- Hardcover: 552 pages
- Publisher: Stanford Security Studies; 1 edition (August 8, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0804756015
- ISBN-13: 978-0804756013
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.5 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,410,174 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
The CIA and the Culture of Failure: U.S. Intelligence from the End of the Cold War to the Invasion of Iraq 1st Edition
Use the Amazon App to scan ISBNs and compare prices.
Curated Collections of History Books
Browse through handpicked collections of rare, vintage and antiquarian history books. Learn more on AbeBooks.com.
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
From Publishers Weekly
Diamond, a defense analyst and former reporter for USA Today, presents a perceptive account of the reasons behind a double-barreled intelligence fiasco: 9/11 and the invasion of Iraq. In the case of 9/11, Diamond claims that the CIA failed to determine the target, timing, and perpetrators of an attack it knew was coming. With Iraq, he says, the CIA perceived a threat that did not exist: weapons of mass destruction. The failures were linked, Diamond says. The implosion of the Soviet Union ended the threat the CIA was designed to meet, leaving the agency at loose ends in an unstructured global environment. Revelations of intelligence failures bred a culture of failure, by which Diamond means a crisis of confidence in the CIA's abilities. That generated internal friction and factionalism, with blind spots and biases shaping judgments. One result was failure to assemble a coherent image of developing security threats. Another was overcompensating for 9/11 by reasoning that with Iraq, safe was better than sorry. Diamond's evaluation of the CIA's crisis of confidence adds insight to debates about intelligence failures. 10 illus. (Sept)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
"John Diamond has combined his considerable journalistic skills and his policy knowledge to produce an interesting and important book that examines the interplay of intelligence and politics during a crucial transition period for U.S. national security. John adds new insights to our understanding of the links between intelligence and policy as they developed over the last 15 years―from the collapse of the Soviet Union to the Iraq War. Both policymakers and citizens interested in America's security will find this book to be a valuable frame of reference as we look ahead to the challenges facing our nation in the coming years." (Sam Nunn Former U.S. Senator)
"The CIA and the Culture of Failure is a very important work that focuses on intelligence and policy issues that are of immediate interest in dealing with key crisis areas like Iraq, Iran, and North Korea. No one can be definitive in a field where so much is classified, but this book frames a key debate over the future of intelligence that deserves broad attention by the Administration, the Congress, and the intelligence community. The work is solid, well-thought out, and covers a wide range of sources without bias; and without academic, ideological, or political prejudice." (Anthony H. Cordesman,Arleigh A. Burke Chair in Strategy Center for Strategic and International Studies)
"Diamond has put together a sequence of long, trenchant, truly eclectic essays on the CIA's internal workings, consistently stressing its tendency to outsmart itself. He has astutely canvassed active and recently retired agency personnel, cultivated top personalities in the congressional-oversight committees, combed through the documents and professional literature, and emerged with fine-grained, fair-minded analyses. The result is a collection of riveting specific case studies, with sharp and frequently surprising judgments. With Diamond's detailed treatment of key, catalytic incidents...the astute reader can appreciate the many setbacks―more than a few self-inflicted―that in turn produced full-blown debacles such as the Ames case and the falsified assessments that sparked the Iraq war." - BookForum
"For all those searching for a level-headed, critical historical analysis of the CIA written with an insightful journalist's nimble pen, look to John Diamond's book." (Richard L. Russell Professor, National Defense University, author of Sharpening Strategic Intelligence: Why the CIA Gets It Wrong and What Needs to Be Done to Get It Right)
"John Diamond's The CIA and the Culture of Failure is well-written and carefully researched. He begins by noting that our intelligence professionals must ask difficult questions, do robust research, and think critically. He is unflinching in delineating, honestly and succinctly, how hard it will be to achieve these goals. Diamond's book exposes the very real dangers of relying on biased intelligence products and describes how difficult it often is to identify such biases. This book will give policy makers new insights into the benefits and the hazards of relying on intelligence for policy decisions." (William J. Perry 19th United States Secretary of Defense)
"Diamond, a defense analyst and former reporter for USA Today, presents a perceptive account of the reasons behind a double-barreled intelligence fiasco: 9/11 and the invasion of Iraq. ...Diamond's evaluation of the CIA's crisis of confidence adds insight to debates about intelligence failures." - Publishers Weekly
Browse award-winning titles. See more
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top Customer Reviews
Diamond also makes a very valuable observation that there is a wide gap between the line intelligence analysts and the senior intelligence officials who present the face of CIA to the executive branch and congress. Much of the problem of so-called "bad" intelligence stems from the reluctance of seniors to accurately reflect analytic positions if those positions run counter to the direction that policy formulation is taking. As
Diamond points out, analytic processes and conclusions are often by necessity convoluted and ambiguous. Therefore, both senior intelligence managers and their policy making clients find many accurate intelligence products confusing and frustrating. As a result, staff functionaries often will `scrub' intelligence products to eliminate contradictions and ambiguities. The resulting product may not be accurate, but it is much easier to understand than the original.
