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Hardcover:543 pages
Publisher:Simon & Schuster (1987)
ISBN: 0671601172

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“Everyone always says more than they’re supposed to,” Central Intelligence Agency Director William J. Casey told Bob Woodward in one of their major interviews for this book. Using hundreds of inside sources and secret documents, Woodward has pieced together an unparalleled account of the CIA, its Director, and the United States government.

Casey, the CIA Director from 1981-1987, reflected and helped define the foreign policy aspirations of the Reagan Administration that will come to be seen as defining its era. Maneuvering around Washington power centers, Casey was given a free hand and became probably the most powerful CIA Director in the forty-year history of the agency. He played comfortably and confidently on the world stage, committing his nation and President to new and expanded covert wars and clandestine relationships. Bound together by generation and philosophy, Reagan and Casey became a team that attempted to reshape the world.

Woodward’s extensive access includes a hospital visit to Casey on his death bed—so remarkable that it was doubted and seen as controversial for years before Ronald Kessler put the issue to rest in his book, The CIA at War. Kessler cites confirmation from William Donnelly, head of CIA administration, that “Woodward probably found a way to sneak in,” as well as Britt Snider, general counsel to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, whose formal investigation found that Woodward had 43 meetings or phone calls with Casey, including at the director’s home.

Veil is the story of the covert wars that were waged in a secretive atmosphere and became the centerpieces and eventual time bombs of American foreign policy in the 1980’s.


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“Veil lays bare, in a way that no reportage has done before, the power struggle between contending factions—both inside and outside the CIA—for control over the nation’s foreign intelligence apparatus…” -The Washington Times

“Bob Woodward, the master chronicler of Washington’s deepest secrets, has produced an investigative record of the CIA’s turbulent years under the late William Casey…Veil plows more ground than a dozen tractors in Iowa.” -U.S. News & World Report

“To read Veil is to be astonished at the access Woodward achieved…The reader is invited to understand Casey. The author dared open himself to Casey’s charm, to Casey’s rationale….” –New York Daily News

“Veil is a masterful, behind-the-scenes narrative of political intrigues at the highest levels of the federal intelligence bureaucracy…It is investigative high gossip and a damn good read.” -The Village Voice

“No matter whether they love or hate the book, intelligence professionals can’t ignore Veil—its wealth of detail about U.S. spying activities is unprecedented.” -The Christian Science Monitor

“A skillful journalist has penetrated our intelligence agencies…This is the William Casey I knew well: bluff, wide-ranging, impatient, daring, purposeful, enthusiastic, patriotic, secretive, cunning, deceptive.” -William Safire, The New York Times

“In Veil, Casey emerges as a passionate anti-communist and wily strategic thinker, albeit with the cloak-and-dagger mind-set he developed as spymaster for the OSS during World War II… Woodward paints a rich portrait of the hands-on director determined to affect policy…Much of what [Casey] might have said — and some of what he might never have admitted — has been uncovered by Watergate reporter Bob Woodward.” -David Alpern, Newsweek

“Reading Veil is something like watching the Iran-contra hearings on TV. If you were hooked on them, as I was, you’ll gobble up Veil, as I did.” -Robert Wilson, USA Today

“A revealing and important book…Casey emerges in these pages as an American original, a feisty, profane, pugnacious, dogmatic old man, determined to bull his way past the Congress, the press, the secretary of state, the ‘bean-counters’ in his own agency, and any other obstacles to his brand of big-stick jingoism…Woodward remains one of the best reporters of his generation, a man who knows how to play the subtle access game as well as anyone, and who emerges not only with his integrity intact, but with one hell of a story.” -J. Anthony Lukas, The Washington Post Book World

“Woodward has provided a valuable primer on what can happen when an overzealous CIA director decided to make policy….The value is in Woodward’s ability to capture details of how Casey blended intelligence with ideology.” -The Plain Dealer (Cleveland)

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