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The Art of Intelligence: Lessons from a Life in the CIA's Clandestine Service Hardcover – May 14, 2012
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“Crumpton's narrative, especially when chronicling the response to the 9/11 attacks, moves like a thriller, presenting a story of ingenuity and courage under fire…a compelling account of the changes that have allowed the CIA to fight the war on terror with unprecedented resources and success. There is no doubt that the CIA will in the future have to devote more resources to intelligence gathering. The agency should apply to its traditional operations the same ruthless, results-oriented ethos that Mr. Crumpton and his colleagues applied to fighting al Qaeda.” —The Wall Street Journal
"A lively account...combines the derring-do of old-fashioned spycraft with thoughtful meditations on the future of warfare and intelligence work. It deserves to be read." —The Washington Post
“Offer[s] an exceptionally deep glimpse into the CIA’s counterterrorism operations in the last decade of the twentieth century.” —Harper’s
“[A] colorful inside account.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“Hank Crumpton’s riveting account of his life in the CIA and the run up to the war in Afghanistan is a treasure for every citizen who wants to know the sacrifices, courage and strategic vision of the clandestine services in war and peace.” —Tom Brokaw
“The Art of Intelligence reflects the character of its author: Honest, smart, direct and impressive. Crumpton offers important new insights into the C.I.A.’s role in the Taliban’s overthrow in 2001, as well as a wider portrait of modern intelligence that is frank and compelling.” —Steve Coll, author of Ghost Wars
"[A] fascinating glimpse into the CIA’s most secret—and secretive—department." —Kirkus --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
About the Author
Henry A. Crumpton is chairman and CEO of Crumpton Group LLC, a strategic international advisory and business development firm. With the rank of ambassador at large, he served as the coordinator for counterterrorism at the U.S. Department of State from August 2005 until February 2007. Crumpton joined the Central Intelligence Agency in 1981 and spent most of his twenty-four-year career working undercover in the foreign field. He is the recipient of the Distinguished Intelligence Medal, the CIA's highest award for achievement. Crumpton received a B.A. from the University of New Mexico and a master's, with honors, from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.
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I read this book in one sitting as it was impossible to put it down.
Like many books of this kind, some parts are a bit self-serving ("I did this and accomplished this, despite so and so's wishes"), and other parts are a bit too much on the side of "thank you for your service".
The title belies the content's essence, as it is mostly memoir-driven, albeit with some appreciated analysis and other commentary, especially with regards to the Middle East strategy (though much has changed since this book was published).
A quick read, though I skimmed quite a few parts, as they seemed somewhat redundant.
I would recommend this book.
Perhaps best of all, Crump asks many open-ended, profound questions throughout the book. The willingness to open the discussion and demonstrate that he doesn't know it all himself makes the book very personal and conversational in tone, rather than a lecture. Must-read for anyone interested in intelligence, diplomacy, military, and long-term viability of the United States.
His book 'The Art of Intelligence' provides a unique look at the efforts of the U.S. and its liaison partners in this conflict. Too, the book illustrates how intel ops, serving the needs of its customers, has changed the very nature of modern armed conflict (i.e. drone aircraft [UAV], etc.)
The author provides an illuminating chronicle of his career beginning in Africa up through the wars taking place in the mid-east. His passion for the mission is evident in his writing. So, too, is his commitment to the 'operators' for whom he was responsible.
Of particular interest is the way in which Crumpton examines the differences between policy and operational imperatives. Key to his analysis is the role of intel and how it is both perceived and used.
The book closes with a poignant observation credited to Aristotle; "The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance". In the words of the author, 'so, too, with intelligence'.
I remember reading about how our intelligence in the Middle East was sorely lacking around the time of the 9-11 tragedy. Hank Crumpton details these shortcomings, and clearly lists the steps taken to enlighten the current Administration about Afghanistan, and how to go about building a relationship with the tribal chieftains so that the CIA, Special Forces, and the chieftains were able to work together to drive the Taliban across the border into neighboring Pakistan. But Crumpton also allows us to see that stopping at the border did nothing more than allow the Taliban to regroup and restrenghten.
Of particular interest to me was the fact that the nature of war has changed from standing armies facing each other on the battlefield, as in WWI and WWII, to that where battles are fought across cross-cultural lines. Additionally, I was impressed by the use of the GIS-based map, and its overlays, that, in Crumpton's words, "illustrated friend, foe, and other elements on the ground in Afghanistan." The advantage of this Magic Box was twofold: it allowed precision Drone attacks with a minimal number of civilians casualties - no bombing of wedding parties, for example - and it allowed our forces to know exactly where the Taliban was so that we could go after them.
Mr. Crumpton tells it like it is, with the use of humor in many instances, to display our shortcomings in policy planning. As such I consider this book a must-read. And one last point: The Art of Intelligence enlightens the general populace about the way a secretive organization conducts its business while at the same time being unable to publicly brag of its successes.