Review Zero Footprint by Ralph Pezzullo and Simon Chase (an alias)


SOF Support
Sep 8, 2006
No lie, I'm trying to decide if I want to continue reading this book. It starts off great: troubled youth joins the Royal Marines, makes it into the SBS, and becomes a private military contractor after injuring himself in a jump accident. He did the usual guard this person, train these foreigners contracts and it all seemed legit.

Then 9/11 happened and I read long enough beyond that to write this review. I'll hit the highlights and you tell me if I'm wrong to believe this work of fiction is being marketed as non-fiction.

- He was with his client, an Imam, in Kabul when 9/11 happened. THE VERY NEXT DAY CIA's Ground Branch guys showed up where they were staying and told the author and his team they should clear out of Kabul because it was going to be "flattened." Details in the ensuing chapters have the CIA's point man here, I want to emphasize this is on 9/12, as Michael Scheuer. Scheuer was the former head of the Bin Laden unit within the CIA and he is on the ground in Kabul within 24 hours of the towers falling? Um, okay.
- Simon's team was hired on the spot by "Michael S." and flown out of the country to Tashkent where we already had a flightline of C-130's and Blackhawks. Simon and his boys were fighting to retake Herat alongside Ismail Khan by the end of the second week in September.
- August 2004, "Michael S." approaches Simon to hunt an HVT. Simon flew into Bagram in August 2004 where according to the book it was already freezing at night before flying to Jalalabad airfield. At JAF he checked into a contractor operations center, drew weapons from the armory, and took his boys into Tora Bora to search for UBL. By October 2004, according to the author, J-bad had CHU's for living quarters.

Problem with August 2004...I was at Bagram and it wasn't freezing. Kabul's temps, and Kabul is always colder than Bagram:
August 2004 Historical Weather at Kabul International Airport, Afghanistan - Weather Spark

And JAF? It didn't exist in August 2004, not as described. There were one or two ODAs living in the old tower and that was it, the military action in J-bad was at the PRT on the site of the old Russian base.

ETA: Homey described 4 dead in roughly 4 days outside of J-bad In October 2004. Yeah, that never happened.
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You are not wrong at all that this certainly appears to be fiction being marketed as non-fiction.

One irony is that if it's entirely made up by a guy who didn't do shit, it doesn't even have to go through Prepublication Review at the National Agencies, which for certain people is required for all writing. You don't? They'll sue you for your profits.

Edited for redundancy.
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Thanks for the review.

I had almost picked this up over the weekend, but the write-up on the backcover read to much like a bad Tom Clancy knockoff.

Glad to see I made the right choice.