Tim Weiner begins his history of the CIA with an unambiguous
rebuke: "The most powerful country in the history of civilization has failed to
create a first-rate spy service." He warns that the United States'
three-hundred-year dominance will evaporate "unless it finds the eyes to see
things as they are in the world." For all its covert activities, the CIA's
deepest secret, according to Weiner, is how little it knows about other
countries and how often it acts blindly, with dire consequences. Since its
inception in 1945, the agency has routinely put thousands of agents and their
informants in grave danger for mere scraps of intelligence. Just as routinely,
the CIA has failed to foresee major threats to American security; the deadly
blindsiding on 9/11 has a long and alarming pedigree.
Weiner documents how the agency's failures have been built into its...
Beyond the Book
The Central Intelligence Agency has been riven by turf battles, political
infighting, and the lack of qualified agents and analysts. But just as
frequently, the CIA has been brought to its knees by thoroughly avoidable
from the (somewhat) droll
In 1994, the station chief in Guatemala accused the American
Ambassador, Marilyn McAfee, of having a lesbian affair with her
secretary, Carol Murphy. The station chief detailed his findings in "the
Murphy memo," which he distributed around Washington. The CIA had,
indeed, caught McAfee cooing endearments to Murphy on a bug in her
bedroom. But it turns out that Murphy was her poodle.
to the distressful