The Condor Years

The Secret History of South America’s Assassination Alliance

A completely updated edition—based on recently declassified archives and judicial investigations—of the story of the covert, U.S.-backed “anti-terrorist” network responsible for South America’s worst human rights abuses

“The story of Condor is secret history. Its architects and leaders concealed its activities and destroyed as many military records as possible after the fact. This book is an attempt to present a definitive investigative account of this time of unique transnational repression. ” —from the new introduction

First published nearly twenty years ago, distinguished journalist John Dinges’s “scrupulous, well-documented, and indignant” (Washington Post) The Condor Years blew the lid off a secret intelligence-sharing, torture, and assassination program named Operation Condor, which helped Latin American dictatorships stay in power for a decade—all with the blessing of the United States.

In the ensuing years, Dinges has closely tracked a series of groundbreaking judicial investigations—and resulting trials of military officers—in Argentina and Chile, and gained access to the largest-ever trove of CIA and FBI files on Latin America, which were declassified in 2019. Delving into the full documentary record of this most pivotal period in Latin American history, Dinges undertook a major revision of his original book, creating this riveting new edition, of which over 75 percent is completely new material.

A “major contribution to the historical record” (Foreign Affairs), The Condor Years is now the definitive story of Latin American dictatorships and repression, with extensive new material on the U.S. role, new revelations about targeted assassinations and collaboration between different nations’ security and intelligence services, and the fullest accounting to date of the victims of this global program of terror. It is crucial reading for anyone who is seeking to understand Latin America today and the U.S.’s enabling of autocratic governments in our neighbors to the south.


“Scrupulous, well-documented and indignant.”
The Washington Post
“Touch[es] directly upon issues at the center of today’s debate over U.S. foreign policy—like secrecy in the name of national security.”
The Nation
“Goes a long way toward bringing the truths of that dark time into the light.”
San Francisco Chronicle

Goodreads Reviews