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Failure of Intelligence: The Decline and Fall of the CIA Hardcover – January 28, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
This book is required reading for those who wish to understand how the C.I.A. failed to provide strategic warning of the 9-11 attacks and allowed itself to be used by the Bush administration to justify the invasion of Iraq, and what must be done to avoid such disasters in the future. (Lawrence Korb, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress)
Melvin Goodman provides a disturbing portrait of the collapse of the Central Intelligence Agency. His insider's look at an organization in decline is a must read by anyone, whether government official or ordinary citizen, who has taken false comfort in the notion of an American intelligence service securing the realm through timely analysis and effective covert action. The reality, an overly politicized agency where ego runs amok, is enough to send shivers down the spine of those who remain cognizant of the fact that there remain serious threats to legitimate American national security interests that must be accurately identified in advance if sound policy remedies are to be had. The CIA portrayed by Mr. Goodman has not only failed to perform this mission in the past, but remains incapable of accomplishing this critical task today. If ever there was a case for fundamental reformation of America's intelligence services, Goodman's Failure of Intelligence: The Decline and Fall of the CIA is it. (Scott Ritter)
In this study, Mel Goodman tells us that of the misunderstandings, mistakes, and misapplications of American intelligence and force that we've seen since 9/11 are nothing new ― our CIA has been at it since the early days of the Cold War. But Goodman also tells us, with fresh information and insight, about the CIA's successes in those years and, most importantly, he names names again and again. His purpose is not payback, or 'Gotcha,' but to right a dangerous wrong. (Seymour M. Hersh)
Mel Goodman's career in intelligence has positioned him perfectly to document the Failure of Intelligence, as he has in this critical, timely book. Mel Goodman thoroughly details the Bush administration's lies and manipulations in the lead up to the invasion and occupation of Iraq, as only a CIA insider could. As the lame duck Bush Administration beats the drum for war with Iran, Mel Goodman's Failure of Intelligence is essential reading. (Amy Goodman, Executive Producer and Host, Democracy Now!)
This is an important and eye-opening account for policy makers and concerned citizens alike. (Publishers Weekly, Starred Review 2008-03-01)
Impressive detail. (Consortium News 2008-04-01)
In Failure of Intelligence: The Decline of the CIA, one of the agency's prickliest and most highly regarded analysts, Melvin A. Goodman, has given us an insider autopsy....What is most valuable here is the amassing of insider details. (Bookforum 2008-09-01)
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Top Customer Reviews
Like so many other critiques of CIA, however, Mel Goodman's book fails to identify a major contributor to CIA's erratic performance -- our Casanova-like approach to intelligence collection.. We turn it on when a crisis arises, but shut it down as soon as the crisis is over. With so many unmet societal requirements, why waste money on something no longer needed, particularly when it employs tactics that so blatantly offend core values of a Democratic society?
The antipathy is understandable, but its effects are devastating. Every time we close down coverage of a target, the best & brightest hands melt away.Read more ›
Goodman supports his argument with a remarkably detailed chronicle of CIA intelligence production over the last 35 years. This chronology emphasizes those instances where political pressure and the need to support a particular point of view took precedence over the need to produce accurate intelligence. Also, although he doesn't say so directly, he demonstrates the truth that intelligence is only as good as the system it serves. Unlike so many books on intelligence, this book actually identifies both the good guys and the bad .guys of CIA over the years. In particular he has a fascinating analysis of CIA Directors from Bill Casey (1980-1986) onward that is quite devastating.Read more ›
But, apparently, due to its hurried publication, it is annoyingly repetitive, filled with typos, and, overall, very poorly edited. Chapter and section headings have no particular or useful meaning.
That said, Goodman presents the last 40 years of CIA bumbling in the context of the political ideologues, bureaucratic incompetence, and abuse of executive power under Nixon, Carter, Reagan, Clinton, and the Bushes. He gleefully and repeatedly skewers current Sec. of Defence Robert Gates and his rise as William Casey's Cold War Flunkie, Team-Player, and Yes-Man.
Perhaps because Goodman resigned in the early 1990s, or perhaps because of legalistic or ideological limitations on his part, this book places little emphasis on the increased reliance of U.S. intelligence services upon foreign governments, the outsourcing of intel to Israel, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, to name a few, and even to private firms, each with its own agenda. Providing the basic outlines of this particular trend would be the icing on the cake, but in the intelligence world which Goodman-As-Author inhabits, he is content with something less ambitious. (For more on CIA failures and fiddling, without the office infighting and I-told-you-so's, see Joseph Trento's ...Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A historical review of the many stumbles in the intelligence gathering game and how they impacted decisions in war and peace for the USA. Read morePublished on April 18, 2013 by stan grayson
Most books about the CIA are written either by liberals/leftists, who blame the CIA for every alleged failure, or by conservatives/rightists, who give the Agency credit for every... Read morePublished on August 23, 2009 by S. Gonzalez
You'll be impressed with the candid and complicated details of the CIA's loss of independence and evolving politization.Published on December 2, 2008 by J. Holtaway
Goodman's overall premise -- the politicization of intelligence has crippled the CIA -- is dead-on. Much of this book centers on the two most glaring examples of that thesis, the... Read morePublished on July 20, 2008 by LVT06
After forty years as a CIA insider, Melvin Goodman has produced a sweeping account of the agency's history and political entanglements that combines the solidity of good research... Read morePublished on April 3, 2008 by Katharine W. Watt
Melvin Goodman spent many years in the CIA and taught at the War College. His insight and critique of foreign policies, on both sides of the aisle, are astute and well presented. Read morePublished on March 23, 2008 by Doc Josh
Those who follow U.S. intelligence and its effects on U.S. foreign policy will find Mel Goodman's Failure of Intelligence an important and prophetic read. Read morePublished on March 3, 2008 by ericinMontclair