❮Read❯ ➹ Legacy of Ashes: the History of the CIA ➼ Author Tim Weiner – Dolove.info

Legacy of Ashes: the History of the CIA For The Last Sixty Years, The CIA Has Managed To Maintain A Formidable Reputation In Spite Of Its Terrible Record, Burying Its Blunders In Top Secret Archives Its Mission Was To Know The World When It Did Not Succeed, It Set Out To Change The World Its Failures Have Handed Us, In The Words Of President Eisenhower, A Legacy Of Ashes Now Pulitzer Prize Winning Author Tim Weiner Offers The First Definitive History Of The CIA And Everything Is On The Record LEGACY OF ASHES Is Based On Than , Documents, Primarily From The Archives Of The CIA Itself, And Hundreds Of Interviews With CIA Veterans, Including Ten Directors Of Central Intelligence It Takes The CIA From Its Creation After World War II, Through Its Battles In The Cold War And The War On Terror, To Its Near Collapse After September Th, Tim Weiner S Past Work On The CIA And American Intelligence Was Hailed As Impressively Reported And Immensely Entertaining In The New York Times The Wall Street Journal Called It Truly Extraordinary The Best Book Ever Written On A Case Of Espionage Here Is The Hidden History Of The CIA Why Eleven Presidents And Three Generations Of CIA Officers Have Been Unable To Understand The World Why Nearly Every CIA Director Has Left The Agency In Worse Shape Than He Found It And How These Failures Have Profoundly Jeopardized Our National Security Legacy of Ashes is founded on three premises.1 The CIA is incompetent The author gathers plenty of ammo to back this one up, to the point of downplaying the agency s successes and highlighting its failures He still makes a compelling argument that the CIA s track record isn t good.2 The CIA s dual functions gathering intelligence and covert operations are fundamentally at odds with each other This is obvious covert operations thrive on secrecy, not openness On apractical level if you try to gather accurate information and disseminate disinformation at the same time you will invariably get the two confused This is the best argument in the book the author should have focused on this one3 An organization like the CIA can not be truly effective in a democracy The author does not say this, but it s what he thinks He might state it differently,like an organization like the CIA has no place in a democracy.Legacy of Ashes contains a lot of information The author did his homework, and then some This book isn t a real history because true historians try not to let their personal biases affect their thinking, which the author does Also after Richard Nixon the book gets sketchy I m assuming this is because a lot of the information has not yet been declassified the author gets most of his information from primary documents from the CIA s archives.Still a good read. This is a superbly reseached work and tells the shadowy tale of American foreign policy from the late 40 s to the present day But it is really a 700 page indictment of how bad a government agency can be The one thing the CIA did well was give money away, BILLIONS of dollars spent with a slim margin of return at best, and at worse it became clear that the CIA had literally been conned out of hundreds of millions by other states and even individuals But any work of journalism, to be regarded as great, must be objective and here is the problem with this book it is such a pervasivley negative account, it reports that the CIA is so off the charts bad, that a reader wonders if Weiner is just slamming them page after page Surely in over 60 years of service the CIA has done something right To his credit, he documents a rebuttal by a CIA director that says essentially that their greatest successes were secret while only their many failures were known publically This could be true, but Weiner has created a work that dramatically documents an ascerbic, scathing history of the CIA, describing them as air conditioned, comfortable bureacrats in the suburbs of Virginia and Maryland, far from the image of worldly and competent super spy that the agency wishes to be portayed The agents and analysists may see themselves as James Bond, but Weiner describes themlike the John Malkovitch character from the Coen Brothers film Burn After Reading inept, arrogant, ineffective, detached from reality and drunk Presidents have privately called the agents of the CIA clowns, jerks, idiots, drunks, thieves, and liars.Allen Dulles, one the earlies and most influential directors, used to heft a report to determine how heavy it was, rather than actually reading it He even did this in front of the author of the report, and may have blithley given it back with an instruction that it needed , as if it were too light Later in his career he may watch a Washington Senators baseball game, ignoring the agent who was trying to brief him on some issue.Early on the CIA used the communists against the fascists, and later sided with fascists against the communists The CIA s battle with communism was its early raison d etre and the fall of the Soviet Union caused many lifelong agents to mourn the passing of its foe as a sign that their time too had come.The CIA had stumbled across early terrorsist plots by the PLO and had indications that sub state level terror may be the wave of the future but did little to prevent the rise of the terrorists, largely due to the fact that thier credibility at the White House, the Pentagon and the State Department had diminshed to the point where the CIA had become an almost ran in terms of US foreign policy.Some of the notoriously