David Shedd, by lightly slapping him on the face. When Obama learned about the techniques that were no longer in use, "he seemed transfixed."
McChrystal's "jaw-dropping" counter-terrorism campaign in Iraq "did not translate into a strategic victory." McChrystal called this idea "a hell of a point." It helped him embrace the idea of a counter-insurgency.
It was Andrew Exum, the Army Ranger and scholar now at the Center for New American Studies, who convinced McChrystal to order new guidelines about safe and polite driving in Afghanistan.
Gen. Jim Jones feels that the chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, had a much tighter relationship with Tom Donilon, the deputy NSA. Jones also felt Emanuel would rely on him for things that Emanuel could have done himself ... using Jones, in essence, as cover for politically tricky decisions. ... Jones thinks that SecDef Gates's "trademark" "studied calculation" was occasionally a way of avoiding a big decision. ...
Gen. Petraeus had and has a back channel with Sen. Lindsey Graham, and regularly felt unloved by the president and his advisers.
Woodward's sources say that Donilon "didn't have the broad experience needed for the sensitive White House position and lived in a lawyer's bunker." Donilon, according to Woodward, often serves as a conduit for the president's frustration. The book contains a lengthy, personal critique of Donilon from Jones.