Powers, Thomas. The Man Who Kept the Secrets: Richard Helms and the CIA. New York: Knopf, 1979. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1980. New York: Pocket Books, 1981. [pb]
Clark comment: This is one of the best books written about American intelligence by a non-intelligence-trained individual. It reads easily and amuses in the author's clear desire to denigrate his subject and his frustration in his failure to be able to do so. In one of the limited cases where we agree on something, NameBase notes that "[w]hen it first appeared in 1979, this book was widely regarded as one of the best ever written about the CIA."
Pforzheimer says The Man Who Kept the Secrets is simultaneously one of the most comprehensive books on the CIA and "seriously flawed with errors of fact and concept." A serious shortcoming is Powers' "failure to weave the world situation into his CIA tapestry.... The author does not understand Helms and is sometimes very unfair to him. This is a book ... which should be approached ... with a full recognition of its many errors, although it should be read by the professional."
Constantinides advises a careful reading of Powers' notes, which "often contain more revealing, comprehensive, and perceptive comments or explanations than the main text." Whatever Powers may have missed or misinterpreted -- and the list is long -- this book "can be classified as outstanding, especially for an intelligence outsider."
Also, see Kenneth L. Adelman, "A Clandestine Clan," International Security 5 (Summer 1980): 152-171. This is a review essay on The Man Who and Roosevelt's Countercoup. Adelman was Director of ACDA, 1984-1987.
An adaptation of Powers' work was published as: Thomas Powers, "Inside the Department of Dirty Tricks," Atlantic Monthly 244, no. 2 (Aug. 1979): 33-64. [http://www.theatlantic.com]
Prados, John. Lost Crusader: The Secret Wars of CIA Director William Colby. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.
Click for reviews.
Rafalko, Frank J. MH/CHAOS: The CIA's Campaign Against the Radical New Left and the Black Panthers. Annapolis, MD: U.S. Naval Institute Press, [forthcoming in October] 2011.
Goulden, Washington Times, 9 Dec. 2011, and Intelligencer 19.1 (Winter-Spring 2012), notes that this book "relies on CIA documents gathered during the course of MH/CHAOS, plus the author's personal experience. It will perhaps stand as the ultimate objective study of a program that proved highly controversial." The author argues that Presidents Johnson and Nixon "had legal authority to order the CIA to keep tabs on the threats" even if domestic.
A well-reasoned take on MHCHAOS is provided by Fischer, IJI&C 26.4 (Winter 2013-2014), in a review of Rafalko's book. Fischer finds that "Rafalko's combined memoir and history" of MHCHAOS "suffers from inadequate editing and fact-checking, with much repetition." Nevertheless, it is "a valuable look at a very contentious period" in CIA history.
Ryan, Henry Butterfield. The Fall of Che Guevara: A Story of Soldiers, Spies, and Diplomats. New York: Oxford University Press, 1998.
According to Maxwell, FA 77.3 (May-Jun. 1998), the author argues that the Americans involved in the Bolivian guerrilla war "exercised considerable restraint, preventing the Americanization of the struggle, and leaving Guevara, who lacked a good rapport with the local population, isolated and exposed." Page, Washington Monthly, Nov. 1997, sees Ryan's book as "a case study of perhaps the most successful counterinsurgency effort ever launched by the U.S. government." The author provides "a thoughful critique of both the operational and intelligence-gathering aspects of the U.S. intervention against the Cuban intervention in Bolivia.... However, he fails to give the Bolivians the attention they merit."
Shackley, Theodore, and Richard A. Finney. Spymaster: My Life in the CIA. Dulles, VA: Potomac, 2005.
Theodore (Ted) G. Shackley, retired CIA Associate Deputy Director for Operations, died on 9 December 2002 at the age of 75. He was a three-time recipient of the Distinguished Intelligence Medal. J.Y. Smith, "Theodore Shackley Dies; Celebrated CIA Agent," Washington Post, 13 Dec. 2002, B8.
Peake, CIRA Newsletter 30.4 (Winter 2005) and Studies 49.4 (2005), notes that Shackley comments "selectively on various aspects of his career.... For those who expected a more expansive tale of clandestine operations, Spymaster may be something of a disappointment. On the other hand, what Ted Shackley was able to give us is extremely valuable -- a first hand account with lessons for all."
For Schecter, I&NS 20.4 (Dec. 2005), "Shackley's first-person account is rich in remarkable detail.... They take CIA memoirs to a new level of specificity and revelation of tradecraft that makes for fascinating, and at times hilarious and bizarre reading." Huck, Periscope (Summer 2006), feels that much was left out of this work, first by Shackley's death (not to denigrate the "tireless and faithful" work of Richard Finney to complete the book) and by the publisher's requirement that the manuscript be reduced in length.
Tovar, B. Hugh. "The Indonesian Crisis of 1965-1966: A Retrospective." International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 7, no. 3 (Fall 1994): 313-338.
Tovar is the former Chief, Covert Action Staff, CIA. His article addresses perceived inaccuracies in Kathy Kadane's Washington Post article of 21 May 1990. Their continued reverberations led Tovar into an interview for the BBC series produced by John Ranelagh. Tovar supplies a brief version of events surrounding the Communist coup and its aftermath. He does not think the killings "took place on a scale comparable to what we reported and what was common belief." This judgment is predicated on the lack of evidence for such killings in succeeding years: "I just don't see the evidence."
U.S. Department of State. Office of the Historian. Gen. ed., Edward C. Keefer. Foreign Relations of the United States, 1964-1968.
Volume XXXIII. Organization and Management of Foreign Policy; United Nations. Eds., David C. Humphrey and James E. Miller. [Available at: http://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1964-68v33]
From 10 June 2004 Press Release from the Office of the Historian: "The volume ... documents organizational problems at the Central Intelligence Agency. Johnson did not want Director of Central Intelligence John McCone to brief him personally, as was McCone's practice with President Kennedy, and the President's Daily Brief was introduced in late 1964 to fill that void. When McCone resigned in April 1965, Admiral William Raborn was appointed Director of Central Intelligence to hold the position until long-time CIA employee and Deputy Director Richard Helms was fully trained to take over. Within a year, Helms succeeded Raborn. Key organizational issues faced by CIA Directors were wresting control of the National Reconnaissance Office from the Air Force, coordination of CIA activities abroad, and better approval mechanisms for covert operations."
In particular, see "The National Security Council and the White House," Documents no. 139 through 182 (31 Dec. 1963-5 Dec. 1968); and "The Director of Central Intelligence, the Intelligence Community, and the President," Documents no. 183 through 207 (4 May 1961-23 Jun. 1964), 208 through 230 (9 Jul. 1964-11 Aug. 1965), 231 through 259 (8 Sep. 1965-16 Dec. 1966), and 260 through 285 (14 Feb. 1967-2 Jan. 1969).
Wiant, John. A. "Reflections on Mail-Order Tradecraft: The Sears Catalog." Studies in Intelligence 37, no. 5 (1994): 59-61.
The author finds an alternative way to pay indigenous agents in Vietnam in 1966-1967.
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