CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY

2000s

General

A - J

Berntsen, Gary, and Ralph Pezzullo. Jawbreaker: The Attack on Bin Laden and Al Qaeda: A Personal Account by the CIA's Key Field Commander. New York: Crown, 2005.

Click for reviews.

Best, Richard A., Jr., and Andrew Feickert. Special Operations Forces (SOF) and CIA Paramilitary Operations: Issues for Congress. Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress, 3 Aug. 2009. Available at: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/natsec/RS22017.pdf; and at: https://opencrs.com/document/RS22017/2009-08-03/.

A judicious look at the issues surrounding the 9/11 Commission's Recommendation 32, which called for responsibility for all covert and clandestine paramilitary activities to be shifted to the Defense Department.

Bowden, Mark. "Pentagon Spy Effort Serves a Purpose." Philadelphia Inquirer, 18 Mar. 2007. [http://www.philly.com/inquirer/]

"Impatient with the inability of the [CIA] to give him what he needed," former defense secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld "decided to do it himself. He began placing small units of special operators all over the world, dubbed 'military liaison elements' (MLEs), some in the field, some in U.S. embassies." This has meant some overlap and tension with the CIA. Nonetheless, "[m]ilitary spies have different functions from their CIA counterparts. In the war on terrorism, they are needed."

Clarke, Richard A. "Targeting Terrorists." Wall Street Journal, 18 Jul. 2009. [http://online.wsj.com]

"Since well over 90% of the CIA's personnel are not engaged in covert action, but are doing the important work of intelligence collection and analysis, this [current] cycle of contentiousness suggests that perhaps covert action should be done by someone else. We need a professional intelligence gathering and analysis organization and it would be better if that agency were not tied to, prejudiced by, and often tainted with a connection to covert action.... [W]e should also take this opportunity to decide that covert operations should be done rarely, and then only by a special component of the military and perhaps by a small, separate, civilian agency under the joint supervision of a group of experienced administration and bi-partisan Congressional overseers."

Collins, Catherine, and Douglas Frantz. Fallout: The True Story of the CIA's Secret War on Nuclear Trafficking. New York: Free Press, 2011.

Jenkins, Los Angeles Times, 9 Jan. 2011, says this "provocative" book "tells a fascinating story whose characters come straight out of a spy novel." Pakistani scientist A.Q. Khan created a nuclear black market. The authors are "critical of America's failure to dismantle Khan's network sooner."

Conway, Patrick. "Red Team: How the Neoconservatives Helped Cause the Iraq Intelligence Failure." Intelligence and National Security 27, no. 4 (Aug. 2012): 488-512.

From abstract: "A WINPAC 'Red Team' analyst ... erroneously concluded the [aluminum] tubes were for a nuclear program.... After the attacks of September 11 and President Bush's embrace of regime-change, the Red Team tubes assessment began to become the official position of the Intelligence Community. In September 2002, the President cited the assessment publicly, forcing the Intelligence Community to adopt it as the majority position in the Iraq NIE. 'Exhibit A' in the case for war was thus the product of a Red Team and, as such, was essentially propaganda masquerading as intelligence."

Dhar, Maloy. Fulcrum of Evil: The ISI-CIA-Al Qaeda Nexus. New Delhi: Manas, 2006.

Peake, Studies 50.3 (Sep. 2006), says that the author's "somewhat warped analysis [concerning the CIA] suggests care should be taken in accepting his statements about other players. But the book has real value, despite its lack of documentation.... As a view from inside India and Islam, this is ... important if not easy reading."

Drumheller, Tyler, with Elaine Monaghan. On the Brink: An Insider's Account of How the White House Compromised American Intelligence. New York: Carroll & Graf, 2006.

According to Bamford, Washington Post, 12 Dec. 2006, the author "describes his frustrating -- and ultimately unsuccessful -- efforts to warn senior CIA and White House officials that they were on the road to disaster" in Iraq. "[T]his is the first time the CIA official at the center of the ["Curveball"] controversy has told his story." Despite the CIA's censors, the book "shows how easy it was for a small cadre of senior intelligence officials, intent on war, to send the country into a bloody quagmire."

Peake, Studies 51.1 (Mar. 2007), comments that this work "is a firsthand account by a respected former CIA officer and thus should be taken seriously. The story he tells is sourced in the text." For West, IJI&C 20.3 (Fall 2007), the author's "account is a thoughtful, considered stilleto blade delivered into the heart" of the CIA's Directorate of Operations. Drumheller's "narrative is important, both in terms of intelligence history ... and in terms of the role played by professionals in seeking to offer politicians unbiased and accurate advice."

