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The Human Factor: Inside the CIA's Dysfunctional Intelligence Culture (Encounter Broadsides) Paperback – April 6, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
What's wrong with the CIA? A number of authors have tackled this question lately, and the pseudonymous Jones brings what could be a unique vantage point: a career operative, Jones claims he was "America's number one producer of intelligence reports on terrorism." Unfortunately, the book is more memoir than expose, privileging personal complaints (Jones is frequently underutilized and underappreciated) over actual accounts of the intelligence community's accomplishments and setbacks. Even as he hops the globe, Jones revels in woefully familiar aggravations: the Agency fails to reimburse his expenses in a timely fashion, wastes his time in team-building exercises, etc. He convincingly labels headquarters a haven for burnt-out, risk-averse pension-seekers, but he spends just as much time getting in digs at difficult landlords, surly cab drivers and airplane travel. Though Jones levels many serious charges against those running the CIA, he doesn't follow through and offers just a few pages of suggestions; his self-concern and attention to mundane details make this more suitable for those considering a career at the Agency than those wishing to understand it.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Scathing and unauthorized.”
"Controversial, eye-opening account"
This book should be required reading for anyone who serves in our government or is served by it. But beware: Reading The Human Factor will make you very, very angry.”
Max Boot, Senior fellow in national security studies, The Council on Foreign Relations; author of The Savage Wars of Peace and War Made New
Jones (the cover name the Agency gave him during his first training course), a Marine who joined the Agency’s clandestine service and became a case officer in the late ’80s, paints a devastating and alarming picture of a vast bureaucracy he calls a corrupt, Soviet-style organization’.”
Michael Ledeen, National Review Online
Mr. Jones obviously believes that the United States deserves the best intelligence organization in the world. He believes passionately that every American taxpayer is being cheated because we are paying scores of billions of dollars for a bloated, ineffective, risk-averse organization that cannot perform the mission for which it was created.”
John Weisman, The Washington Times
Ishmael Jones represents an altogether uncommon breed of CIA officer, one willing to risk life and career in the pursuit of gathering better intelligence. If the CIA as a whole shared this one officer’s relentless pursuit of WMD sources, terrorists, and the rogue nations that support them, then we might find ourselves in a much safer world today. With his book The Human Factor, Jones relates the details of his extraordinary career with a notable lack of bravado and a tremendous amount of dry wit.”
Lindsay Moran, author of Blowing My Cover: My Life as a CIA Spy
The Human Factor is an enormously important book and a surprisingly accessible read. Hopefully, it will propel the reform debate beyond the usual tinkering . Call him Ishmael, or not, but I call him a patriot.”
David Forsmark, Frontpage Magazine
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The Marine Corps lost an outstanding officer when he went to the Agency. He knew why he was there and what he could do to contribute to the national security of the United States. The agency, as it appeared from the book was the most restrictive form of intelligence, I as an outsider could imagine. When he figured out how to work around the hassles of all hands in the cookie jar, he made things happen and he did them well. Instead of fostering this motivation and promoting his mind set, for others to follow. They looked for every reason possible to limit or remove him from operations. It would make the reader; assume that since his objectives are not dangerous enough, the agency felt it needed to compile other non-work related stress to facilitate his work load. As I read about so many fall-outs or other officers buckling under the pressure resigning or being reduced to janitor status. Since it is not the cadre but the system doing it, logical thinking would make changes to stop losing such highly qualified prospects. The reader at time is asking, why does the agency want out of HUMINT operations?
I would like to add the advice on his daily mental checks and staying in physical shape only promoted his clear thinking and judgment. He was a success at home with his family and multiple other aliases throughout the world. When I reached the end of the book, I kept searching for more and realized that he already said, what needed to be. Personally I find the information, on the agency disconcerting and difficult to digest. With consideration of its background from other authors also detailing their careers and the many officers that worked diligently; acquiring information for the policy makers. It is appalling to think that this once proud and lead collection effort in HUMINT operations has become this mess of multiple layers of resistance and chaos. I often asked myself, multiple times throughout the readings if this is why the Defense Intelligence Agency has increased their human operations to fill the gaps that were once dominated by the best intelligence service ever conceived.
For anyone that is interested in another side of operations within the CIA you need to purchase this and read. Not for a deterrent of service but to know what else is behind the doors.
I was horrified by this expose. If half of what the author writes is true, we are in deep kimshee.