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The Secret History of the CIA Paperback – Bargain Price, January 4, 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
The book is written in rough chronological sequence--but, the overlap of some of the stories requires a little backward and forward storytelling. It starts with the pre-CIA origins and moves well into the '90s.
Initial impressions, from early chapters, are that the CIA is foolish; the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing; and the reader is blinded by 20/20 hindsight. As the book progresses, and the reader is carried through the discovery of moles and double/triple agents, the reader begins to understand how hard the discernment of "the truth" can be. In the end, one is left with a mix of sympathy, amazement, and admiration.
Be sure to read each chapter's footnotes for more interesting tidbits!
In many ways, this history is a good parallel to The Sword and the Shield, which draws on the KGB?s own secret history files. The books reinforce the fundamental message that the Western vulnerability to KGB efforts had its basis in many basic weaknesses within British and U.S. intelligence operations.
The primary sources for this book are retired CIA intelligence and counter-intelligence operatives, many of whom insisted on either anonymity or having their stories told after their deaths. I can certainly see why they were reticent to make these horrible stories public while they were alive.
The mistakes began with wide-open recruiting of former Nazis and their collaborators, which opened the door to long-time Soviet agents like Igor Orlov who appeared to have operated successfully until his death over 35 years later. Later, ?migr? groups were treated the same way, letting more double agents into U.S. intelligence. Counter-intelligence had its hands tied from the beginning because those who had recruited the former Nazis did not want their roles uncovered.Read more ›
The Secret History of the CIA covers the struggle between the United States and the Soviet Union, beginning even before World War II was completed. We're in Chapter Six, "The Battle to Control American Intelligence," before we encounter the National Security Act of 1947 and the agency it created, the Central Intelligence Agency.
Published in 2001, too early to include any mention of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, The Secret History of the CIA discusses CIA's history against the Soviet Union in enough detail to let the reader understand how the United States could be so utterly unprepared for what was (retrospectively, in any case) an obvious threat.
The book carries a caveat quoted from CIA mole hunter James Angleton, "Truth, when talking about the CIA, is relative." Despite this note, The Secret History of the CIA comes complete with many end notes identifying sources where possible, painting a picture that is as credible as it is disturbing. Joseph J. Trento's present work is quite different from The Main Enemy, documenting many failures, and some utter disasters funded by American tax dollars. Ultimately, both accounts might well turn out to be right.
Even before CIA was formed, the American intelligence community was plagued by penetrations from Soviet agents.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book is long on assertions and all too short on documentation - and very critical of the CIA. In fact, it is not a history of the CIA, but a self-styled history of the CIA's... Read morePublished 3 months ago by JimMeister
I would have to disagree with the view that this book is an introduction. As someone who knows very little about the CIA, I almost felt like an outsider peeking into stories that... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Lisa M. Beck
Very difficult read, didn't seem that well written to me, but lots of good research behind it.Published 15 months ago by KRISTIAN D MERKEL
The books "Legacy of Ashes" and "The Company" are written in an accessible style, but are fatally unreliable. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Sam Clemens
This is the second read through on this book since I purchased it some time ago.
This is a very comprehensive look at the agency and it’s history as well as some of the... Read more
This new book had a damaged corner but the person I bought it for did not tell me at first. so I did not return it. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Allez2008