A legendary CIA spy and counterterrorism expert tells the spellbinding story of his high-risk, action-packed career while illustrating the growing importance of America's intelligence officers and their secret missions.
For a crucial period, Henry Crumpton led the CIA's global covert operations against America's terrorist enemies, including al Qaeda. In the days after 9/11, the CIA tasked Crumpton to organize and lead the Afghanistan campaign. With Crumpton's strategic initiative and bold leadership, from the battlefield to the Oval Office, U.S. and Afghan allies routed al Qaeda and the Taliban in less than 90 days after the Twin Towers fell. At the height of combat against the Taliban in late 2001, there were fewer than 500 Americans on the ground in Afghanistan, a dynamic blend of CIA and Special Forces. The campaign changed the way America wages war. This book will change the way America views the CIA.
The Art of Intelligence draws from the full arc of Crumpton's espionage and covert action exploits to explain what America's spies do and why their service is more valuable than ever. From his early years in Africa, where he recruited and ran sources, from loathsome criminals to heroic warriors; to his liaison assignment at the FBI, the CIA's Counterterrorism Center, the development of the UAV Predator program, and the Afghanistan war; to his later work running all CIA clandestine operations inside the United States, he employs enthralling storytelling to teach important lessons about national security, but also about duty, honor, and love of country.
No book like The Art of Intelligence has ever been written - not with Crumpton's unique perspective, in a time when America faced such grave and uncertain risk. It is an epic, sure to be a classic in the annals of espionage and war.
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the attitude is one of false innocence, of surprise at worldly things
the first chapters
I have only started listening, so this review may be unfair. However, the book is very slow and wordy. It makes me wonder if it was ghostwritten. It is flat and devoid of texture. And I have to say that the author's characterization of the Valerie Plame outing is tendentious and political. He ascribes her unveiling as a CIA agent as due to people on George W Bush's staff. This is only true if you take the view that everybody in the Executive Branch is "on Bush's staff." It is well-known that Plame's unveiling was due to a comment by Richard Armitage at the State Department and that the CIA did not wave off the columnist when it was queried by him. The characterization of the unveiling as coming from Bush's staff and Libby's conviction for perjury as a confirmation of this is simply political cant. And this interpretation is coming from an INTELLIGENCE officer who presumably deals in nuance. It destroyed the believability of the book for me.
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- Anne "Avid general reader with a fondness for British and Irish Writers and world history."