Enter your mobile number 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.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

Buy Used
FREE Shipping on orders over $25.
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: This is a ex library book, stickers and markings accordingly.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Denial and Deception: An Insider's View of the CIA from Iran-Contra to 9/11 (Nation Books) Hardcover – November 30, 2004

3.3 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

See all 6 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
New from Used from
"Please retry"
"Please retry"
$3.42 $0.01

The Best Worst President: What the Right Gets Wrong About Barack Obama by Mark Hannah
"The Best 'Worst President'" by Mark Hannah and Bob Staake
A noted political commentator and renowned New Yorker illustrator team up to give Barack Obama the victory lap he deserves. Learn more
click to open popover

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A former clandestine agent specializing in the Middle East, Mahle begins with September 11th (she was doing intake on prospective applicants), but the bulk of her work recounts the CIA's involvement in such low watermarks of American intelligence as the Iran-Contra and the Ames affairs, and what she says have been their the devastating internal consequences. This is not just a memoir; Mahle joined the agency in 1988, and she pings back and forth in time, covering events and periods with which she was not directly involved. She decries what she characterizes as indiscriminate Congressional investigations, as well as political pressures to tailor conclusions to the biases of superiors. Both have led, she says, to demoralization and to a serious reduction in the CIA's overall capabilities-with the effects being fully felt now, as the U.S. finds itself in dire need of HUMINT (or human intelligence) from the Middle East and elsewhere. Reading the book is like talking to one of Seymour Hersh's sources, but with the relevance filter off; there's tons of information here-with a good deal on pre- and post-September 11th al-Qaeda-but very few readers will find all of it engaging. Nevertheless, as a major debriefing from an insider, one who writes clearly and often wryly, it succeeds.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

A former clandestine agent of the CIA's Directorate of Operations (DO), the author was posted in the Middle East in the 1990s. In this memoir, Mahle includes autobiographical anecdotes as well as analyses of the CIA's organizational and leadership problems in that decade. According to Mahle, the CIA's biggest problem was figuring out what to do after the cold war. Mahle details reforms proposed by successive directors from Robert Gates to George Tenet, and the extent to which these filtered down the line to the DO. She also imparts the flavor of her career--its operational excitement and sense of participating in history (one startling example: her proposal, eventually denied, to snatch a future 9/11 terrorist, Khalid Shaykh Muhammad). Although Mahle is generally supportive of the CIA, she delivers criticism bound to be pertinent to her core audience--potential CIA applicants--concerning an internal-security system she regards as unaccountable. She ran afoul of that system, which terminated her career. She also criticizes the conditions facing women in the male-dominated DO. Gilbert Taylor
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

New York Times best sellers
Browse the New York Times best sellers in popular categories like Fiction, Nonfiction, Picture Books and more. See more

Product Details

  • Series: Nation Books
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Nation Books (November 30, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1560256494
  • ISBN-13: 978-1560256496
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,575,620 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Robert David STEELE Vivas HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on January 30, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Edit of 20 Dec 07 to add links.

This is a very personal story by a female case officer who served overseas, did some very hard time over the course of at least fifteen years with the Directorate of Operations, and has produced a very rare book, one that provides some useful documentation of the ups and downs of clandestine operations under five Directors of Central Intelligence (this would be even more impressive if the five had not all been appointed in the space of six years).

This is, without question, one of the best books available on the intimate subject of the clandestine culture, and it offers some lovely gems and personality assessments that intelligence professionals will appreciate more than the general public. I have taken one star off for lack of detail and context, but strongly recommend the book to anyone who has served in the clandestine service and wishes to be reminded of the dark years, and to anyone who has not served in the clandestine service, and wishes to have a small glimmering of the down side of it all.

Although the book does a good job of weaving a somewhat superficial (that is to say, the highlights, not the irrelevant) history of counter-terrorism with a history of bureaucratic mis-steps by a series of DCIs, and the book does a superb job of shredding both CIA lawyers and CIA security officers and CIA's complete lack of counterintelligence, this is primarily a book about the failure of the Directorate of Operations as a tribe, not about the failure of the US Government in the global war on terrorism.

In retrospect, 1983-1985 are the years when the USG and the IC should have gone to "General Quarters," and 1992 was the year when Congress should have risen to its role and passed the Boren-McCurdy National Security Act of 1992.
Read more ›
Comment 57 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
The book does not cover Melissa's career much, but instead focuses on the CIA and its history from Iran-Contra until the build-up of the Iraq war. It is a bit dry, but informative. If you're interested in the Clandestine Service and its actions, do NOT read this book. There are better books on that part of the CIA, including Robert Baer's "See No Evil" and Lindsay Moran's "Blowing my Cover" (although I'd wager Mr. Baer would hate to be placed in the same group as Ms. Moran except as "good officer vs. bad one.")
Comment 14 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
Mahle writes only sparsely about her own career with the CIA clandestine service in this book, most likely because her former employer wouldn't let her, as she herself says a few times. This well-written book is full of insights, especially, on the sorry state of the clandestine service of the CIA (also known as the Directorate of Operations, DO) during the last fifteen years or so. The author writes about general developments within the DO and its position within successive US administrations. Partly due to Iran-Contra, the DO from the second half of the 1980s had to work under all kinds of ethical and political restrictions that made operations very difficult if not impossible in many cases. Operations would be cancelled if there was only the slightest chance of them resulting in bad publicity. Agents could only be recruited if they would lead the life of saints and go to church and confession at least once a week. Whereby the author makes abundantly clear that saints do not usually make good agents. Support from headquarters for clandestine officers in the field was weak at the best of times, if Mahle is to be believed. This was the time I think when a CIA officer in the field, before going off on an important but risky mission inquired first if the headquarters at Langley was still in friendly hands. It could always be that the enemy had taken over by the time he came back from his mission, of course. I seriously wonder if there was ever a great power in the last century whose clandestine service had to labor under such restrictions and under such a fear of risk-taking. After 9/11, of course, the pendulum swung completely in the other direction again, witness the program of 'extraordinary rendition', for example, about which much has been written lately.Read more ›
Comment 9 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Ms Mahle's was forced to resign or was fired from the Operations Directorate of the CIA for an offense she is forbidden to discuss. I wish she had been forbidden to discuss some of the more outrageous accusations in her book, too, and not because they are based on rumors and hearsay. It is true that Directors of Central Intelligence since Turner have been unwilling mostly out of stupidity or self-interest to speak truth to power. However, William Webster was not one of them. She also blames all the presidents since George Herbert Walker Bush for being weak and risk-adverse. They were, but not always for the reasons she ascribes to them. For these reasons, she and the DO and the CIA failed to "do their duty" to protect the American people from 9/11. If only, she opines, we spies were allowed to do what we do best--deny and deceive and conduct clandestine operations for the sake of the game, then we Americans would be safe? Oh yes, and there are the institutional rivalries and culture clashes with the FBI (she says a lot about this) but fails to mention that other security gorgon, the NSA, which also bears responsibility for the failure to share information on terrorist targets. The book is a white-wash of a culture that is responsible for too many intelligence failures because of excess use of shameful tactics and an over-weaning pride in its limited capacity to judge itself. The denial is hers, the study is flawed, and the blame for 9/11 laid at the wrong doors. It is also factually inaccurate on issues and identities she should have known, repetitive, and badly in need of an editor. Written in 2004, she missed the Porter Goss fiasco--too bad. I do not recommend reading this, unless you have a taste for spy talk and unclassified gossip.
Comment One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews