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The Human Factor: Inside the CIA's Dysfunctional Intelligence Culture [Kindle Edition]

Ishmael Jones
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)

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Book Description

George W. Bush’s presidency was poisoned by a lack of human source intelligence on 9/11, Iraq and weapons of mass destruction. Carter was humiliated by the hostage crisis in Iran. The Bay of Pigs was President Kennedy’s greatest blunder. Vietnam ended the Johnson presidency and Korea ended Truman’s. In each case, American blood and treasure were spent; and in each case, a lack of reliable intelligence played a great role.
CIA officers are, needless to say, skilled and accomplished professionals. Unfortunately, the organization they inhabit is stifling, misguided, and careless. In the darkness of secrecy, with unlimited tax dollars and little or no accountability, the CIA bureaucracy has mutated into a leviathan that serves its own aims.

From 1989 to 2002, Ishmael Jones carried out continuous field assignments for the CIA, pursuing WMD targets in the Middle East and Europe and terrorist targets in the Iraq War. Appalled by the stifling layers of bureaucracy and unable to reform the agency from within, Jones resigned with an unblemished record and this astonishing story to tell.

The Human Factor is the story of a deep-cover agent facing both the day-to-day obstacles of survival and ludicrous challenges from his own agency’s impenetrable bureaucracy. If the CIA is to be fixed—and for our own security it must be—The Human Factor may constitute the first step in that direction.


Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

What's wrong with the CIA? A number of authors have tackled this question lately, and the pseudonymous Jones brings what could be a unique vantage point: a career operative, Jones claims he was "America's number one producer of intelligence reports on terrorism." Unfortunately, the book is more memoir than expose, privileging personal complaints (Jones is frequently underutilized and underappreciated) over actual accounts of the intelligence community's accomplishments and setbacks. Even as he hops the globe, Jones revels in woefully familiar aggravations: the Agency fails to reimburse his expenses in a timely fashion, wastes his time in team-building exercises, etc. He convincingly labels headquarters a haven for burnt-out, risk-averse pension-seekers, but he spends just as much time getting in digs at difficult landlords, surly cab drivers and airplane travel. Though Jones levels many serious charges against those running the CIA, he doesn't follow through and offers just a few pages of suggestions; his self-concern and attention to mundane details make this more suitable for those considering a career at the Agency than those wishing to understand it.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

Company Chaos: The Central Intelligence Agency is a bloated, unresponsive bureaucracy that exists to serve itself and cannot fulfill its important intelligence-gathering role, which was the reason for its creation by President Harry Truman. This scathing indictment is made, not by the enraged "liberal media," but by a patriotic and devoted member of the CIA since the 1980s.

Ishmael Jones, the false name for a deep cover agent, offers a chilling insider's account that shows repeatedly that the agency is driven by incompetence and greed. Its false intelligence not only led President Bush to declare war in Iraq, but the Agency's blunders were responsible for the Iranian hostage crisis that bedeviled the Carter administration, and the Cuban Missile Crises, which nearly precipitated a world-ending nuclear war between the Soviet Union and the United States during the Kennedy administration.

Jones was not thrown out of the CIA but was a highly regarded agent who resigned to write this book because he could no longer serve in this organization that had lost its sense of purpose and the capability to protect the United States from terrorist attacks. This controversial, eye-opening account will be popular in public libraries and debated by its readers. --Karl Helicher, ForeWord Magazine

Company Chaos: The Central Intelligence Agency is a bloated, unresponsive bureaucracy that exists to serve itself and cannot fulfill its important intelligence-gathering role, which was the reason for its creation by President Harry Truman. This scathing indictment is made, not by the enraged "liberal media," but by a patriotic and devoted member of the CIA since the 1980s.

Jones was not thrown out of the CIA but was a highly regarded agent who resigned to write this book because he could no longer serve in this organization that had lost its sense of purpose and the capability to protect the United States from terrorist attacks. This controversial, eye-opening account will be popular in public libraries and debated by its readers.

