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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 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.