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

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Length: 393 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

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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.
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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: 947 KB
  • Print Length: 393 pages
  • Publisher: Encounter Books (March 16, 2010)
  • Publication Date: March 16, 2010
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003XU7IF4
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #427,266 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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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128 of 138 people found the following review helpful By David M. Dougherty VINE VOICE on August 31, 2008
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 By Vince Reilly on 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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