University of California, Berkeley
|Notable work(s)||Wedge - The Secret War between the FBI and CIA|
Mark Riebling is a U.S. historian, essayist, and policy analyst. He has written on national security, the history of ideas, and Vatican foreign policy during Cold War and Second World War, and is the author of Wedge: The Secret War between the FBI and CIA.
From 2001 to 2010 Riebling served as Editorial Director at the Manhattan Institute and directed its Book Program. Previously he had worked as a book editor in the Adult Trade Division at Random House. He did graduate work in political philosophy at Columbia University, studied English at Dartmouth College, and majored in philosophy at the University of California at Berkeley.
From 2002 to 2006 Riebling served as Research Director for the Center for Policing Terrorism, which partnered with LAPD Chief William Bratton to create and administer the National Counter Terrorism Academy. The center also reportedly provided analytical support to NYPD Deputy Commissioner David Cohen, a former CIA Deputy Director for Operations. In his 2008 book, Crush the Cell, NYPD Deputy Commissioner for Counter Terrorism Michael A. Sheehan wrote that the center "provided a team of intelligence analysts that supported our work with timely and accurate reports on fast-breaking issues."
Riebling's analysis of security failures influenced post-911 intelligence reforms. Andrew C. McCarthy, the deputy U.S. attorney who prosecuted the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, wrote in The Wall Street Journal in 2006 that "Riebling’s analysis has now become conventional wisdom, accepted on all sides. Such, indeed, is the reasoning behind virtually all of the proposals now under consideration by no fewer than seven assorted congressional committees, internal evaluators, and blue-ribbon panels charged with remedying the intelligence situation."
Criticism of his work
Riebling’s ideas have drawn criticism from both the political left and right. Writing in Reason Magazine, Michael W. Lynch criticized Riebling from a libertarian perspective, alleging others have used his arguments to broaden the FBI's ability to collect intelligence.
Wedge: From Pearl Harbor to 9/11
Wedge (Knopf, 1994; Simon & Schuster, 2002) traces the conflict between U.S. law enforcement and intelligence, from World War II through the War on Terror. Using documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act and interviews with former agents, Riebling presents FBI-CIA rivalry through the prism of national traumas—including the Kennedy assassination, Watergate, and 9/11--and argues that the agencies' failure to cooperate has seriously endangered U.S. national security.
Wedge traces many of the problems to differing personalities, missions, and corporate cultures: While the CIA evolved from freewheeling foreign operations, the FBI focused on domestic security and the punishment of criminals.
Discussing the paperback edition in The Washington Post, Vernon Loeb wrote: "If Riebling's thesis--that the FBI-CIA rivalry had 'damaged the national security and, to that extent, imperiled the Republic'--was provocative at the time, it seems prescient now, with missed communications between the two agencies looming as the principal cause of intelligence failures related to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks."
- Michael R. Beschloss, "Such Bad Friends," The New York Times Book Review, November 6, 1994.
- Los Angeles Police Department News Release, March 7, 2008.
- Christopher Dickey, Securing the City (Simon and Schuster, 2009), 30ff
- Michael A. Sheehan, ISBN 978-0-307-38217-7.
- Andrew C. McCarthy, "The Intelligence Mess," The Wall Street Journal, September 20, 2006.
- Michael W. Lynch, “Secret Agent Scam: The FBI Leverages it Failures,” Reason, June 6, 2002
- Vernon Loeb, "From the 'Hanssen Effect' to Sept. 11," The Washington Post, October 21, 2002.
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