Gabriel Schoenfeld wrote this piece for The Bulwark on September 21, 2021. Read the full story here.
Can a straight line be drawn between the 9/11 attacks and the rise of Donald Trump? An affirmative answer is the startling thesis of Spencer Ackerman, a Pulitzer Prize-winning national security reporter at the Daily Beast. His stated ambition in Reign of Terror “is to confront and destroy both the War on Terror and the conditions that created it.” The work is a fierce indictment of what Ackerman calls the Security State, which he defines as “the stewards of American power: the CIA, the National Security Agency (NSA), the uniformed military, the FBI, and all the other intelligence and law-enforcement adjuncts.”
The power of the Security State, at least until 9/11, was guaranteed by “its ability to keep America safe at home.” But almost inevitably, Ackerman continues, the Security State failed. At fault was a belief in “American exceptionalism,” which according to Ackerman’s idiosyncratic definition, is “nothing more than white innocence applied globally.”
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