32 of 40 people found the following review helpful
Missing Relevance & Misguided Purpose,
This review is from: Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA (Paperback)
Has there ever been more scrutiny and criticism of an organization that is suppose to operate in secret? At its formation from the remnants of the OSS, the CIA was always playing "catch-up" with other nation's counterparts who were more practiced at the 'great game'. Then in short order, its many missteps brought about distrust from its own government and people. Despite this, the CIA managed to maintain a formidable reputation in spite of its truly awful record.
Its purpose or mission was to know the world. Soon that came to entail exporting and cementing democracy. The result, in the words of President Eisenhower, is "a legacy of ashes." Weiner's book delivers on two levels. First, it offers up a definitive history of the CIA activities (much you may have read before but the whole effort is more comprehensive). But more importantly, he provides an analysis of why the organization has been such a debated failure giving credence to the theory that its brand is more valuable than its substance.
History will show that the US missed a critical opportunity to totally revamp its entire intelligence apparatus in the wake of 9/11 rather than simply applying bandaids and creating an umbrella structure for competing organizations.