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Beyond Repair: The Decline And Fall Of The Cia Hardcover – October 8, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Faddis (Operation Hotel California), a career CIA operations officer, pulls no punches in this provocative critique of the iconic—and dysfunctional—spy agency. Noting that the CIA was created to protect the U.S. from another Pearl Harbor, the author points to 9/11 as proof that the agency can no longer perform that task and is so beyond reform that it must be replaced. In his portrayal of the CIA, risk-taking, daring and creativity are discouraged, bureaucratic concerns are given precedence, senior leadership is lacking and morale has been sapped by crippling purges and witch hunts. The author concludes that the agency is dying a death of a thousand cuts and offers a blueprint for a new OSS, modeled on the legendary Office of Strategic Services, FDR's WWII spy agency that spawned the CIA. Keep this new organization, like its wartime predecessor, small, flat and elite, he cautions, and use it sparingly. In a world where threats are multiplying and becoming more complex, Faddis's bleak assessment of the CIA should be required reading. (Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
“Faddis, a career CIA operations officer, pulls no punches in this provocative critique of the iconic and dysfunctional spy agency. . . . In a world where threats are multiplying and becoming more complex, [his] bleak assessment of the CIA should be required reading.”
―Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“If you want to know what’s wrong with today’s CIA―and how to fix it―
this book is the place to start. Sam Faddis . . . describes the timidity of station chiefs terrified of getting blamed for mistakes, the obduracy of ambassadors who don’t want flaps, the ‘we’re all winners here’ training rules better suited for a kindergarten playground than intelligence work, the reluctance to hire and promote people who understand leadership. You read Beyond Repair and you realize: No wonder the CIA is screwed up! Faddis proposes a bold cure: Remake the CIA in the image of the World War II spy service, the OSS―smaller, flatter, tougher, smarter, meaner. If people would read this book and understand its message, it could save lives.”
―David Ignatius, Washington Post columnist and author of Body of Lies
“Drawing on his unique experience as a CIA operations officer, Charles Faddis makes a compelling case in Beyond Repair that the CIA must return to its Office of Strategic Services (OSS) roots to provide the United States with the intelligence it needs. Faddis has a deep appreciation for the OSS and great admiration for its legendary leader, General William J. Donovan, who frequently told OSS personnel that they could not succeed without taking chances. Faddis has taken such chances himself. General Donovan could have written this book. I know he would have read it and agreed wholeheartedly with its conclusion.”
―Charles Pinck, President of The OSS Society
Top customer reviews
An interesting and informative read. One hopes that congress reads and heeds the advice provided by Mr. Faddis, as the recommended changes are a vitally important formula for success in dealing with the intelligence gathering challenges and operational imperatives our nation requires for survival in today's world. Students of history, current affairs or intelligence operations/agencies will find "Beyond Repair" an important addition to their libraries and their understanding of the shadow world in which agency personnel live and operate.
The cold war may well be over, but today we are facing state sponsored but stateless terrorist groups and individuals who present daily threats to the peace and stability of the world, and the concern over weapons of mass destruction (WMD) finding their way into the hands of these groups or individuals is very real. The consequences of this threat are not something any of us wish to see come to fruition, as a successful attack with such weapons anywhere in the world would make the losses of 9/11 pale by comparison. The terrorists only have to be successful once, whereas the government agencies tasked with thwarting their agendas must be right 100% of the time!
In the book, Faddis does an outstanding job of detailing why and how the Central Intelligence Agency is broken, as well as, the measures necessary to repair it. As a no-nonsense, in-the-trenches operator, Faddis understands that criticism without recommendations to solve problems is useless and a waste of time. With this in mind, Beyond Repair is not meant to be a disparaging diatribe, but a 'how-to' manual that provides pragmatic solutions to complex issues.
As only an individual who has 'been there, done that' can do, Faddis provides insightful analysis and real world examples of CIA failures caused in large part by its increasingly bureaucratic and political nature. He also gives examples of the successes the agency is capable of when led by leaders who care more about the mission and their subordinates than themselves or progressing their careers. Simply put, Beyond Repair is a lesson in leadership, from which all leaders can learn. In addition to the leaders in the CIA, all those in the nation's Capitol should read and heed the author's lessons as well.
In this critique of the current CIA by one of its own, we find that the dysfunction of the U.S.'s intelligence gathering agency is beyond repair. The CIA needs to be trashed and replaced. And the other government agencies that are creating their own intelligence functions need to be stopped.
The world is not a nice place - unfortunately our own politicians have created the very situation that prevents the CIA from doing its job; supporting the promotion of paper pushers and yes men instead of capable operators and leaders.
If you want to see what is leading to the decline and fall of the United States of America - this book tells it like it is in at least one component. Like a cancer, once it takes hold, it metastasizes throughout the body, in this case the government, leading to the ultimate death of the host. If we don't excise the problem now, and begin healing the other problems of our government (and its agencies), we will ultimately succumb to the insidious spread of mediocrity and irresponsibility.
It is frightening, horrifying, to think our once-great intelligence has succumbed to
inertia, political correctness [...]
If we believe this writer (and why shouldn't we, unless he is not telling the truth about his
credentials?) he is a spy. He should know.
He could also be a guy with an attitude because he doesn't fit in with the current crop of spies
and the recent college grads who have begun to run things without experience.
So either way, it is a frightening picture of the wars ahead.
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