From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. A senior fellow at the Center for International Policy with 24 years of experience as an analyst at the CIA, author Goodman (Bush League Diplomacy) declares that without efforts to improve the country's intelligence community, particularly the CIA, "we can expect more terrorist attacks without warning." Goodman distinguishes early on the CIA's "proper" function-clandestine intelligence collection-from covert actions like the overthrow of popularly elected leaders that, though tactical successes, have led to false hubris and ruinous foreign policy decisions; in particular, he convincingly attributes the present debacle in Iran to 1953 policies in serious need of revision. Much of the book deals with "the perils of politicization" in the CIA, from the Vietnam war to the present, including the "extreme... kind of pressure placed on the intelligence community" by administrations like Nixon's and Reagan's, that latter of whom exaggerated the threat of a crumbling Soviet Union in order to keep military expenditures high. Concluding with the community's failure to predict 9/11 and the flawed intelligence on pre-invasion Iraq, he castigates the CIA's "seeming inability" to tell the truth to those in power, "which finds the Agency without a moral compass." This is an important and eye-opening account for policy makers and concerned citizens alike.
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In Failure of Intelligence: The Decline and Fall of the CIA, former intelligence official Melvin Goodman chronicles how politicization and lack of vision can undercut and ultimately destroy from within an institution as vital to our nation's security as the CIA. Importantly, however, Goodman's thoroughly researched and lucidly written book does far more than recount past problems at the Agency. The most important aspect of Failure of Intelligence is that it looks beyond the past and the present to the future; and in so doing, offers sound and practical advice on how problems such as we've witnessed in the past can be remedied and avoided in the years ahead. (Bob Barr, former Member of Congress (1995-2003) and CIA official (1971-1978))
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)