Mission Black List #1

I’ve just finished reading Mission Black List #1. The story told by the interrogator who found Saddam Hussein. It is an intriguing view, from the inside, of the military intelligence gathering in Iraq.  The interrogator, Eric Maddox, realized the centralized military interrogation was not producing results; so, he developed his own system.

While working in Tikrit, Eric realized there were family and tribal links between the men closest to Saddam.  The centralized interrogation – sending all prisoners to Baghdad – was not equipped to draw the links between prisoners. They just processed prisoners from all over Iraq and moved them out.  Eric created a link diagram of these relationships. This was innovative.  He was able to work his way up the  links until he found Black List #1, Saddam Hussein.

His story moves quickly over 6 months.  He knew he was on to something. Proving it to everyone else would be difficult. There were tense moments when he was about to make a break through and the chain of command had other plans. He was working outside the system. Until he could prove himself, he was a renegade. The military doesn’t work that way.

His story is full of lessons for all us: realizing there is a better way, working against the establishment, creating new ideas and being successful despite the barriers.  When organizations are large – like the military – they develop systems to manage processes. Sometimes, the best intentions just get in the way. Success comes from individuals, like Eric Maddox, who have better ideas and fight to prove them.

My New Year’s Resolution was to read 6 non fiction books. They have to be outside my area of expertise.  I started with Mission Black List #1. This book was #1 for my mission.  I found the book easy to read.  It was a quick read. The last few chapters, leading to capture, get really tense. I’m glad we have soldiers like Eric Maddox.

Mission Black List #1 Book Cover


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