bad predictions of the CIA The Soviet Union will not invade AfghanistanThe Shah of Iran is safe from revolutionThere is no liklihood of Soviet missles in CubaChina will not invade Korea.We are absolutely winning the war in Vietnam.Don t worry about an embassy attack in Iran.Iraq will not invade Kuwait A senior CIA official learned of the invasion from his neighbor who had seen it on CNN And worst of all, a case of the boy who cries wolf in 2001, as CIA officials actually had some idea of plots in existence, but the seriousness of the reports were corrupted by decades of poor intelligence and the weakened esteem at the White House and so the reports went relatively unheeded by the Clinton and Bush administrations.With the attacks of 9 11 in 2001, the CIA s worst nightmare had been realized as the CIA had failed to prevent a second Pearl Harbor Later on, the politics and ineffectiveness of the the agency contributed to the poor intelligence that led to the US invasion of Iraq as the CIA produced reports based upon faulty intelligence gathering, hearsay, and was essentially aimed at delivering news that Bush wanted to hear rather than telling the truth that they just did not know for sure what Iraq had in terms of WMD Scary book if it s as accurate as it appears. I enjoyed Legacy of Ashes a little less than Enemies by the same author Not that it is not fascinating and horrifying, just that perhaps it painted such an abysmal picture of the agency probably deserved, I know but did not really point to things they do right or should do better The Central Intelligence Group the predecessor to the CIA was created in the wake of the end of WWII by President Harry Truman in order to focus the FBI on internal surveillance and investigation and have an intelligence gathering organization focused on outside sources The first director of national intelligence was wealthy Rear Admiral Sidney W Souers who also happened to make his fortune with the first self service supermarket chain the US Piggly Wiggly and FUN FACT I worked for a Piggly Wiggly when I was 13 15 and have fond memories of slicing the meat of my thumb open when cutting some OJ cartons and tipping over a 6 tier wine rack with the floor wax machine But Souers quickly found that there was no mandate and was not long in this position for this organization which itself had a very short shelf life The CIA was created in the wake of the dissolution of the CIG and continued with a poorly defined mission and with directors that wereobsessed with black ops reversal of regimes hostile to the US and cloak and dagger stuff than the actual intelligence they gathered Due to this, it took decades to have reliable information from the Soviet Union and yet the CIA prided itself in overturning regimes in Iraq and Guatemala the true facts of these operations were farsordid as documented by Tim Weiner I was appalled at many of the details, not the least of which was the use of Jew baiting as propaganda to try and raise a crowd to support the US backed coups Particularly enlightening was the description in chapter 14 of the attempted coup in Syria in 57 which has such painful and dramatic resonance now, 60 years later Of course, the Korean War also a CIA screwup by underestimating the Chinese strength amassed at the NK China border and the Vietnam War replete with senseless murders of civilians in Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam including torture and napalm bombings Someone, despite all these catastrophes, the CIA was able to paint a nice picture to VP Nixon and later President Johnson From Weiner s notes, we can see that there is a great deal of evidence behind the theories that the Cubans with some aid from the KGB had the best reason for Kennedy s assassination in retaliation for the Bay of Pigs disaster and that the Cuban Missile crisis was not the story of Kennedy bravely staring down the nuclear barrel but rather Kruschev offering an exchange of US removal of arms in Turkey for USSR removal of arms in Cuba A majority of the document sources Weiner is using are declassified dossiers from 2002 2004, so the research is relatively recent and contains many facts previously hidden to the public In fact, there had been multiple illegal attempts on Castro s life by the CIA of which Bobby Kennedy as Attorney General was well aware, and it is highly likely that the use of deranged USSR citizen wannabe Oswald was acting on the orders of the Cubans with aid from the USSR Moving on towards the late 60s early 70s, the catastrophe in Indonesia was also largely the CIA s fault costing literally hundreds of thousands of lives The issue is that the massive amounts of dark money that could be coerced out of Congress to fund these operations regardless of their income were so appetizing to the folks running the CIA and they had no qualms about lying about their intentions spies being good at lying, right This lead to incredible abuses of power and the law and a shocking number of lost lives both enemy and friendly, both military CIA and civilian I am unable to continue detailing each of the many disasters that the CIA ham handed, but I will mention the two that were most influential on my personal opinion of the CIA the false information on weapons of mass destruction that Saddam Hussain who the CIA put into power and armed that the CIA gave knowingly to Colin Powell who then knowingly lied about it in front of the UN justifying a useless invasion of Iraq under Dubya, and then the supreme crime of the CIA their complete lack of any warning whatsoever in the 