Testimonials - Unjustifiable Means
Mark Fallon is precisely the type of official that our nation most values when facing a threat: tough, courageous, capable, experienced, eager to close with the enemy, and – no less important – fiercely faithful to the laws and values that define our country. Unlike some others in the Bush administration, he did not take his oath of office to condone illegality, incompetence, or dishonor, no matter how high the rank of the official ordering otherwise. By refusing to participate in and speaking out against the abuse of enemy captives, Fallon and his NCIS colleagues defended their integrity and our nation.
Alberto Mora Former General Counsel, Department of the Navy; Senior Fellow, Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, Harvard Kennedy School
The dark side is no place for America. Based on first-hand knowledge, Fallon reveals how we got there, who drove the bus, and what to do to make sure we never make a return trip.
Mark Fallon spent decades helping to put away the worst of the worst. His insider account of what our country lost—in intelligence and integrity—when it resorted to torture is chilling. A must-read for all who want to understand not only how it happened, but the unfinished business of making sure it never happens again.
When the history of the post-9/11 period is written, Fallon’s name will be among the heroes. No one was more committed to protecting America from its enemies—yet he was one of the few who understood that our values are a critical asset in that fight.
Elisa Massimino Chief Executive Officer, Human Rights First
Former counterterrorism official Mark Fallon uncovers the many layers of responsibility for the illegal, immoral and counterproductive use of torture to bring justice to terrorists. Fallon’s account is essential reading for those who wish to understand this dark period in American history, and its destructive consequences for law, justice, and ultimately, for the security of the United States.
Karen J. Greenberg Director, Center on National Security, Fordham Law; Author of Rogue Justice and The Torture Papers
I first met Mark Fallon over 35 years ago when he worked for me as a counter narcotics agent in the Philippines. Starting then through his writing of this critically important book focused on the treatment of detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Mark’s commitment to truth, justice and always “doing the right thing” has been at his core. I was the Director of NCIS when Mark brought disturbing information to me regarding potential detainee abuse……he was forceful and unrelenting in pushing information forward. Because of Mark’s refusal to simply “follow what others were doing”, we were able to identify wrongdoing and become a forceful catalyst for policy change. Mark has no peer in his demand for truth and fairness.
Dave Brant Former Director, Naval Criminal Investigative Service
Mark Fallon’s account of Bush-era interrogation policies and practices is a must read for anyone wanting an insider understanding of how the United States ended up condoning torture in the race to stop terrorist activities post-9/11. Unjustifiable Means makes plain how the decision process and choices of powerful insiders permitted groupthink to dominate the discourse on intelligence gathering. This book stands as a powerful counter-narrative to the official monologue on “enhanced interrogation techniques” in the hopes that the United States will never go down that road again. Mark Fallon’s story will inspire you to stand with courage and integrity in confronting wrongs, despite incredible odds and overwhelming obstacles, because character and truth will not be silenced.
Deputy Chief Roy H. Bethge (Ret) Co-Founder, The Virtus Group, Inc.
Mark Fallon has dedicated virtually his entire adult life to protecting the people of our country as a federal law enforcement officer at home and abroad. In that role he swore to uphold the Constitution and the laws of the United States. His first person account raises important considerations about honoring that rule of law while respecting human rights.
Robert W. McKenna Associate Dean - School of Justice Studies, Roger Williams University
In one of the most shameful chapters in U.S. history, government officials authorized the systematic torture of national security detainees, aided and abetted by health professionals who helped create, supervise, and implement the U.S. torture program. Such profound disregard for the rule of law not only inflicted severe physical and psychological harm on detainees, it undermined national security and the core values of American democracy. This shameful history must be fully exposed and confronted to ensure that it is never repeated. Fallon’s book sheds light on the torture that was committed in the name of all Americans and is a critical step in the accountability for such crimes.
Vincent Iacopino, MD, PhD Senior Medical Advisor, Physicians for Human Rights; Adjunct Professor of Medicine, University of Minnesota Medical School; Senior Research Fellow, Human Rights Center, University of California, Berkeley
Unjustifiable Means is a wakeup call of epic proportions! Mark Fallon takes us on a personal journey deep into the world of counter terrorism and reveals how officials systematically cast aside the universal principles of justice and human rights during prisoner interrogations. The evidence is clear - these illicit techniques did not work – they didn't yield quality intelligence. This is also a story of unselfish personal courage and ethics - of speaking truth to power and coming face-to-face and toe-to-toe with some of the most powerful democratic institutions in the world. This book is a must-read for every leader, practitioner and policymaker who is personally committed to doing the right thing.
