After decades of writing and research about American intelligence, Joseph Trento has written the most authoritative indictment of CIA splinter groups, two generations of Bush family involvement in illegal financial networks, and the funding of the agents of terror. Prelude to Terror reveals the history of a corrupt group of spymasters--led by Ted Shackley--who were fired when Jimmy Carter became president, but who maintained their intelligence portfolio and used it to create a private intelligence network. After this rogue group helped engineer Carter's defeat in 1980 and allied with George H.W. Bush, these former CIA men planned and conducted what became the Iran-Contra scandal and, through the Saudis, allied the U.S. with extreme elements in Islam. The CIA's number-one front man, Edwin P. Wilson, was framed by Shackley and his cohorts so that Wilson's operations could be taken over. For the first time the story of how CIA director George H. W. Bush was recruited into this network, and brought it into the bosom of the Saudi royal family, is told in detail, as well as how this group's manipulation of the CIA bureaucracy allowed Osama bin Laden's fundraising to thrive as al Qaeda flourished under Saudi and CIA protection.