Ishmael Jones, the false name for a deep cover agent, offers a chilling insider's account that shows repeatedly that the agency is driven by incompetence and greed. Its false intelligence not only led President Bush to declare war in Iraq, but the Agency's blunders were responsible for the Iranian hostage crisis that bedeviled the Carter administration, and the Cuban Missile Crises, which nearly precipitated a world-ending nuclear war between the Soviet Union and the United States during the Kennedy administration. --Karl Helicher, ForeWord Magazine

Company Chaos: The Central Intelligence Agency is a bloated, unresponsive bureaucracy that exists to serve itself and cannot fulfill its important intelligence-gathering role, which was the reason for its creation by President Harry Truman. This scathing indictment is made, not by the enraged "liberal media," but by a patriotic and devoted member of the CIA since the 1980s.

Ishmael Jones, the false name for a deep cover agent, offers a chilling insider's account that shows repeatedly that the agency is driven by incompetence and greed. Its false intelligence not only led President Bush to declare war in Iraq, but the Agency's blunders were responsible for the Iranian hostage crisis that bedeviled the Carter administration, and the Cuban Missile Crises, which nearly precipitated a world-ending nuclear war between the Soviet Union and the United States during the Kennedy administration.

Jones was not thrown out of the CIA but was a highly regarded agent who resigned to write this book because he could no longer serve in this organization that had lost its sense of purpose and the capability to protect the United States from terrorist attacks. This controversial, eye-opening account will be popular in public libraries and debated by its readers.

-- Karl Helicher, ForeWord Magazine


Product Details

  • File Size: 608 KB
  • Print Length: 393 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1594032238
  • Publisher: Encounter Books (March 16, 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003XU7IF4
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #160,358 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
120 of 127 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a clean-sheet final review. I considered dropping it to a four because of false notes. However, after adding up all the substantial "bombs" in this book, bombs I will itemize below, I believe the book not only merits five stars, but should--if Congress were honest, which it is not--warrant a full Congressional investigation, and a wholesale purging of the light-weight risk-averse clowns now managing CIA's directorates.

The author was a Non-Official Cover (NOC) Officer, something he is not allowed to say, but he no doubt has infuriated the pretentious at CIA by making it clear that virtually all of CIA's case officers are under Department of State cover.

I will list the false notes first. While I have not been active in clandestine operations since 1988, the following troubled me:

1) Ability to work on own funds with pay and expense gaps of up to $200,000 at a time.

2) Excessive travel to HQS and entry into HQS. In my day NOCs did not come inside at all.

3) Implied knowledge of inside operations and actual sighting of final cables--in my day, NOCs were handled as prize agents, and never saw any official traffic.

4) Agents (the ones committing treason) complaining to HQS to get their NOC fired? This is way over the edge.

5) Uninformed view on JAWBREAKER and First In with respect to public story--however, it is now it is coming out that Bin Laden was believed killed by multiple air bursts over Tora Bora, and the "flight" to Jalabad might have been a CIA deception ordered by the White House, and the only good explanation for why General Franks refused to drop a Ranger battalion, knowing it was merely in support of a CIA fabrication.
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127 of 137 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
First of all, I have purchased & read this book, and I recommend that everyone who is concerned about US security read it. Having been a former case officer myself doing exactly what Ishmael was doing, his story and analysis rings true with only a few insignificant exceptions. My time was twenty-five years before Ishmael's and the bureaucratic growth and risk-aversion trends were apparent then, but obviously they have become much worse.

Please allow me to make a few comments that might contribute to Robert Steele's excellent review.

Although the term "spy" is bandied about to sell books, for example, Valerie Plame's book, "Fair Game: My Life as a Spy...", case officers are not spies -- they handle, administer, and manage spies. As such Plame was not a spy, yet her career is typical: four years of training in the US, two years in an embassy overseas under diplomatic cover gathering tidbits at cocktail parties, four more years of training in the US, possibly a couple of months as a NOC (Non-Official Cover) case officer where she was not involved in any positive intelligence operations, (it takes years to become truly productive, if at all), and then ten more years in the US doing bureaucratic functions. I leave it to the reader to decide whether the taxpayer got his money's worth.

