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Monday, July 23, 2012

The Art of Intelligence:

Henry A. Crumpton was recently featured on 60 Minutes for the release of his book, The Art of Intelligence: Lessons from a Life in the CIA's Clandestine Services, so of course I ran out to pick it up.

Crumpton was a career CIA Clandestine man who worked on counterterrorism, the Afghanistan invasion, and worked hard to ensure integrity in his organization.  In this book he lays out his story as he knows it, including his late-in-life pursuit of a Master's in understanding intelligence.

Overall this book was super fascinating; hearing Crumpton tell his tales feels a little like being an insider sitting over a beer.  My biggest bone with this book was the dialogue--Crumpton does not have a knack for writing dialogue, which comes across as stilted and contrived, and I feel he would have been better off telling these portions as narrative rather than dialogue.  There is not a ton of these conversations though, so it's a bit easy to overlook.  It's his adventures in Africa in the Clandestine Service and his telling of how spying works that is super interesting and addictive to the reader.

My favorite part of his story, though, is Crumpton's clear references to the Bush's administrations motives in invading Iraq.  You need to read it yourself, but I will say that Crumpton makes clear the original lack of link between Hussein and Al Qaeda. 

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