That said, Diamond also notes that CIA analytic tradecraft is sadly lacking. He cites numerous examples where CIA working analysts demonstrated a shocking lack of competence. For example, the CIA misinformation that caused the U.S. to execute a precision air strike that hit the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade, instead of its intended target a Serbian military target was the fault of inexcusable carelessness of CIA analysts (this included failure to use readily available open sources, existing local CIA and U.S. Embassy sources, and an unwillingness to examine current information). Even allowing for all the mitigating factors, CIA has a sub-standard record for intelligence production that is as much due to poor analysis as to outside pressures and the complexities of the analytic craft.
This book is fair to CIA and to the national security establishment. Diamond is on the fringes of this establishment and not of it and this has enabled him to be objective about its failings and successes.
A final comment would be that gathering intelligence on the "bad guys" is not easy. They are trying to keep this information secret for a reason. Mr Diamond I think forgets this point at times and assumes that the US intelligence apparatus if focused on what it needs to do can achieve this goal. I don't know if that is true. Guessing and speculation based on what you have is probably done more than we are willing to admit. People do it in their everyday lives and it happens at the highest levels of security too. Sometimes you get it right and sometimes you don't. The examples in the book were some of the ones we didn't get right. But the title of the book is the failures. For some reason, he hasn't written about the things they got right.
The CIA will never get credit for it's successes and will always be punished for it's mistakes. They don't want their name out on the Washington Post in either situation. They work best in the shadows. Throw in politicians and their own angles and you have a big mess.
Solid book. Enjoyed the retelling of the intelligence world for the past 20 years.
There are seven CIAs, not just the one that the author writes about, and that costs the book one star. Search for my post of some time ago, "Search: Seven CIAs [Steele on the Record]".
There is also a total lack of integrity as well as intelligence in Washington, D.C., and while I might normally take a second star away from the book -- the author is pimping the cover story and not addressing the deep pathologies across the Executive, Legislative, and corporate worlds -- this last bit is something I focus on and will return to in a year or two once I am done with my overseas service.
Yes, the CIA failed on 9/11 because Dick Cheney ordered it so and the Director of the FBI, two weeks on the job, was hired for the explicit purpose of covering it all up (just as the FBI actively covered up George W. Bush's participation in the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and its own culpability in the assassination of Martin Luther King, as well as many other crimes of state from Waco to Oklahoma and beyond.
No, the CIA did not fail on Iraq. Charlie Allen got it right, and George Tenet prostituted his office in willfull betrayal of his oath of office and the public trust. we had the defecting son-in-law, we had the 20 plus legal travelers, we knew they had kept the cook books, destroyed the stocks, and wer bluffing for regional influence's sake.
There is certainly a great deal of good in this book and it fully merits the four stars, it fully merits being used as a classroom text, but it does not touch upon "deep secrecy," or treason as a common practice across the executive, which lacks counterintelligence and ethics in every possible sense of the work. We are our own worst enemy, and until we have a public that demands honest government, and a president that demands an Office of Management and Budget able to actually manage, cognizant of true costs, strong in promoting open source everything (the technical solution) and multinational information-sharing and sense-making (the human solution), we will remain a nation of sheep, distracted, ignorant, lethargic, cannon fodder for the likes of Henry Kissinger, whose two great quotes will conclude this high-level commentary, followed by a few books that I consider seminal to the discipline of intelligence, which is about decision support, not about spending money on going through the motions.
Henry Kissinger: "The illegal we do immediately; the unconstitutional takes a little longer."
Henry Kissinger: Military men are `dumb, stupid animals to be used' as pawns for foreign policy.
The Pathology of Power
Philosophy and the Social Problem: The Annotated Edition
High Noon: 20 Global Problems, 20 Years To Solve Them
Routledge Companion to Intelligence Studies
Best wishes to all,
Robert David STEELE Vivas
INTELLIGENCE FOR EARTH: Clarity, Diversity, Integrity, & Sustainability