9 11 bombings in NYC Due to these failures, there was a bit of a come to Jesus moment back in 2005 2006 at which time the CIA was nearly disbanded Unfortunately, the book was written in 2007, so I do not have any information on what happened in the 10 years lapse I suppose it does not look like Carrie, Saul and Quinn going after the bad guys, but something far different.Highly readable and well researched, Legacy of Ashes is an important book right now was some fundamentals of democracy are being called to attention and in some cases destroyed by Drumpf s government The question of collective national security vs individual freedom is one in which the latter has most often lost the battle and seems to be losing again in terms of Drumpf Internet Policy I think that this book makes the argument that hiding things from citizens nearly always leads to catastrophe and that when the government steamrolls individual rights, it almost always comes back to haunt them one way or another. Attention crazy people If you are one of those poor souls who thinks that the Central Intelligence Agency is reading your thoughts and or manipulating your brain waves I have good news for you You can take off your aluminum foil hat and stop trying to pull out that tooth with the tracking device Here it is The CIA is too incompetent to do any of the things you are worried about Seriously After reading Legacy of Ashes, I m amazed that we weren t taken down by the Soviets during the Cold War or that China hasn t invaded and turned the US into a giant sweatshop that sews cheap clothing for its citizens or that some terrorists haven t reduced the country to pile of radioactive rubble Kind of odd timing to read a book that bashes the CIA this much shortly after Osama got his much deserved bullet to the brain, but this book outlined how the CIA muffed multiple opportunities to kill him before 9 11 during the Clinton and W Bush years After repeated stories of just how incredibly bad the CIA is at actually collecting human intelligence it s really not that surprising that bin Ladin had been living in a posh neighborhood for years while American forces searched caves in Afghanistan If you read something like a Tom Clancy novel, you ll get the idea that the CIA is really good at its job and that the occasional snafu like the Bay of Pigs or claiming that Iraq had WMD are just aberrations Per Tim Weiner, the real story is that the for the CIA the Bay of Pigs and Iraq WMDs are the typical performance levels, we just only hear about the really big screw ups After World War II and with the Cold War ramping up, America needed an intelligence service, but all Harry Truman really wanted was an agency to boil down all the information that the military and state department collected and summarize it for him daily However, when a bunch of former OSS guys were put in charge, their brilliant idea of an intelligence service was parachuting half trained dissidents behind the Iron Curtain to lead resistance groups and perform sabotage missions Unfortunately, the people were so poorly prepared and the Soviets had already so thoroughly penetrated the Agency that they were almost all captured and or killed Oh, and they completely missed the Soviets developing their own atomic bomb thanks to stolen intelligence.From the Korean War through Vietnam to missing the economic decay of the Soviet Union that caused it s ultimate collapse, the CIA was so consistently bad at their supposed main job of gathering intelligence that it boggles the mind Weathermen are jealous at how these guys were able to be so repeatedly and completely wrong yet somehow none of them lost their jobs over it.The only thing that CIA seems to have been really good at was backing the most evil fucks around as long as they claimed to be anti communist If there was a strong arm dictator or leader of a military coup waiting to take over from a government with the slightest bit of left leanings the CIA was there with bags of cash and support for assholes to take over countries like Iran and Guatemala, and the result has been countless deaths of innocent people and the trashing of goodwill towards America in many parts of the world To be fair, there s a few parts of the book where it seems that Weiner doesn t give them credit for the few things they did right Accurately predicating the outbreak of violence in Rwanda or running a successful operation to help convince Libya to ditch it s WMD programs are barely mentioned And despite documenting how the CIA has bowed to political pressure and repeatedly told several presidents exactly what they wanted to hear the Iraqi WMD claims are portrayed almost exclusively as an intelligence failure with little mention of poltical pressure from the Bush administration which is hard to believe Overall, Weiner used recently declassified internal CIA reports and histories to document a long history of spectacular failure The book explores how a combination of politics and a bureaucratic nightmare has left America deaf and blind at the times it could least afford to be so even as the myth of an all knowing intelligence agency has been perpetuated Billions upon billions of dollars have been spent trying to keep tabs on America s enemies Frankly, we all would have been better off if the US would have used that cash to buy everyone in the world some cake and ice cream every now and then At least maybe so many people wouldn t hate us because how could you be mad at someone who gives you free cake and ice cream

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