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Preview — Good Hunting by Jack Devine
Good Hunting: An American Spymaster's Story
"A sophisticated, deeply informed account of real life in the real CIA that adds immeasurably to the public understanding of the espionage culture—the good and the bad." —Bob WoodwardJack Devine ran Charlie Wilson’s War in Afghanistan. It was the largest covert action of the Cold War, and it was Devine who put the brand-new Stinger missile into the hands of the mujahideen ...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published June 3rd 2014 by Sarah Crichton Books
(first published June 4th 2013)
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Jun 06, 2014 Martin rated it 4 of 5 stars · review of another edition
Jack Devine has written a memoir of service in Washington that is refreshingly free of score settling and politics. The CIA tends to be a Rorschach test in American politics today; however Good Hunting is a reminder that the best government employees are apolitical. Good Hunting is also a very honest book, both of successes of the CIA as well as it's failures. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in American history of the 70's through today.
Devine has some interesting anecdotes and insights into how the CIA does and does not function. His writing style is overly stilted, but the more fatal flaw here is the lack of real depth of analysis or criticism of the CIA. In Devine's world, the CIA is inherently good, and the bad things it has done are the result of a few bad apples or interference from other government agencies. His discussion of some issues sometimes seems disingenuous and shows a tribal loyalty to the CIA - in discussing t ...more
Jack Devine spent the majority of his career in the CIA, mostly in leadership roles. This is his memoir of those experiences. One of my criticisms of this book is that the writing is similar to those first two sentences; very straightforward, crisp and ‘telling’. Memoirs are likely harder to ‘show’, but it makes for a drier, more boring story. Mr. Devine has information and insights about several key CIA actions during the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. He claims responsibility for bringing the Stin ...more
I normally don't read non-fiction, but this was a book club selection. I loved it! Jack Devine, the author, served in the CIA for 32 years and rose through the ranks from station chief to Deputy Director of Operations. His tales of working against the Allende administration in Chile, fighting the Colombian drug cartels, helping Charlie Wilson supply the Afghans in their war against Russia (think of the movie "Charlie Wilson's War", although Jack says the CIA directed the operation, not Charlie)a ...more
Not as good as I was hoping. Devine is an interesting man and this book recounts his over 30 yrs in CIA. He eventually becomes acting deputy director of operations for CIA. He worked for presidents Nixon- Clinton and advised Obama while he was running for President. My favorite line in book is " intelligence is about hunting for information about enemies as well as for ways to neutralize them. This allows our leaders to make informed policy decisions."
It's interesting to see my memories of this period through Jack Devine's experiences during his CIA career. The reader knows this man loved his work. Even when Devine discusses the 'bad' decisions or outcomes, he is respectful of the agency. I appreciated his service and that he explained the basic tenets he used for making decisions. We are fortunate to see behind the scenes.
I enjoyed reading this memoir of Jack Devine's career in the CIA although I felt I was reading top line experiences. I would love to learn more and appreciate that he mentions colleagues who have also written their own account of the same events. Now, I have more books to read.
Mildly interesting, but despite constantly insisting on his neutrality, the guy comes off as a right-wing douche. I mean, there's absolutely no excuse for what happened in Chile, for one thing. This is definitely not a Hopscotch-esque tell-all.
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“this information without sharing it with me? This is all new information to me. I feel sandbagged.” To his relief and slight embarrassment, I pointed out that it was his own information. We had merely given it some analytical horsepower, in the spirit of broadened collaboration. After that, he became more trustful of the CNC, and a number of his senior leaders became major supporters of the center. Beyond this new trust and cooperation among federal agencies, the other new and innovative component of the linear strategy was the way we started dealing with our liaison partners in foreign intelligence agencies. Brian Bramson, a veteran CIA operations officer and Latin America hand, led the way here—and has never been fully recognized for this achievement. Traditionally, we tried to give liaison partners as little support and intelligence as we could get away with to stay in the game. We did not want to develop their skills to the point where they could jeopardize our other unilateral operations if they turned against us. I understood this reluctance, having seen trusted liaison partners become criminal liabilities. Nevertheless, when it came to attacking drug cartels at the CNC in the early 1990s, we made a decision to truly build up liaison capabilities and share with the locals even high-end resources—everything that could be used to damage the narcotic-trafficking networks. Our strategy was to use our liaison partners as a genuine force multiplier. Combining their on-the-ground knowledge, language abilities, and existing networks with our skills, training, and equipment, we went from minimal bilateral liaison to enhanced multilateral liaison. “The kind of information we were looking for had to be gathered in-country by our good liaison contacts that we trusted … liaison relationships were key,” Brian Bramson said.5 Soon we were building powerful and effective”
“polygraphing Motorboat and came up with a flimsy excuse not to do”More quotes…