In the era of the Cold War, America had a ruthless and efficient intelligence gathering network entrusted with guarding the nation from outside threats. That was then . . . Tom Stafford is an independent contractor -- a former CIA case officer doing outsourced intelligence work for an agency stripped of its assets and power and rendered impotent. An anonymous "shadow warrior," he must now slip below the radar to uncover, target, and neutralize a bombmaker tied to the world's most feared terrorist organization before the assassin launches multiple deadly attacks against the U.S. and the West. At the same time, Stafford must mount a clandestine war against the Company itself -- because, for some mysterious, seemingly inexplicable reason, the people at the very top of the Central Intelligence Agency want him to fail . . .
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May 31, 2006
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Excerpt from Direct Action by John Weisman
On 21 September 1995, at 11:47 A.M., five senior officers from the Central Intelligence Agency's Directorate of Operations--the CIA's clandestine service--quietly gathered in room 4D-627A, one of the sensitive compartmentalized information facilities colloquially known as bubble rooms, on the fourth floor of the headquarters building at Langley, Virginia. The Agency was still reeling from the February 1994 arrest of Aldrich Hazen Ames. Ames, an alcoholic, money-hungry wreck of a career case officer, had betrayed dozens of America's most valuable Russian agents to the KGB, resulting in their arrests and executions. He had also handed over many of CIA's technical tradecraft secrets and the identities of American undercover operatives.
Two of the clandestine officers at the meeting had been tasked with writing a Top Secret/Codeword damage assessment of the Ames debacle, a preliminary draft of which, at their peril, they were now sharing with three of their most trusted colleagues.
The assessment was grim. One had, it said, to assume that CIA had been completely penetrated because of Ames's treason. The Agency, therefore, was now transparent. Not only to the opposition, which still included Moscow, but to all of Moscow's current clients, including Libya, Syria, Sudan, Iraq, and--equally if not more critical--to the transnational terrorist organizations supported by those states. Transparency meant that the entire structure of the Directorate of Operations had to be considered as compromised; that every operation, every agent, every case officer was known to the opposition and its allies.