Expectations:   Plot to be fast-forward moving, galloping along.
                        Heart-pounding moments and espionage episodes
I wanted to worry – really worry – about the mission, its agents, the people and our country.

Found:              Intricate from the beginning:  the streets, culture, people – the scientist and his plan.
                        W were guided – “ersbad/ershad” (Arabic for “guidance”) toward uncomplicating everything with the use of clear, concise sentences and short chapters.
                        We feel Dr. Ali’s, calculated fear which makes me think there is a mini theme here and it is managing it!  See quotes:  pg 52 “Embrace my fear and hide in it.”  Pg 213 “Fear is my friend.  Live inside it.  Climb it like a wall.”  Pg. 240 “Molavi tried to control his fear, and make every twitch and shiver a jolt of strength.”


US                                            BRITAIN                                 IRAN

CIA Director, Fox                    Sir David Plumb                       *Al-Majnoun – Crazy One
Harry Pappas                           Adrian Winkler                                    Mehdi Esfahani
Marcia Hill                               Jackie, Kahim, Marwan                        *Kamal Atwan
                                                Mahmoud Azadi (agent)           Reza
                                                                                                Karim Molavi – Dr. Ali


Pgs. 1-32:        I was confused, believing throughout that I was rereading the Iraq/Kuwait events and its Weapons of Mass Destruction offense that Bush/Cheney pursued under the National Security Directive 54, authorizing the use of force to remove Iraq from Kuwait and remove Hussein from power.  (1991)

Pg. 105:           Ignatius wrote: “Power was not what you did, but what people believed you did.”  This was the essence of Al-Majnoun’s authority.  How profound a statement is this?

Pg. 149:           The “turn” of events – a body of lies (title of Ignatius’s last book/movie staring Leonardo DiCaprio) – a readout on errors.  Tests were not working verses working.  Cryptic messages.  False photos and false leads.   Harry’s son saying “all’s good, Dad” and Harry saying to son, “all’s good, son.”

Ignatius portrays the US president and his cabinet as gung ho for immediate war without a complete and thorough investigation, legitimating the information and without prior sanctions or global pressure.  How did this make you feel?  I felt it was glaringly unrealistic.

Pgs. 264-268:  “Faulty equipment” section – thought – what would Iran do to Atwan if the power knew that Atwan was behind it all?

Pg 332:            What was the purpose and why do you think the Increment killed Reza, Molavi’s friend?

Pgs. 337-339:  Why do you think Al-Majnoun killed Hakim and Marwan but helped Karim and Jackie escape?

Pg. 345:           Did it surprise you that Jackie “took aim at his head and pulled the trigger.  Then she turned the gun on herself”?

Pg. 347:           Here are a list of questions that I was asking myself!
                                    How had four of Harry’s people died in Mashad?
                                    What had surprised the well-trained team from the Increment?
                                    Why had their original escape plan been abandoned?  (This was my biggest question…not so much why the original escape plan was abandoned because that was revealed, but why would Jackie place her life/trust in the hands of Al-Majnoun?  She was better trained than this and she had just seen him kill two of her agents!)
                                    How long had the Iranians known that this operation was coming at them?
                                    Had the operation been compromised from the beginning?
                                    What was Kamal Atwan’s role?

Pg. 352:           How is it that Atwan said that Harry Pappas was the Brit’s man now?

Pg. 364:           Al Majnoun’s real name was Kamal Hussein Sadr.  What was the significance of revealing his real name at the end of the book?  Answer: Kamal Hussein was Sadam Hussein’s son-in-law and second cousin in real life.  He defected to Jordan and assisted inspection teams in looking for WMD’s in Iraq!  He was convinced by Sadam to return to Iraq – all to be forgiven – and was killed 3 days later in a 13-minute firefight in a safe house.


Pg. 367:           The French reported on the situation saying Iran’s Etelaat-e Sepah had been briefed with the chief thanking the service’s dedicated efforts: martyr Mehdi Esfhani, foiled plot by Western agencies to steal Iran’s nuclear secrets, and traitor – Karim Molavi killed.

Pgs. 369-370:  Didn’t the White House & Appleman seem irresponsible in waiting to act and “Damn the consequences!”?

Pg 372:            General Director Fox seemed to accept and not question anything  -- not the US government in wanting to bomb Iran, Harry not wanting to tell him about Atwan, belief that he (as CIA director) had any authority or power.  Wouldn’t you think that as CIA Director he would be pounding Pappas for answers?

Pg 375:            How feasible did you find it that Britain would usurp the US and make its announcement first and then discuss the situation with the US?

Pg 385:            Iranians didn’t know Al-Majnoun was working for Britain’s Atwan – but couldn’t they also TiVo Mashad like Harry did and figure out who Al-Majnoun was and that he had killed Esfahani?

Pg. 384:           Why would Iran continue to buy equipment form Atwan?  If the equipment is defective and Malvai’s work is stained, why would they continue purchasing equipment from the same source?  Did they had a second source as purchase and put together at the Mashad location?


Go to www.gwu/edu/nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB80 for the National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book no. 80, Updated Feb. 11, 2004 or type in “Iraq and Weapons of Mass Destruction.”