A Diamond’s Eye View of the World

a multi-faceted look at the middle east, and the middle west

your government’s bookshelf

Posted by adiamondinsunlight on July 9, 2008

My very dear friend R passed on this fascinating link today: a Department of Justice request for bids for a book order, for books that the FBI apparently needs.

When I want to buy a book, I check Amazon, as well as other online used-book purveyors, to compare costs and quality (ranging from “like new” to “acceptable”) so I know that I am getting the best deal.

When our government wants to buy books, it puts out a request for bids – its way of ensuring that it too gets the best deal.

Want to know what’s on the FBI’s wish list? A wide array of titles, ranging from the topical (Terror in the Name of God) to the practical (Microsoft Office Project Step by Step):
LI 001, 0143034669 GHOST WARS , 150, EA;
LI 002, 006050532X TERROR IN THE NAME OF GOD , 180, EA;
LI 003, 1400030846 LOOMING TOWER , 370, EA;
LI 004, 1857023811 HEZBOLLAH , 150, EA;
LI 005, 0812238087 UNDERSTANDING TERROR NETWORKS , 150, EA;
LI 006, 1934852023 2008 FEDERAL CRIMINAL CODE RULES BOOK , 100, EA;
LI 007, 0743234955 HOLY WAR INC , 30, EA;
LI 008, 1400030250 SOLDIERS OF GOD; WITH ISLAMIC WARRIORS , 30, EA;
LI 009, 0425191141 INSIDE ALQUAEDA; GLOBAL NETWORK , 30, EA;
LI 010, 1931930252 UNDERSTANDING ARABS : A GUIDE , 30, EA;
LI 011, 1883219825 FRANKLIN COREY STYLE GUIDE , 4, EA;
LI 012, 0743234359 AMERICAN JIHAD : THE TERRORIST , 30, EA;
LI 013, 0195141288 MAKERS OF CONTEMPORARY ISLAM , 20, EA;
LI 014, 0395393914 LINE BY LINE : HOW TO EDIT YOUR WRITING , 4, EA;
LI 015, 0979660742 THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE , 4, EA;
LI 016, 0060505915 THE TRUE BELIEVER, 385, EA;
LI 017, 1862075735 A FURY FOR GOD: THE ISLAMIST ATTACK , 30, EA;
LI 018, 081296618X ISLAMIA : A SHORT STORY , 30, EA;
LI 019, 0060516054 WHAT WENT WRING: THE CLASH OF BET ISLAM , 30, EA;
LI 020, 0764538837 MICROSOFT OFFICE 2003 FOR DUMMIES , 4, EA;
LI 021, 0764538810 ACCESS 2003 FOR DUMMIES , 4, EA;
LI 022, 0764539671 EXCEL 2003 BIBLE BY JOHN WALKENBACH , 2, EA;
LI 023, 0764539086 POWERPOINT 2003 FOR DUMMIES , 3, EA;
LI 024, 0735615225 MICROSOFT OFFICE POWERPOINT 2003 STEP BY STEP , 3, EA;
LI 025, 0735619557 MICROSOFT OFFICE PROJECT STEP BY STEP , 1, EA;
LI 026, 0140445587 THE KORAN (PENGUIN CLASSICS), 130, EA;

Since the FBI is mandated to operate exclusively on American soil, its request for 150 copies of Hezbollah strikes me as a bit curious – perhaps it would have been better off ordering a few more copies of the 2008 Federal Code Criminal Rules Book.

At any rate, the titles make it quite clear where the FBI’s current interests lie. Feel free to look a few of these titles up online – Ghost Wars, for example, is the short title of Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001.

Sounds juicy, doesn’t it? Here’s Amazon’s description of the book:

Steve Coll’s Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001 offers revealing details of the CIA’s involvement in the evolution of the Taliban and Al Qaeda in the years before the September 11 attacks. From the beginning, Coll shows how the CIA’s on-again, off-again engagement with Afghanistan after the end of the Soviet war left officials at Langley with inadequate resources and intelligence to appreciate the emerging power of the Taliban. He also demonstrates how Afghanistan became a deadly playing field for international politics where Soviet, Pakistani, and U.S. agents armed and trained a succession of warring factions.

If it sounds like a bit of a critique of the CIA’s operations, it is, although the Amazon review notes that Coll does give due attention to its successes, such as they were.

When I was in elementary school, our district’s program to encourage learning was called: Readers are Leaders.

We could use some good leadership in the FBI, at all levels – just like we could use some good leadership in all our government organizations. I’m a bit skeptical of the value of some of these books, but its a start.

(For any of you interested in bidding for this project: go to the original link and scroll down to the bottom of the page, where you will find the contact information for the DoJ’s contracting office.)

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