In movies and TV shows like Zero Dark Thirty and Homeland, Hollywood has fictionalized the roles of intelligence officers in tracking down terrorists. But the truth is often filled with personal and political challenges beyond those that screenwriters imagine. Nada Bakos worked in several jobs at the CIA, including as a targeting officer focusing on the founder of Al-Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. In her new book, 'The Targeter,' she describes the experiences and challenges she faced along the way.
Last week, David Priess got on the phone with Nada to talk about what a CIA targeting officer does, what it was like interrogating detainees in Iraq, and the difficulties she encountered in getting her book to print.