Cal Corley Assistant Commissioner (Ret), Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Ottawa, Canada
Mark Fallon is the Serpico in the war on terror, trying to win the war by doing it the right way. Unjustifiable Means provides an inside look at counterterrorism operations and the sacrifices that good people make to win that war. Fallon shows how torture has made us less safe and that it may make people talk, but it doesn’t make them tell the truth.
Bill Dedman Pulitzer Prize winning investigative reporter; Senior Writer, Newsday
When “the gloves came off” and the United States embarked in a dirty war against perceived international terrorists, a handful of professionals from the Armed Forces and NCIS took a stand against torture and defended constitutional values. Mark Fallon was one of them, and he was also in the best position to see how the policy of taking interrogation to the “dark side” (as Vice-President Cheney announced) would be useless and worse: counter-productive. Since then he has courageously and unfailingly spoken out against practices that are illegal and immoral. His book is a lesson on how to confront terror without betraying our humanity.
Juan Mendez Professor of Human Rights Law in Residence; Commissioner, International Commission of Jurists (Former UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, 2010-2016) Washington College of Law
If we are to make intelligent decisions about the future, Americans must know the truth about what their government has done in the past. This book shines a light on a dark chapter of our history. Required reading for anyone who loves our country.
Kermit Roosevelt Professor of Law, University of Pennsylvania Law School; Author of Allegiance
Mark Fallon came upon one of the life-defining, and nation-shaping crisis moments all of us who choose to work in the national security world hope to encounter at some point in our careers – and dread at the same time. For Mark and a small number of officers in the NCIS, CIA, FBI, and US military, that crisis was involvement in the “enhanced interrogation program” during the War on Terror: a euphemism for government-designed and ordered torture. This was torture by every definition the United States has used for centuries, and by every law the US has written to define and stop torture from being used by anyone. I can tell you: the pressure to follow orders – from the President, no less, we all were informed – and to go along is immense. Mark immediately opposed the program as illegal, ineffective, unnecessary, and un-American, and in so doing defended the essence of American law and society.
His book, Unjustifiable Means, details the moral, legal, and operational challenges Mark confronted as he tried to uphold the oath to our constitution and flag that all American national security officers take. Americans need to know how we went wrong, how we have not recovered from having engaged in torture as a nation, and how there are principled men and women like Mark who know how to defend the nation while affirming American laws and values.
I worked with Mark, I was involved in the torture program, too. I know what happened. I lived the impossible pressures to get it right and “do whatever it takes now, or have Americans die perhaps because I wasn’t “tough” enough.” Read Unjustifiable Means to feel necessary anger at what we have done to ourselves, to learn what happened, to see how America can protect itself, and to feel proud that men and woman like Mark Fallon embody what a true American hero is.
Glenn L. Carle CIA Operations Officer (Ret); Former Deputy National Intelligence Office for Transitional Threats; Author of The Interrogator
Mark Fallon is a true patriot & professional. In the wake of the shocking attacks of 9/11, he didn’t panic. He opposed torture and marched forward with dedication and discipline to protect the country. He tackled his missions with quiet heroism, speaking truth to power, and steadfastly abiding by American values and the law. The nation is safer because of Mark Fallon and his team.
Stephen N. Xenakis, M.D. Brigadier General (Ret), USA
Mark Fallon's strategic intelligence and interrogation chops are unsurpassed among professionals who are the best of the best. This distinguished NCIS veteran knows what works, what doesn't work, and what the strategic costs and dangers are of not knowing (or not caring) about the difference. Mark's counter-terrorism interrogation assignments span the geography from Bagram to Guantanamo and the years from 2002 to 2004. This long-awaited book is a must-read for national security policy makers and operators.
Brigadier General David R. Irvine Army Strategic Intelligence Officer (Ret)
Mark Fallon’s Unjustifiable Means recounting his actions of faith, courage, and duty to challenge the government’s torture practices shined a light in a place many did not want to see - or be seen. His knowledge, experience, and research proved a more valid and humane means to educe information exists. Unjustifiable Means is not the end, but rather the beginning, of the story of great change in interview practices. The legacy of Fallon's actions will be felt throughout the military, intelligence, and law enforcement professions for generations as evidence-based interview practices continue to grow to become the norm.
Timothy Janowick Chief of Police, Mount Prospect (Illinois) Police Department
For over a decade, the American citizenry has been pummeled with propaganda about how Torture Kept Us Safe.™ Notably, the propagandists are typically bereft of actual interrogation experience—while the men and women who have most heroically opposed torture are America’s top interrogation professionals. Mark Fallon is one of those professionals, and Unjustifiable Means is more than just a firsthand account of America’s descent into torture and of the terrible costs of that descent. It is also a vital warning for future generations against the temptations of practices that are illegal, immoral, and horrifically counterproductive.
Barry Eisler Former Directorate of Operations, CIA; Author of the #1 Bestseller Livia Lone