Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA by Tim Weiner

By Tim Weiner

For the final sixty years, the CIA has controlled to keep up an impressive recognition regardless of its poor checklist, burying its mistakes in top-secret information. Its venture was once to understand the area. while it didn't prevail, it got down to swap the area. Its disasters have passed us, within the phrases of President Eisenhower, “a legacy of ashes.”

Now Pulitzer Prize–winning writer Tim Weiner deals the 1st definitive background of the CIA—and every little thing is at the checklist. LEGACY OF ASHES is predicated on greater than 50,000 files, basically from the documents of the CIA itself, and enormous quantities of interviews with CIA veterans, together with ten administrators of vital Intelligence. It takes the CIA from its construction after global battle II, via its battles within the chilly struggle and the battle on terror, to its near-collapse after 9/ll.

Tim Weiner’s prior paintings at the CIA and American intelligence used to be hailed as “impressively reported” and “immensely entertaining” within the manhattan occasions.

The Wall road magazine known as it “truly awesome . . . the easiest ebook ever written on a case of espionage.” this is the hidden background of the CIA: why 11 presidents and 3 generations of CIA officials were not able to appreciate the area; why approximately each CIA director has left the enterprise in worse form than he came upon it; and the way those mess ups have profoundly jeopardized our nationwide security.

Reviews:

From Publishers Weekly
Starred assessment. Is the significant Intelligence enterprise a bulwark of freedom opposed to harmful foes, or a malevolent conspiracy to unfold American imperialism? a bit of either, in keeping with this soaking up learn, yet, the writer concludes, it truly is in general a reservoir of incompetence and delusions that serves no one's pursuits good. Pulitzer Prize–winning ny instances correspondent Weiner musters large archival study and interviews with top-ranking insiders, together with former CIA chiefs Richard Helms and Stansfield Turner, to give the agency's saga as an workout in attempting to switch the area with no bothering to appreciate it. Hypnotized by way of covert motion and stressed through presidents, the CIA, he claims, wasted its assets fomenting coups, assassinations and insurgencies, rigging overseas elections and bribing political leaders, whereas its infrequent successes encouraged fiascoes just like the Bay of Pigs and the Iran-Contra affair. in the meantime, Weiner contends, its right functionality of amassing exact intelligence languished. With its operations simply penetrated by means of enemy spies, the CIA was once unaware of occasions in adverse international locations like Russia, Cuba and Iraq and tragically improper concerning the the most important advancements lower than its purview, from the Iranian revolution and the autumn of communism to the absence of Iraqi WMDs. some of the misadventures Weiner covers, from time to time sketchily, are standard, yet his finished survey brings out the chronic difficulties that plague the supplier. the result's a reputable and damning indictment of yank intelligence coverage. (Aug. 7)

From Bookmarks Magazine
Tim Weiner, a number of Pulitzer Prize winner, longtime big apple instances reporter, and the writer of Betrayal: the tale of Aldrich Ames, American undercover agent (1995) and clean fee: The Pentagon's Black finances (1991) hits his marks in Legacy of Ashes. Drawing on greater than 50,000 records and three hundred on-the-record interviews with key gamers (10 of them former administrators of the supplier; the entire book's many notes and quotations are attributed), Weiner treats his topic with a ruthless, journalistic eye, skewering Republican and Democratic administrations alike for the CIA's slide into mediocrity. One critic reveals a weak spot in Weiner's exuberant dismantling of the outdated safeguard on the cost of extra modern research. nonetheless, this can be an immense ebook that would catch the eye of an individual drawn to the CIA's checkered history.

From Booklist
National-security journalist Weiner helps an American clandestine espionage provider yet flays the person who has been in enterprise for the earlier 60 years. His historical past of the CIA attracts commonly from basic documentation, yielding vigorous episodes of brokers and operations and the reactions to their effects via CIA administrators and presidents. The identify rates President Dwight Eisenhower's damaging opinion of the intelligence association, a recurrent government grievance that activates Weiner's research of the CIA's ancient difficulties. He argues that covert motion has deflected the CIA from espionage's vintage functionality of ascertaining adversaries' secrets and techniques and intentions and, as a result, populates those pages with covert-action fiascoes (the Bay of Pigs in 1961) and intelligence disasters to sidestep one other Pearl Harbor (one cause the CIA used to be created) equivalent to Sept. 11. even though severe, Weiner expresses esteem for yes CIA administrators, similar to Richard Helms. those administrators understood espionage fundamentals, and Weiner concludes with the wish that the CIA gets again to them. millions of the CIA's annual candidates will hunt down an institutional historical past, and Weiner's ably meets that desire. Taylor, Gilbert

"Must interpreting for a person drawn to the CIA or American intelligence seeing that global struggle II." —The Washington Post“Legacy of Ashes is the simplest publication I've but learn at the CIA's covert actions." —Edward Jay Epstein, The Wall highway Journal"Legacy of Ashes can be must-reading for each presidential candidate—and each American who desires to comprehend why the kingdom time and again stumbles into one catastrophe overseas after another.”—The Boston Globe “A well timed and very important contribution . . . [that] glitters with relevance.”—Los Angeles Times“This is via a long way the scariest booklet of the year.”—The Christian technology Monitor

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Souers. A reservist, Souers was a Democratic Party stalwart from Missouri, a wealthy businessman who made his money in life insurance and Piggly Wiggly shops, the nation’s first self-service supermarkets. He had served on a postwar commission studying the future of intelligence created by Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal, but his sights were set on nothing grander than a swift return to Saint Louis. Souers discovered to his dismay that the president was going to make him the first director of central intelligence.

What was the mission of American intelligence in the face of the new Soviet threat? No one was sure. “AN APPRENTICE JUGGLER” On June 10, 1946, General Hoyt Vandenberg became the second director of central intelligence. A handsome pilot who had led Eisenhower’s tactical air war in Europe, he now ran a fly-by-night outfit based in a cluster of undistinguished masonry buildings at the far end of Foggy Bottom, atop a small bluff overlooking the Potomac. His command post stood at 2430 E Street, the old headquarters of the OSS, surrounded by an abandoned gasworks, a turreted brewery, and a roller-skating rink.

He set out on a recruiting drive that ran from the Pentagon to Park Avenue to Yale and Harvard and Princeton, where professors and coaches were paid to spot talent. He hired lawyers, bankers, college kids, old school friends, veterans at loose ends. “They would pull people off the streets, anybody with warm blood who could say yes or no or move arms and legs,” said the CIA’s Sam Halpern. Wisner aimed to open at least thirty-six stations overseas within six months; he managed forty-seven in three years.

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