I do not mean to pick on Plame, but her story is typical. Very, very few case officers are effective, and when they are, it is in violation of policies and procedures from headquarters and only after taking extreme risks, both with regard to their physical safety and their career.
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50 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Real Deal July 14, 2008
Format:Hardcover
This is the ultimate adventure story of a deep-cover spy, operating throughout the Middle East, Asia, and Europe, tracking weapons scientists and terrorists. It is full of dry humor, and never slows down. But the real purpose appears to be to draw the reader's attention to the weakness in American national security caused by poor or false human intelligence. By not pontificating, the book is exciting and gets its point across. It's a book about intelligence reform disguised as a spy story.

Deep cover spy Ishmael recounts details about inept CIA training and torture courses, dodging co-workers trying to sabotage his work, falling prey to a dead-baby con scheme in Bombay, and the hilarious saga of his friend, the world's worst spy. I read an advance copy that should be the same as the final - and believe some of its revelations are explosive: the inability to place spies in foreign countries, the CIA's growth within the USA, disappearing money, work avoidance schemes, and great gaps in intelligence. A few paragraphs on the Plame incident are enlightening.

The Twins, a pair of CIA professors, pop up to intrude upon intelligence operations; a hunt for CIA pornography users decimates deep-cover spies overseas. CIA employees hire their spouses as managers in a confusion of nepotism. And bloody Iraq, a place of such absurd violence that ordinary CIA risk aversion is temporarily on hold.

The CIA's just a big couch potato, a failure at providing intelligence but an expert at feeding itself and growing ever larger. The consequences of this nonpartisan book could be far-reaching and CIA reform should be on the top of the Obama, (Hillary) or McCain agendas. CIA reform may well be the most important thing Americans can do as a nation to protect themselves. The author's decision to donate his book profits gives his case even greater strength.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars this book is not terribly interesting. There is at least one...
As for the content, this book is not terribly interesting. There is at least one ostensibly first-hand tale that has appeared many, many such accounts before. Read more
Published 27 days ago by Moresby
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Definitely a great book and easy to read.
Published 1 month ago by Charles Johnson
1.0 out of 5 stars Another "personal gripe" book
I have not finished this book but I am very disappointed with the vague, open ended, negative anecdotal and apocryphal stories presented by the author as representative of the CIA. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Apple
5.0 out of 5 stars HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. It is an alarming picture of how incoherent ...
Ishamel Jones delivers bravely. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. It is an alarming picture of how incoherent intelligence and policy have become and what might be done to improve the... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Mother Earth
4.0 out of 5 stars Deep Kimshee
I gave this book a 4-star rating because the content was so interesting. The writing was "stream of consciousness" and disjointed, with short quips and anecdotes that... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Fair Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Just as advertised
The book was in great shape. It was in new condition and I am currently deep in the reading. Great value.
Published 10 months ago by Safety Guy
4.0 out of 5 stars Great expose.
This should be read by everyone who thinks the CIA keeps us informed of pending dangers. It is nothing but another bloated bureaucracy wasting our tax dollars. Excellent expose.
Published 14 months ago by R. A. Moon
5.0 out of 5 stars I'll never look at the CIA the same again
Ismael exposes the CIA as a pretty incompetent organization. His most telling point is that every President has suffered a major intelligence failure relying on the CIA. Read more
Published 17 months ago by GMB
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent insights, fast read
I'd rate the book 4.5 stars, but not the full five. It's definitely worth reading and spending the money on. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Joseph I. Chapman
5.0 out of 5 stars No issues
The order was Fast and no issues. The product was in the condition that was stated by the ad. That is what important.
Published 18 months ago by jkp371
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