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The Human Factor : Inside the CIA's Dysfunctional Intelligence Culture
After spending decades as an agent to the CIA, Ishmael Jones unravels the blunders and grave mistakes the US has made over the years. Jones conveys a true feel for the facts of real clandestine work. He tells his story straight, with dry wit, and takes personal blame where blame is due. Recently leaving the CIA to write this memoir, and with additional edits to conceal identities, the CIA has approved its publication.
What's wrong with the CIA? A number of authors have tackled this question lately, and the pseudonymous Jones brings what could be a unique vantage point: a career operative, Jones claims he was "America's number one producer of intelligence reports on terrorism." Unfortunately, the book is more memoir than expose, privileging personal complaints (Jones is frequently underutilized and underappreciated) over actual accounts of the intelligence community's accomplishments and setbacks. Even as he hops the globe, Jones revels in woefully familiar aggravations: the Agency fails to reimburse his expenses in a timely fashion, wastes his time in team-building exercises, etc. He convincingly labels headquarters a haven for burnt-out, risk-averse pension-seekers, but he spends just as much time getting in digs at difficult landlords, surly cab drivers and airplane travel. Though Jones levels many serious charges against those running the CIA, he doesn't follow through and offers just a few pages of suggestions; his self-concern and attention to mundane details make this more suitable for those considering a career at the Agency than those wishing to understand it.
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August 02, 2010
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