In its final report last summer, the 9/11 Commission recounted the failures of the Clinton and Bush administrations to confront terrorist threats. Timothy Naftali's new book adds historical depth to that critique by tracing the development of U.S. counterterrorism policy since the end of World War II. Like the commission, Naftali -- a diplomatic historian at the University of Virginia who worked as a consultant to the panel -- focuses mainly on external threats to the United States and wonders whether the attacks of September 11, 2001, could have been prevented. But as an academic, he can more readily blame top policymakers and government agencies than the commissioners could. What others have termed failures of intelligence, he calls failures of policy.
Crenshaw, Martha. 2005. "Counterterrorism in Retrospect: Chronicle of a War Foretold." In Review Essay of Timothy Naftali, Blind Spot: The Secret History of American Counterterrorism.. NY:Foreign Policy 84, 187-193.