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Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA Paperback – May 20, 2008
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"Must reading for anyone interested in the CIA or American intelligence since World War II." —The Washington Post“Legacy of Ashes is the best book I've yet read on the CIA's covert actions." —Edward Jay Epstein, The Wall Street Journal"Legacy of Ashes should be must-reading for every presidential candidate—and every American who wants to understand why the nation repeatedly stumbles into one disaster abroad after another.”—The Boston Globe “A timely and vital contribution . . . [that] glitters with relevance.”—Los Angeles Times“This is by far the scariest book of the year.”—The Christian Science Monitor
About the Author
Tim Weiner, a reporter for The New York Times, has filed stories from inside the CIA and around the world for twenty years. He is a past winner of the Pulitzer Prize for covering national security. This is his third book.
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The points put forth in the book are:
CIA officials are in the precarious position of having to speak truth to power, in this case, the President of the United States, when on some occasions, they may not want to hear it. The fact that they don't always want it prevents this intelligence agency from becoming the greatest on earth.That is not to say the failures of the CIA are entirely the fault of the executive branch. Some, but not all of the failures include Saddam's invasion of Kuwait, the implosion of the Soviet Union, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Russian and Chinese involvement in the Korean War as well as the attack on the World Trade Center. The list goes on.
The CIA began from the OSS-the Office of Strategic Services at the conclusion of the Second World War. Before that, there was no covert espionage in a formal context. Generals and Presidents rely on intelligence to avoid surprises and anticipate actions. Without it, clandestine activity was the fallback method. Within the agency, there was division; some preferred espionage while others favored covert operations. Is knowing the planet enough, or should change be made? Disasters are imminent if you opt to alter it without adequate knowledge.