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Summary

From a top-level operative in the counterterrorism unit of the CIA comes an explosive memoir about the behind-the-scenes fight against Al Qaeda after September 11.

Since the death of Osama Bin Laden, interest in counterterrorism is at an all-time high. Most people don’t know that Bin Laden’s death was the culmination of years of covert operations and tactics largely overseen by Jose Rodriguez from 2001 to late 2007 and built on by his successors.

Like a real-life Jack Bauer from television’s 24, Rodriguez’s sometimes controversial tenure as Chief of the Agency’s Counterterrorism Center involved CIA officers capturing and detaining key senior Al Qaeda operatives and implementing Enhanced Interrogation Techniques, tools which were an integral part of the War on Terror but are no longer available to those fighting America's fiercest foes.

Born in Puerto Rico and raised in Columbia, Bolivia, and the Dominican Republic, Rodriguez shares his unlikely journey from law school student to CIA recruit and finally, at the end of a 31-year career, to being America’s top spy. Rodriguez sparked controversy and a three-year investigation by his decision to order the destruction of videotapes showing CIA officers conducting harsh, but what he describes as “legal, necessary, and effective interrogation[s]”.

Riveting and timely, Hard Measures also examines how the current political climate and resulting policies have negatively impacted the CIA’s efficiency - even taking away the mechanisms that made feats like the successful Bin Laden operation possible.

©2012 Jose A. Rodriguez Jr (P)2012 Simon & Schuster

Critic reviews

"Jose Rodriguez guided some of the CIA's greatest counterterror victories, and his story is one of courage, commitment, and decisiveness. In this book, he provides concrete details about the value of the Agency's interrogation program of terrorists - a program which thwarted terrorist attacks and has made America safer." (General Michael V. Hayden, USAF [Ret.] Former Director of Central Intelligence)

What listeners say about Hard Measures

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A moving book from a patriot and professional Spy

Very detailed book by a CS or Spy within the DO and later CTC
The book is simply amazing, and goes through great detail on the psyche of the CIA CT efforts - remember it is really a HUMInT agency, so CT was only 10-20% of its output. Jose acted as a true spy and shadow warrior. He was treated like crap by the bureaucracy. He was the man who took the decisions that others didn’t want to. A typical spy, that is, someone who has no time for Bullshit but who is very very intelligent. Jose wherever you are; I salute you. Thank you for your career. And I wish you and your wife all the best. And thank you to CIA for allowing this through, and for all your efforts. 5/5 is too low. It was a superb read. The ending was very moving.

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OK, kept me interested.

realistic, not over sensationalist. Does not give a huge amount away. I found it interesting.

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  • Rachel
  • 05-10-14

for and against

Is there anything you would change about this book?

The author, in a way that reminds me of John Mcain in his autobiography, is ready to question everyone else's integrity and decisions but never his own. the lack of self criticism takes away from this book. also the bitching about the FBI is pretty tiresome at times

Would you be willing to try another book from Jose A. Rodriguez? Why or why not?

Yes. he's been in a powerful, exclusive position and has experience that puts him in a position to tell us a lot of interesting stuff. the interesting stuff is present but so is some pretty dull stuff

Would you listen to another book narrated by Sean Pratt?

Yes. Not outstanding but he settled in to his narration and didn't show off or impose himself

Did Hard Measures inspire you to do anything?

not particularly

Any additional comments?

There are some really interesting and informative sections but Jose spends a little more time than i think he should have done on some pretty uninteresting bugbears he has. It's his autobiography so of course he has the right but if you, like me, are more interested in the job than the man yo might want to skip some sections.

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  • Dmon
  • 08-07-12

Not politically slanted as I expected

If you could sum up Hard Measures in three words, what would they be?

First hand account

What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

The author explained the process so precisely & gave the reader the best understanding of the motives and logic behind the decisions that are used within the intel community to keep our citizens safe. I trust now, even less than I ever have, the media for taking the work of these individuals so far out of context. The sad thing is, so much has been revealed as a result of the fact that the CIA had to defend themselves that we may less safe as a nation than before this issue was raised.

