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Against All Enemies: An American's Cold War Journey Paperback – August 7, 2013
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The US has no moral right to lecture anyone on democracy, human rights and transparency.
While reading the book, it gave me a different perspective of some events that shaped recent history.
That said, there are typos and grammar errors on every other page. There are references to acronyms or agencies that are never explained. A good editor could have trimmed about 200-300 pages, and improved the quality. Carney's narrative makes it reasonably clear that he resists authority figures and experts telling him what to do, so perhaps agents and editors have tried to talk sense into him but somehow he went his own way by self-publishing instead. That is a shame because this story deserves a larger audience. I'm glad I read this.
But let me be clear, while I never took the term "Betrayal" personally, I can professionally accept that many in the military and intelligence fields will never forgive Jeff his transgressions. I'm not one of them, but then, I've always approached investigations knowing the people I chased were at a disadvantage, sociologically speaking. They had flaws in their character that they were not able to overcome with common sense and intellect. The best criminals are very bright, but deem themselves brighter than those who follow society's rules.
I first met Jeff at a party when we were both assigned to Goodfellow AFB in Texas. I was an OSI Agent who was dating someone within his circle of friends and co-workers. Some time later, he came to my office to make a report of a contact with persons from a criteria country, as was the requirement at the time. Jeff and I were never friends. Merely acquaintances. I theorize that my suddenly becoming a peripheral part of his life, served to heighten his paranoia that he was being watched.
When his world began to unravel, because of his clearance being pulled, my office was made aware that his commander had some concerns. When Jeff fled to Mexico City, both my supervisor and I were convinced Jeff had been involved in espionage and defected. Oddly, getting anyone in the OSI Counter Espionage hierarchy to accept it, or for that matter, even entertain the notion, was like trying to break into Fort Knox. I've always felt that valuable time had been wasted with this ridiculous infighting and in the end circumstances bore that out.
I knew a lot about Jeff's history even before I read this book, but it was nice to know the whole story - taken with a healthy dose of professional skepticism with regard to motive. In the end, criminals always try to assign motives to their acts that serve to try and mitigate the moral and legal ramifications. In this case, it appears Jeff is pretty honest. There were things he cared about and things that didn't really matter. The things he cared about were inconsistent with his military service. What he didn't care about, didn't matter. He'd follow his own conscience, right or wrong. In my mind, he was wrong, but that was a long time ago and I'm satisfied it's over.
So, about the book. As a former OSI agent, it's refreshing to know that everything I've tried to impart to military members from the top down was proven true. Spies are not our enemy. WE are our own enemy. When we "gift" the enemy with golden eggs of intelligence information, we have only ourselves to blame. Despite being told 'ad-nauseum' that the telephone was our biggest vulnerability, military members and civilians in the military were promiscuously divulging intelligence information that did irreparable harm. Nothing has changed. We now know, based on revelations about the NSA that intelligence gatherers have always viewed the telephone as a virtual fountain of intelligence information. The only difference now is, we are spying on our own for purposes that we have yet to understand. I fear we will one day learn that lesson too.
The lesson Jeff learned - and I find myself a little amused by - is that the spy is loathed most, by the masters they serve. In this case, Jeff chose to serve masters that events have shown to be the equal of any of the worse human rights violators in history. But, like many in the "peace" movement, socialism has had some perverse appeal to their psyche, allowing them to overlook that which common sense suggested had always been true.
My 4 star rating of this book should not be seen as an endorsement of Jeff or a forgiveness of his crimes. Forgiveness isn't mine to give and I understand his less-than-fair portrayal of my old organization, the AFOSI. His use of the term "Kidnapped" is simply a ruse to engender sympathy. He was caught and brought to justice. It wasn't perfect, but one has to admit, it was well deserved.
It's an interesting read. One that should be recommended to military members and civilian employees of the military, if only to highlight intelligence vulnerabilities and motivations for espionage. For these reasons, I recommend it.
And, because I understand Jeff, perhaps better than he understands me, I hope it does well.
AFOSI Special Agent, Retired.
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