About the Topic: Osama bin Laden’s demise was merely one sensational moment in the first decade of America’s shadow war, the transformation of the national security apparatus into a machine calibrated for man-hunting operations. Beyond the “big wars” in Afghanistan and Iraq, America has pursued its enemies with killer robots and special operations troops, sent privateers on assassination missions and to set up clandestine spying networks, and relied on mercurial dictators, unreliable foreign intelligence services and ragtag proxy armies. A new military-intelligence complex has emerged: the soldiers have become spies and spies have become soldiers.
The CIA, created as a Cold War espionage service, is now more than ever a paramilitary agency ordered by the White House to kill off America’s enemies: from the sustained bombing campaign in the mountains of Pakistan and the deserts of Yemen and North Africa, to the simmering clan wars in Somalia. For its part, the Pentagon has turned into the CIA, dramatically expanding spying missions in the dark spaces of U.S. foreign policy.
About the Speaker: Mark Mazzetti is a national security correspondent for The New York Times, based in the newspaper's Washington DC bureau. In 2009, he shared a Pulitzer Prize for reporting on the intensifying violence in Pakistan and Afghanistan and Washington's response, and he has numerous other major journalism awards including the George Polk Award (with colleague Dexter Filkins) and the Gerald R. Ford Prize for defense reporting. Mazzetti has also written for the Los Angeles Times, U.S. News & World Report, and The Economist.