"Legacy Of Ashes: The History of the CIA"

September 27th, 2007  

Topic: "Legacy Of Ashes: The History of the CIA"

"Legacy Of Ashes: The History of the CIA"

By Hugh Hewitt

Tim Weiner's impressive and compelling new history of the CIA, Legacy of Ashes, has stirred up a lot of resentment among intelligence community veterans.

"Tim’s an old friend of mine, but I don’t think the book is a terrific history of the CIA," said Dr. Mark Lowenthal, a former senior official of the CIA, on my show yesterday. He continued:

Basically, they never do anything right [in the book]. And even when something goes right, Tim has a way of denigrating it. There’s also an awful lot of factual errors in the book that I find disturbing. Not major things, but enough to begin to make you wonder. I just don’t find it a terribly reliable take on how the CIA’s done over the years.
(The transcript is here.) Other efforts at push-back are showing up as well, as in this David Ignatius column extolling two Agency forecasts of trouble ahead in Iraq from early 2003.

By contrast, David Wise's Washington Post review concluded that "Weiner's study is based on a prodigious amount of research into thousands of documents that have been declassified or otherwise uncovered, as well as oral histories and interviews," and concludes that it "succeeds as both journalism and history, and it is must reading for anyone interested in the CIA or American intelligence since World War II."

I interview Weiner for two hours today, and after you listen to him, and especially after you read the book, you'll understand why Agency people have the long knives out for Weiner's work.
October 21st, 2007  

One negative about the agency - they are not permitted to talk about their successes, muchless their failures. Its an agency that its members for the most part cannot even share with you ther line of work.

Having said that - my take on this book is that its written by another blow hard who has no clue.

November 18th, 2007  
A Can of Man
We're talking about a public that loves ninjas and hates the CIA. You're supposed to make sense out of that?
November 19th, 2007  
I don't think that a majority of people realizes that the CIA serves this country, not exploit it, or just do things on a political agenda. As far as I am concerned, if the U.S. did not have a intelligence branch, then there would be resentment for the lack of one, it is a lose lose situation because nobody want to do a little research, it is much easier to watch a clip of a CIA mission on PBS, think that they are bad, then to actually write a letter to them, or a read an enclyopedia. Sure some things are classified, but their goals, mission statement and how they serve the U.S. is not. They are not just a bunch of renegades that go out and cause havoc, they are the pivot, you got all the bad people inside the country, and all the bad people outside of the country, and I am happy to know that somewhere out there that men and women are risking everything to keep them at bay.

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