Student Writes Book about Guantanamo Experience

Posted: April 13, 2006 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Maura Kelly

book cover

Last year, Erik Saar, a master’s student in his first semester at the School of Public Policy, co-authored a book titled “Inside the Wire: A Military Intelligence Soldier’s Eyewitness Account of Life at Guantanamo” (Penguin Press, May 2005).

“It’s about my time as an Arabic linguist and intelligence analyst in the U.S. Army and how my experience in Guantanamo strongly challenged some of my beliefs regarding U.S. policy,” Saar says.

“Within the course of six months in 2003, I went from being an eager volunteer –happy to use my skills to contribute to the fight against terrorism – to believing the camp represented a moral and strategic failure. Through my experiences translating in the interrogation booth and analyzing the intelligence – or lack thereof – coming out of the camp, I came to believe the policies I saw were inconsistent with the core American values I thought I was defending as a soldier.”

Saar also began to think there was a practical argument against many of the polices at the camp. “The meager amount of intelligence gathered in Guantanamo was not worth the extensive harm brought to America’s international reputation due to policies prevalent there,” he says.

Saar, a senior research analyst with the Government Services division of the strategic consulting company DFI International, wrote the book with Viveca Novak, a Washington correspondent for Time magazine.

Following the book’s publication, Saar appeared on “60 Minutes,” “Good Morning America,” “Hardball with Chris Mathews,” “The O’Reilly Factor,” and BBC’s “Newsnight.” The book was also featured in numerous radio and print outlets, including National Public Radio and Mother Jones.

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