Rossmiller dedicates the first half of Still Broken to his Iraq experience. Analysts worked 14-hour days, processing data and maintaining a database of questionable accuracy. Rossmiller describes catching obvious errors—Sunni insurgents with names like

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Rossmiller dedicates the first half of Still Broken to his Iraq experience. Analysts worked 14-hour days, processing data and maintaining a database of questionable accuracy. Rossmiller describes catching obvious errors—Sunni insurgents with names like Ali more often used by Shi'a, for example—but having his concerns brushed off because of a lack of seniority. He adds color to the broader narrative of Iraq with descriptions of insurgent in-processing and debriefings and arbitrary and ineffective interrogation and detention. A tendency to recount cartoonish dialogue among U.S. soldiers distracts and raises questions about where and how Rossmiller took notes in the course of processing insurgents and about whether the many conversations Rossmiller recounts are simply fiction with unnamed soldier archetypes from his own imagination.

The second half of Still Broken changes settings to the Pentagon, but the narrative is much the same. Rossmiller conveys the suffocating weight of bureaucracy and dysfunction. He exudes bitterness that no one would heed his warnings that Islamists would win the January 2005 elections although he exaggerates when implying this was either only his or even a minority opinion. He amplifies complaints of his boss's disagreement with his analysis into a broader pattern of political abuse but provides no evidence other than his office director—a career analyst—refusing to sign-off, saying his analysis was too pessimistic.

Indeed, at times it is Rossmiller who appears doctrinaire, refusing out-of-hand to consider that Sunnis and Shi'a can cooperate even though Iranian intelligence has often reached out to secularists, Baathists, and Sunnis. Sunni secularist Yasser Arafat was, for example, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's first foreign guest after the Islamic Revolution; Baathist Syria is perhaps Tehran's closest ally; and Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps founded Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a Sunni, Islamist group.

While well-written and a quick read, Still Broken offers only limited insight into the lackluster analysis that underlies the intelligence community. Readers who wish more breadth and insight should instead turn to Ishmael Jones's The Human Factor,[1]which tackles much the same problem but with a depth that comes from years rather than months inside the intelligence community.


[1] New York: Encounter Books, 2008.