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CIA: The Cult of Intelligence, The Mass Market Paperback – February 1, 1989

7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

the story about what goes on at the secret govt. agency. book is in very good condition.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback
  • Publisher: Dell (February 1, 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0440203368
  • ISBN-13: 978-0440203360
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 4.2 x 6.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #670,035 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By James R. Maclean on March 27, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Marchetti's expose of the CIA was published on the eve of the Church Commission, at a moment when domestic outrage at the culture of duplicity and domestic interference had reached its peak. Since that time, successful public relations have greatly enhanced the image of intelligence services.

Marchetti's thesis is that, contrary to widespread public belief, the USA was not locked in an existential struggle with Soviet or Chinese subversion, and never really was. Soviet intelligence utterly surpassed the CIA in effectiveness, initiative, and recruitment of allied agents abroad. In fact, the CIA was effective only against 3rd world intelligence organizations, and there, spectacularly so. This extreme Soviet edge in espionage was more than offset by the superior resources of the conventional Western militaries and the impossibility of waging a direct confrontation owing to the nuclear stalemate. Worse, this advantage was not seriously mitigated by the abundance of high-tech gadgets, such as satellites; such tools merely facilitated the collection of large amounts of raw data, with virtually no practical usefulness.

Far from rendering the US intelligence community harmless, however, it made the agency focus on a campaign against 3rd world allies, and ultimately, against the US population. The CIA tried its hand at waging secret wars in Latin America, Southeast Asia, and Africa; it developed a vast group of businesses to serve as cover for illicit shipping and arms supplies; and it became utterly habituated to corrupting legislators in the Free World.
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36 of 40 people found the following review helpful By peterstoll on January 9, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
If you believe that the authors were actually permitted to reveal the secrets contained in this book, it is monumental.
But knowing "The Company", it is more likely that this work is some sort of 'controlled' leak, softening the blow for the revelations of the inevitable congressional investigations that followed in the aftermath of the Watergate fiasco, the death of J. Edgar Hoover, and the continuing insinuations implicating the CIA of complicity in everything from the murder of JFK, to secret, malevolent control over the war in SE Asia.
Irrespective of ones' take on the voracity of the means of disclosure (whether legitimate whistle-blowing, or CIA damage control) this heavily-censored/redacted book ostensibly blew the lid off at CIA, with at least superficial examination of the structure, operations, methods, and mind-set of the U.S. intelligence apparatus. In the main, time has tended to validate this contents of this expose'.
Out of print and hard to find, this book nonetheless remains must-reading for anyone interested in intelligence, the Cold War, Vietnam, and the defense of the Free World up to the early 1970s. Buy it.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 31, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Written by a former assistant to the head of the CIA, this book is full of facts and details about the Central Intelligence Agency's role in world politics and it's addiction to disinformation. The edition I read had several chapters added after a long court battle to have the information 'declassified.'
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By TLR on August 6, 2013
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Marchetti was a former executive assistant to CIA Director Richard Helms. He became disillusioned with the agency and resigned in 1969. In 1950 the CIA had less than 5000 employees; by 1955 it had about 15,000. The CIA all too often was the only group that knews what was happening in a particular foreign situation, and the White House then relied on that information, with the CIA recommending covert operations based on the word of its own in-place "assets." The operations side of the Agency rarely consults with the intelligence analysts. The analysts were skeptical about the attempted coup in Indonesia 1958 and the Bay of Pigs, and warned against involvement in Vietnam, Laos and Latin American politics, but the operatives went ahead anyway.

By 1974, Marchetti wrote that the CIA had officially 16,500 employees and an authorized budget of $750 million, though neither figure reflects "the tens of thousands who serve under contract (mercenaries, agents, consultants, etc.) or who work for the agency's proprietary companies." Many contract agents are kept on the payroll long after they have ceased to be useful to the agency. In the late '60s, Richard Helms could not obtain a complete listing of all the people under contract with the CIA, partly because of the compartmentalization of the agency and the deliberate lack of record-keeping. Attempts to keep track of the number of people working for CIA-front companies have been a complete failure. Not surprisingly, the agency has always tried to downplay its size. Its proprietary companies are also money-making firms whose profits flow back into the agency. Also, the CIA gets a great deal of funding from the Pentagon's budget, and the DCI has his own Contingency Fund of $50-$100 million for emergency needs.
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