In his autobiography, George Tenet [At the Center of the Storm: My Years at the CIA (2007), pp. 376-383] takes pointed exception to Drumheller's assertions regarding his concerns about Curveball. Tenet stops short of accusing Drumheller of lying, but certainly makes it clear that multiple opportunities to raise concerns about Curveball, to the extent they existed at the time, were not acted upon.

Ganser, Daniele. "The CIA in Western Europe and the Abuse of Human Rights." Intelligence and National Security 21, no. 5 (Oct. 2006): 760-781.

Links the Italian elections of 1948 to "black" prisons in 2005 to postwar stay-behind networks. If the author truly believes that the name of the U.S. President is George Bush Junior, we need to start over with our research.

Grey, Stephen. Ghost Plane: The True Story of the CIA Torture Program. New York: St. Martin's, 2006.

Thomas, Washington Post, 14 Nov. 2006, says that the author "interviewed spooks and diplomats and soldiers, as well as the victims of torture, all over the world. His writing style tends to fall into the 'It-was-a-dark-and-stormy-night' genre, and like most investigative reporters, he is a little too eager to dump out the entire contents of his notebook. But he is a prodigious digger and more than a single-minded muckraker." He "offers a reasoned analysis" of the pros and cons of "'coercive interrogation techniques' ... before ultimately concluding that the utility of the intelligence gained by torture is vastly outweighed by the harm done in the global battle for hearts and minds."

Hitz, Frederick P. "Unleasing the Rogue Elephant: September 11 and Letting the CIA Be the CIA." Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy 25, no. 2 (Spring 2002): 765-780.

The author examines potential modifications to four existing constraints on the CIA and the Intelligence Community in pursuing the terrorist target: The use of "dirty assets"; domestic law enforcement powers; assassination; and use of journalists, clerics, and academics. His focus is on "balance": The "need to gather better intelligence about threats posed ... by transnational terrorist groups must be weighed against the constraints imposed by current United States law and practice, the U.S. Constitution, and our status as a constitutional democracy."

Johnson, Loch K. Bombs, Bugs, Drugs, and Thugs: Intelligence and America's Quest for Security. New York and London: New York University Press, 2000. 2002. [pb]

For Chapman, IJI&C 15.1, this work "is often puzzling"; but, "all things considered, there is much of value" here. "[A]nyone concerned about the current state of the American intelligence services should read it." The author "exposes many significant problems threatening the U.S. security system." Turner, IJI&C 15.2, says that this is "a neat, insightful, and readable volume written by an eminently qualified and knowledgeable expert in the field." Although the title might imply a wider subject area, the CIA is the real centerpiece in the author's study. Johnson's "principal message is that U.S. Intelligence needs to focus less on gadgets and more on Human Intelligence."

Jones, Ishmael [Pseud.] The Human Factor: Inside the CIA's Dysfunctional Intelligence Culture. New York & London: Encounter, 2008.

Jones maintains a Website at http://www.ishmaeljones.com, primarily to promote his book but also arguing for "intelligence reform."

Early reviewers often took the author at face value. Stein, CQ Homeland Security, 2 Aug. 2008, says that the author "presents a withering portrait of the CIA as suffering from a timid, self-serving bureaucracy that has stifled initiative and failed to recruit meaningful spies." Passingly, Stein notes that "CIA spokesman Paul Gimigliano dismissed Jones's book as fiction." For Ledeen, National Review, 12 Sep. 2008, this is an "excellent book" that "paints a devastating and alarming picture of a vast bureaucracy [the author] calls 'a corrupt, Soviet-style organization.'"

Weisman, Washington Times, 7 Sep. 2008, and Intelligencer 17.1 (Winter-Spring 2009), finds that Jones's criticism of the CIA "is noble." For Brazil, I&NS 25.3 (Jun. 2010), much of Jones's "account is plausible, and corroborated elsewhere." The reviewer also notes that "Jones is one of the few commentators with much good to say about CIA Director Porter Goss, whom he describes as well intentioned and effective but out gunned by the bureaucracy he sought to energise."

Breathing some real life into the reviewing process, Chapman, IJI&C 22.3 (Fall 2009), notes that the more he read, the more he became "convinced Jones was never inside Langley's halls. Everything [he] writes doesn't seem right," from terminology to operational details. Long before its end, the reviewer "concluded that [the book] is a work of fiction."

Adam Goldman, "CIA Sues Former Employee for Publishing Book," Associated Press, 19 Oct. 2010, reports that in July 2010 the CIA filed a lawsuit in federal court in Alexandria, Viginia, accusing the pseudonymous Ishmael Jones "of breaking his secrecy agreement with the U.S. The former CIA staffer worked under deep cover before publishing the book in July 2008." The lawsuit "seeks an injunction against further violations of Jones' secrecy obligations and recovery of proceeds from unauthorized publication."

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