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Book Review - LTC (ret) Oliver North's "Counterfeit Lies"

The following book review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper. You can read all of our book reviews by clicking on the Books category link on the right sidebar.

9781476714356_p0_v3_s260x420Counterfeit Lies by Oliver North with Bob Hamer, although written as a novel, is fact based.  The realism comes from Oliver North’s expertise regarding military matters and national security while retired FBI Special Agent Bob Hamer relays his experiences as an undercover agent. It is written as a message to Americans of what is happening regarding Korea and Iran’s nuclear program as well as an eye opener as to how the men and women on the ground must battle not only the enemy but also bureaucrats.

The action packed plot takes off from the very first page.  Veteran undercover FBI agent Jake Kruse is investigating a Korean counterfeit smuggling ring.  Kruse finds himself embedded into the deadly underworld of North Korean espionage, Hezbollah terror, and the sinister deception Iran uses to acquire nuclear weapons.  He needs to determine if he should follow his orders or do what is right to keep America safer.

There are three parts to the storyline.  The first has the authors educating Americans on how the North Koreans use counterfeit hundred dollar bills to fund its nuclear program.  Oliver North explained to, “We gave the Intaglio Presses to the Shah of Iran.  After the bad guys took control of Iran they gave it to the North Koreans.  These Supernotes, hundred dollar bills, are so good no bank teller in America would be able to tell the difference between a real bill and a phony one. The only way to tell is that the phony ones have absolutely no errors.  Most countries will not take these bills because they are worried about them being counterfeit. Why do you think the US Government just put out a brand new $100 dollar bill that has additional security?  But mark my words, North Korea as we speak is in the process of creating a duplicate.  This administration is doing nothing to crack down on Korea’s counterfeiting.”

The second part is a warning on how Iran will achieve a nuclear bomb while using the façade of cooperating with the international atomic energy nuclear inspectors.  The Iranians achieve a nuclear program by having the North Koreans build nuclear warheads and ICBMs for them.  A powerful quote in the book shows why this administration has dropped the ball, “The nuclear arms deal with Iran is the only diplomatic claim to fame this White House has left.  If this treaty goes down the tubes, so does the President’s legacy as a great statesman.”

North explained that this administration either does not understand the magnitude of the problem or is not being honest with the American people.  “By making a nuclear arms deal with Iran the world as we know it will change.  The Iranians through the Koreans will get a bomb and the end result will be that the Saudis, Egyptians, Turks, and even the Japanese will get a bomb.  The likelihood of a nuclear weapon going off grows dramatically and it is all do to the ineptness of this administration.  Instead of limiting and reducing nuclear weapons this President’s legacy is going to be enhancing nuclear proliferation.”

The third part of the book discusses how bureaucrats seem to be more concerned about their own promotions then doing what is right.  Bob Hamer points out to that there are basically two types in the FBI, “Those who go the street agent route or those that look for advancement by becoming administrators.  It used to be you were promoted for the good you did.  Yet, toward the end of my career it was that you got promoted if you did not do anything bad.  One of my basic complaints was that the administrators always seemed to take the easy way out and not take any initiative.  This was pretty frustrating for me.  The FBI characters in the book, Jake and Trey, are typical street agents.  I know a great many who are really like them and are more concerned with keeping Americans safe then getting promoted.  They just want to be allowed to do their job. The quote in the book, ‘It is easier to seek forgiveness than permission,’ is the attitude of many.  We just wanted to do what was right and instead many times had a monkey wrench thrown by headquarters.”

North agrees with Hamer and weighed in, “Most of those wearing too many stars on their shoulders and too many stripes on their sleeves don’t understand the war we have been fighting and have never experienced the sounds of gun fire.  They try to fight this war by sitting next to a wastebasket in the Pentagon.”

Counterfeit Lies is a must read. It is an eye opener to issues and the handling of them.  This novel is very realistic and will allow the reader to question what is really happening within the different agencies.  Although it is written as a fiction story after speaking with the authors the plot is all too real. This novel is a riveting and gripping tale by North and Hamer who have ‘been there, and done that.’