"An eye-opening account of America's relations with Poland and its intelligence service…A lively and insightful exploration of an overlooked international alliance."
—Kirkus Reviews, *starred review*
Spanning decades and continents, from the battlefields of the Balkans to secret nuclear research labs in Iran and embassy grounds in North Korea, this saga begins in 1990. As the United States cobbles together a coalition to undo Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait, six US officers are trapped in Iraq with intelligence that could ruin Operation Desert Storm if it is obtained by the brutal Iraqi dictator. Desperate, the CIA asks Poland, a longtime Cold War foe famed for its excellent spies, for help. Just months after the Polish people voted in their first democratic election since the 1930s, the young Solidarity government in Warsaw sends a veteran ex-Communist spy who'd battled the West for decades to rescue the six Americans.
John Pomfret's gripping account of the 1990 cliffhanger in Iraq is just the beginning of the tale about intelligence cooperation between Poland and the United States, cooperation that one CIA director would later describe as "one of the two foremost intelligence relationships that the United States has ever had." Pomfret uncovers new details about the CIA's black site program that held suspected terrorists in Poland after 9/11 as well as the role of Polish spies in the hunt for Osama bin Laden.
In the tradition of the most memorable works on espionage, Pomfret's book tells a distressing and disquieting tale of moral ambiguity in which right and wrong, black and white, are not conveniently distinguishable. As the United States teeters on the edge of a new cold war with Russia and China, Pomfret explores how these little-known events serve as a reminder of the importance of alliances in a dangerous world.
John Pomfret, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, served as a correspondent for the Washington Post for two decades, covering wars, revolutions, and China. His recent book, The Beautiful Country and the Middle Kingdom, won the Arthur Ross Book Award from the Council on Foreign Relations. The recipient of numerous journalism awards, he lives with his wife and three children in Berkeley, CA.