What does Sean Pratt bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

That the folks within the Intel Community are humans too!

What’s the most interesting tidbit you’ve picked up from this book?

How blatantly un-American our Liberal media has become.

Any additional comments?

Very definately worth the time to read/listen!

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  • Mike
  • 25-06-12

That's a story that needed to be told!

Written by a person who led the interrogation of some of the worst terrorists....and he justifies the treatment those killers deserve!

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  • Mitch
  • 15-05-12

One of the best books on the war on terror!

This is by far the magnum opus of terrorism history books. You can't get any more direct than from the man who ran the Counter-Terrorism Center for the CIA. Most of the books I read (or listen to) are pretty good. But this book is great, in fact, it's perfect. I was very sad to hear it end.

It's because of men like Jose Rodriguez, that I am able to sit inside the US and write this review. Thank you to such a great American hero.

In addition to this book, I highly recommend Marc Thiessen's Courting Disaster book.

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  • Wayne
  • 07-12-15

Necessary summary of post 9/11 CIA activity!

Less than 15% of the 900+ books in my Audible library are non fiction, yet more than 15% of my reviews are of non-fiction books. My issue with this book is I'm uncertain how much of it is true and how much, if any, is self serving fiction. The book was released 3.5 years ago and it is among the long since listened to audiobooks in my Audible library.

As ex-chief of the CIA's Counterterrorism Center Jose Rodriguez certainly has the CIA background and first hand experience to write this book. On balance I am inclined to view Hard Measures as a factual recounting.

In any case, Hard Measures is a very worthwhile, even necessary, listen. Rodriguez's justification for aggressive interrogation techniques is especially worthwhile. Rodriguez is a true hero and his story needed to be told to the US public. I do not detect a political slant.

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  • Elton
  • 13-08-12

Truth beyond media and politics

What made the experience of listening to Hard Measures the most enjoyable?

The book was well written.

What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

How the slanted news media twisted truth to further their discrediting of G. W. Bush.

What about Sean Pratt’s performance did you like?

He spoke very well making the book more enjoyable and presented the author in a personal light.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

No. It did make me frustrated at how politics and the news media work to paint a patriot in the most negative light by using lies. Truth is not what they are about. We really can't believe anything they say because it is filter through their politically slanted pen.

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  • ian keller
  • 07-04-22

This man is a national treasure.

This man is a national treasure and a true hero to our country. Anyone who thinks otherwise is an ignorant shitbag.

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  • Walden
  • 01-02-22

Great book on EITs and CIA life abroad

Rodriguez's book is terrific in two primary senses: in its analysis of the pros and cons of Enhanced Interrogation Techniques, as the title suggests, and secondly, as an overall text detailing life in the Directorate of Operations overseas, and general context of clandestine operations. Particularly notable details in the latter category are the ease at which the Puerto Rican Rodriguez was able to blend in South American locales and build rapport with important and high-ranking intelligence sources in various countries. This underscores the importance of a diverse workforce in the Agency, not for political reasons, but rather for operational effectiveness, as evidenced by Rodriguez's strong language, cultural, and appearance-related traits that all aided his successful undercover conduct overseas within the Directorate of Operations. The book of course goes into significant detail on the arguments for and against Enhanced Interrogation Techniques, or as the media emotionally calls them, "torture." If one thinks the techniques Rodriguez describes qualify as torture, they should first look up what the Russians and other authoritarian states do in their interrogations. Rodriguez makes a strong case for the effectiveness and public misunderstanding of EITs and their use, and his analysis is aided his legal background with a law degree from the University of Florida. Highly recommended.

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  • jc 550m
  • 21-03-21

great book

if you want the deep dive into the Washington BS, Jose exposes the idiots in DC, bummer he can't get a bit more detailed.

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  • INFIDEL
  • 17-02-21

🤘🏼🤘🏼🤘🏼🤘🏼

Great book… Very well written… The narrator was sub par in my opinion… But it is not the worst… Overall very informative