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"In a perfect world, the State Department is able to work out the conflicts that we're having with other nations. And the second option, traditionally, historically, is war. So only after 1947, after the national security act was this third option put into play, which is the CIA's hidden hand. So in essence if diplomacy fails and war is unwise, call on the CIA's Special Activities Division."

Those are the words that investigative journalist and author Annie Jacobsen uses to describe the work of the CIA's paramilitary arm. And that work is the subject of Jacobsen's latest, Surprise, Kill, Vanish: The Secret History of CIA Paramilitary Armies, Operators, and Assassins. In this episode of Stratfor Talks' Pen and Sword, host Fred Burton speaks with Jacobsen about her inspiration, how she conducted her research and what she learned about the element of U.S. foreign policy payed out in secret. 

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