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Company Man: Thirty Years of Controversy and Crisis in the CIA [Kindle Edition]

John Rizzo
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (78 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $17.00
Kindle Price: $11.02
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Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc

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Book Description

The “revealing” (The New Yorker) insider history of the CIA from a lawyer with a “front-row seat on the hidden world of intelligence” (The Washington Post). Former CIA director George J. Tenet called Company Man a “must read.”

Over the course of a thirty-four-year (1976-2009) career, John Rizzo served under eleven CIA directors and seven presidents, ultimately becoming a controversial public figure and a symbol and victim of the toxic winds swirling in post-9/11 Washington. In Company Man, Rizzo charts the CIA’s evolution from shadowy entity to an organization exposed to new laws, rules, and a seemingly never-ending string of public controversies. As the agency’s top lawyer in the years after the 9/11 attacks, Rizzo oversaw actions that remain the subject of intense debate, including the rules governing waterboarding and other “enhanced interrogation techniques.”

Rizzo writes about virtually every significant CIA activity and controversy over a tumultuous, thirty-year period. His experiences illuminate our nation’s spy bureaucracy, offering a unique primer on how to survive, and flourish, in a high-powered job amid decades of shifting political winds. He also provides the most comprehensive account of critical events, like the “torture tape” fiasco surrounding the interrogation of Al Qaeda suspect Abu Zubayadah, and the birth, growth, and death of the enhanced interrogation program. Company Man is the most authoritative insider account of the CIA ever written—a groundbreaking, timely, and remarkably candid history of American intelligence. This is “emphatically a book for anyone who cares about the security of this country” (The Wall Street Journal).

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

In 1975, the author, a lawyer working for the U.S. Customs Service, applied—pretty much on a whim—to join the CIA. This fascinating memoir takes us through Rizzo’s three-decade-long career as a CIA lawyer, a career that has included being the liaison between Congress and the CIA during the Iran-Contra affair and becoming an international celebrity—not that he sought such notoriety—through his involvement with the so-called torture tapes, recordings of the alleged torture of an al-Qaeda operative, which were destroyed amid great controversy by the agency. Rizzo’s intimate knowledge of the company’s post-9/11 activities makes his book must reading for today’s political junkies, but he had been with the agency more than 25 years before the 2001 terror attacks, and his portrait of the CIA from the 1970s through the ’90s is fascinating on its own terms, portraying an intelligence organization that was dealing with internal strife and trying to decide how to adapt to stricter new regulations, even as the world was growing into a darker, more frightening place. As insider looks go, this one is about as close-up as you can get. --David Pitt


"As insider looks go, this one is about as close-up as you can get." ---Booklist

Product Details

  • File Size: 27404 KB
  • Print Length: 337 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1451673930
  • Publisher: Scribner; Reprint edition (January 7, 2014)
  • Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #82,056 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
53 of 55 people found the following review helpful
By Raymond
I heard about Rizzo's book on NPR, and then read the excerpt from it on Politico. His revelations about how the Enhanced Interrogation Techniques (AKA what some call torture) came to be approved by the CIA and Justice Department is getting lots of attention. No matter where you fall politically, Rizzo's account is pretty gripping. What would you do, as a CIA lawyer, in a post-9/11 environment, if your operatives came to you and said, "We need these methods to get vital information." But beyond the War on Terror chapters, this is really a history of the CIA over the past 30 years. Rizzo sheds light on a range of fascinating CIA moments (and outrageous miscues), from Iran Contra, to Aldrich Ames, to Valerie Plame and dozens of others. He may not have been a spy operating out of some far flung outpost, but Rizzo makes the day-to-day functioning of the agency seem interesting in its own right--how the CIA deals with presidents (of all political stripes), Congress, the Justice Department, etc. He's a good writer. There's a lot of voice and personality--not dry at all. Armchair CIA buffs like me, those interested in the law -- you will find a lot to like here, even if you don't like Rizzo's politics.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding memoir of premier intelligence lawyer January 23, 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
John Rizzo's book, "Company Man", is much like the author himself: smart, insightful, wry, self-deprecating, funny, and charming. I spent a quarter-century working for, with, and around John Rizzo at CIA, and I recommend the book to anyone who would like an insider's view of some of the most remarkable and now public national security episodes at the highest levels of the U.S. government during the last thirty years.

Rizzo arrived at CIA in 1976 as a dark-haired naif with a vague notion that intelligence law might be more interesting than the drudgery at the U.S. Customs Service in the Treasury Department that he had been doing fresh out of law school.

