CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY

2010s

Generally

A - L

Carle, Glenn L. The Interrogator: An Education. New York: Nation Books, 2011.

Goulden, Washington Times, 13 Jul. 2001, found that the joint efforts of the author and the CIA's Publications Review Board made this a very frustrating book to read. Carle may have engaged in the activities described here -- the interrogation of a presumed high value al-Qaeda operative -- but, in the end, the reviewer had "lost any confidence in his credibility." This one earns a "Read at your own risk" caveat from Goulden. On the other hand, Leebaert, I&NS 27.4 (Aug. 2012), believes that the author "offers authority as well as unprecedented specificity and corroborative detail" to the story of the CIA's rendition program.

For Peake, Studies 56.1 (Mat. 2012), readers can learn not just about the CAPTUS/detainee case but also "how operations officers deal with strains on family life and the consequences of career-changing decisions. In his afterword, Carle reiterates his views on enhanced interrogation and argues that the Agency should adhere to the policies expressed in the interrogations manuals because they are effective and because following them is the right thing to do." Wippl, IJI&C 25.2 (Summer 2012), sees this as "an important book by an intelligent, thoughtful citizen."

Courtney, Peter C. "To Render or Intern: Counterterrorism Methods of the FBI SIS and CIA." International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 26, no. 3 (Fall 2013): 482-506.

The author argues that "legal constraints exist in the pursuit of third country rendition, excessive interrogation, and relying on the Alien Enemy Act as a legal grounding; these should be avoided in seeking a legal counterterrorism operation."

Faddis, Charles S. Beyond Repair: The Decline and Fall of the CIA. Guilford, CT: Lyons, 2010.

Peake, Studies 54.1 (Mar. 2010) and Intelligencer 17.2 (Winter-Spring 2010), notes that the author argues that the CIA "is no longer capable of performing the task for which it was designed and must, rapidly, be replaced." Faddis sees OSS as the model for "the right way to run operations." Many of the problems identified here "will be familiar to current and former officers.... Although he begins his book by asserting that CIA's problems are structural, his descriptions and guidance suggest they are fundamentally people related. If he has got that right, current CIA management could implement solutions. This is an option Beyond Repair does not explore."

Friedman, Andrew. Covert Capital: Landscapes of Denial and the Making of US Empire in the Suburbs of Northern Virginia. Oakland, CA: University of California Press, 2013.

Ehrman, Studies 58.2 (Jun. 2014), warns that this "work is overtly political, descending from revisionist histories of US expansionism and imperialism." In addition, it is the product of "horrendous writing." The author "employs tedious postmodern academic jargon to find and explain profound significance in the most mundane aspects of life. This leads him to build complex paragraphs out of long, convoluted sentences." This "ineven book" is "at once captivating, informative, and thought provoking, but also infuriating, simplistic, and disappointing."

Harlow, Bill, ed. Rebuttal: The CIA Responds to the Senate Intelligence Committee's Study of Its Detention and Interrogation Program. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2015.

From publisher: The book reprints "the official responses from the SSCI minority and CIA," and "includes eight essays from senior former CIA officials who all are deeply knowledgeable about the program": George Tenet, Porter Goss, Gen. Michael V. Hayden, USAF (Ret.), John McLaughlin, Michael Morell, J. Philip Mudd, John Rizzo, and Jose A. Rodriguez, Jr.

According to Miller, Washington Post, 8 Sep. 2015, this book "depicts the Senate investigation as a partisan attack that maligned agency employees and dismissed the value of intelligence gained from captured al-Qaeda suspects." Stein, Newsweek, 5 Sep. 2015, quotes Senator Dianne Feinstein, who chaired the SSCI's investigation as saying the book "contains nothing new -- it recycles the same comments from former CIA officials when the executive summary of the SSCI Study ... came out last December."

Hendricks, Steve. A Kidnapping in Milan: The CIA on Trial. New York: Norton, 2010.

Goulden, Washington Times, 30 Mar. 2011, and Intelligencer 18.3 (Summer-Fall 2011), finds it "ironic that the[] careless, even reckless, use of cellphones [by the CIA team in Milan] led to one of the worst operational fiascoes" in years. The author's ability to use public records to identify many of those involved is "a damning indictment of CIA tradecraft." To Fiffer, Chicago Tribune, 22 Sep. 2010, this is a "skillfully crafted, highly disturbing account of the officially sanctioned actions of U.S. operatives." Chapman, IJI&C 24.3 (Fall 2011), says that Hendricks's "circuitous, but thorough, detailing of the facts presents a dramatic examination of a badly conceived operation."

Johnson, Chalmers. Dismantling the Empire: America's Last Best Hope. New York: Holt, 2010.

Peake, Studies 55.1 (Mar. 2011), notes that the author "criticizes the United States for being 'a foreign imperialist'" and attacks the CIA for "its putative ineptitude" in Iraq and Afghanistan. Johnson recommends "that the CIA be abolished and replaced" by State's INR. This work "lacks sources, offers no alternative solutions, and does not assess the practical impact of the recommendations."

Kahlili, Reza [Pseud.] A Time to Betray: The Astonishing Double Life of a CIA Agent Inside the Revolutionary Guards of Iran. New York: Threshold Editions, 2010.

According to Peake, Studies 54.3 (Sep. 2010) and Intelligencer 18.1 (Fall-Winter 2010), the author grew up in Iran, attended USC in the 1970s, returned to Iran and joined the Revolutionary Guards after the Shah's fall, became disillusioned by the nature of the new regime, and fled Iran for the United States. Recruited by the CIA, he returned to Iran and became an agent in place until he again fled in the 1990s.

Kross, Peter. Tales from Langley: The CIA from Truman to Obama. Kempton, IL: Adventures Unlimited Press, 2014.

Peake, Studies 58.4 (Dec. 2014), finds that the stories here "are a murky mix of fact and error. The latter dominate." This book "is a scholarly disaster. It might have been a worthwhile summary of espionage cases had basic fact-checking been done."

Latell, Brian. Castro's Secrets: The CIA and Cuba's Intelligence Machine. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012.

In his review, Goulden, Washington Times, 27 Apr. 2012, focuses on the author's discussion of the "smear campaign" which was run against David Atlee Phillips and which "likely was in retaliation for a disinformation campaign Phillips had run while in charge of anti-Cuban covert operations in the Mexico City station beginning in mid-1963." Goulden also finds that "Latell makes a circumstantial ... argument that Castro was aware of Oswald's intention to kill JFK and that his henchmen encouraged Oswald."

Feinberg, FA 91.3 (May-Jun. 2012), finds that "[T]he veracity of this book's claims hinges heavily on the credibility of defectors from Cuba's intelligence agency. Their testimonies form the rather thin thread from which Latell, a former CIA analyst,... hangs his case that Fidel Castro may well have had prior knowledge of Lee Harvey Oswald's intention to kill U.S. President John F. Kennedy." A rather snarky reviewer for Kirkus Reviews, 15 Feb. 2012, calls this work "[a]n insider's account that by definition is difficult for outsiders to evaluate because the author and many of his key sources are trained dissemblers."

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