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Mission Compromised by Oliver North


Rating: (Read only if your interest is strong)


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Do as ISEG

There’s a perfectly good reason that the title, Mission Compromised, appears in smaller typeface on the book jacket than the author’s name. The publisher estimated accurately that only Oliver North’s waning popularity will attract readers to this novel. For those readers brave enough to bother trying, there are about 200 good pages out of the 600 presented. Just try to find them among all the acronyms (like ISEG above), the weak dialogue, and the slow moving plot.

Here’s an excerpt of what you’ll find. This is from the middle of the book where North himself appears as a character (p. 242-3):

"I didn't know that the weather was going to be this bad, or I would have arranged to meet in a place more suitable to your advanced age and frail condition, sir," Newman shot back.

North smiled again at the younger man. "So what brings a knight out on a dog like this?"

The two men were now standing next to each other at the edge of the pine trees on the west side of the memorial. To the east, beyond the six men and their flag, the two living men could see Lincoln's rectangular memorial, Washington's tall pillar, with the White House just beyond—and to their right, the dome of the Capitol, all glowing white in the misting rain.                                      

Newman didn't answer. Instead, he reached into his pocket and withdrew the passport he'd removed from the fireplace safe. He handed  it to the older man.

Now it was North's turn to be surprised.

"Where'd you get this?" North said after looking at the passport with the name "William P. Goode" typed in beside the picture of a younger, thinner North.

"It was in a safe in my office, along with some files."

For a moment North said nothing. "You're in my old third-floor office?" he asked finally.

"Yes. I'm now the director of the Special Projects Office at the NSC. I report directly to the National Security Advisor."

North looked up from the passport. "Does he know—?" he started to say.

"No one knows, so far. At least I don't think anyone knows," replied Newman.

North's expression showed that he was trying to recall something from a long time ago. "This was in a safe built into a secret compartment in the back wall of the fireplace in my office. How did you know how to open the fireplace?" asked North, still holding the passport.

"Quite by accident . . . not long before I sent you that postcard to set up this meeting. I'd been stretching my back and had grabbed the mantel when it shifted and opened the concealed compartment. The safe inside was unlocked, and the passport was in the drawer."

"Was there anything else in the safe?"

"Yes, a file pouch full of documents. Over a hundred pages, I would guess. I skimmed through them. I couldn't help but notice that a good number of the pages had either been signed or initialed by the

President," the younger officer said, his hands now thrust deeply in his pockets to ward off the cold.

"Hmm, that sounds about right. Man . . . after all these years—" North began.

Newman interrupted. "But that's not the main reason I asked you to meet me here tonight, 1m the one with a problem, and I need your advice."

"What’s that?" said North.

Newman took a big breath. There was no going back now. But he could trust this man, and he knew it. "The National Security Advisor has directed me to set up a joint U.S.-UK covert unit to go after terrorists and what they call 'international lawbreakers' for the United Nations. The unit is supposed to hunt down individuals selected by the UN, and all of this theoretically has the backing of the President and the Prime Minister of the UK," Newman explained.

"And . . . ?" asked North.

"And I don't know how legal any of this is, but I've been sworn to total secrecy. I can’t even talk about it with the commandant, General Grisham, my wife—anybody."

Unless you’re a fan of military action novels written with religious messages every fifty or so pages, you can take a mass on Oliver North’s Mission Compromised.

Steve Hopkins, December 23, 2002


ã 2003 Hopkins and Company, LLC


The recommendation rating for this book appeared in the January 2003 issue of Executive Times


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