He was right about that. He left thirty-plus years later with his hair white and his personal file full of some of the most fascinating things a lawyer could ever do.

He almost immediately began a long and mutual love affair with the directorate at CIA whose mission includes acquiring secrets, catching spies, and stopping terrorists. It has been known by various names, most of the time being called the Directorate of Operations (the "DO") and now clumsily relabeled the National Clandestine Service. He rose up through the ranks of the career attorneys at CIA by dint of three characteristics lacking in most lawyers: a sense of humor, good nature, and an uncanny sense of how to successfully maneuver among a cacophony of competing equity holders both inside and outside of the Agency. He was a true adept.

His career was bracketed from beginning to end by deep involvement in the law, lore, and politics of covert action, much beloved by the seven presidents he served.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting & easy read! January 10, 2014
By Amy G.
Rizzo makes this an easy read with his writing style and a little bit of humor. But the bottom line is, if you have an interest in CIA, secrets behind the government, politics, conspiracies or government things that make the headlines you will like this book. Its seems to me the people that have given this book a bad review just simply don't like his politics and disagree with Rizzo not putting a stop to water boarding. So therefor give the book of one of the guys involved a bad review. Now I call that being political! I have read books and autobiographies of people I don't like or agree with, but I am strong enough and fair enough to still be honest and say they made a good book. It doesn't mean you have to agree with the person or things they did. Geeesh!
Anyway, back to what makes this a good book. As information finally gets told or leaked over years passing from various events it can be concluded there are THOUSANDS of things we, the public, don't know about. And I am fine with that. History shows some events that if there weren't a few people willing to stick their neck out, that America would not be the same great place. This era of "everybody needs to know everything all the time" is a detriment to America. Just my opinion, I will admit and say. Classified papers and issues, events just might be keeping you, your children, your Grandma, or....... quite possibly...... your great grandchildren you haven't even met yet SAFE! This is an interesting read to hear from a lawyer who had to make some tough decisions that affected America. He wasn't a spy or out traveling the world, but a boring lawyer that got to see and be in on some VERY interesting things, even making decisions on some of them. Which makes him a little more normal and down to earth of a guy to consider, than a fancy spy type. Good book.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enlightening and Refreshing Page-Turner January 8, 2014
As an aspiring government lawyer, John Rizzo's book is an eye-opening memoir. Though I'm sure much of the attention will be paid to Rizzo's controversial decisions after 9/11, particularly the decisions regarding the so-called enhanced interrogation techniques, some of the most interesting parts of the book are Rizzo's lengthy path and rise through the ranks at the CIA. Understandably, there is much that Rizzo could not disclose. But despite this, Rizzo shows a surprising frankness about some of his closest colleagues that is both enlightening and refreshing. Rizzo's memoir is a true page turner and a resource for understanding the CIA, especially during it's toughest times.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Account, But Too Worried About Offending
I am familiar with Rizzo and his history. His longevity and involvement in so many key issues makes him a Forrest Gump-like character--in the right place at the right time for a... Read more
Published 17 hours ago by Owenistic
5.0 out of 5 stars Not Your Average John
Well written. Excellent read. It's hard to gauge how much CYA played into his legal career since he worked for some of our nations most misguided and respected leaders. Read more
Published 20 hours ago by Tpr. Joe
5.0 out of 5 stars Company Man
John Rizzo's story of his years at the CIA is well written and interesting. It is important in that it tells us much about the culture of the agency as it changed from its founding... Read more
Published 7 days ago by R. M. Dixon
5.0 out of 5 stars book on the very edge of vast CIA insight
Very great depth in CIA workings
Published 9 days ago by Anthony Newcomb
3.0 out of 5 stars this was a good read. Yes
I was lucky enough to be near the end of this book when the Senate issued its report on the Enhanced Interrogation Techniques. Read more
Published 10 days ago by Caveshadow
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Ho hum, little significant information.
Published 15 days ago by Mady
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Engrossing story written like a pro.
Published 17 days ago by dolly
5.0 out of 5 stars Enlightening
An autobiography written in an easy to read style. The recounting of events seems to have a natural almost intuitive (to the reader) flow. Read more
Published 1 month ago by T. E. Salamone
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Outstanding story of how politics affects CIA operations from a respected participant.
Published 2 months ago by Ronald
3.0 out of 5 stars The author's utter disdain for Clinton and Obama coupled with ...
The author's utter disdain for Clinton and Obama coupled with his almost homoerotic preoccupation with Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld leaves no doubt as to the political motivations of the... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Kare Williams
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