Nathan's Reviews > Inside CIA's Private World: Declassified Articles from the Agency`s Internal Journal, 1955-1992

Inside CIA's Private World by H. Bradford Westerfield
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's review
Dec 08, 2007

liked it
bookshelves: cia, history, cia-angleton
Recommended for: Spy nerds & people who liked the Woody Allen version of Casino Royale.
Read in December, 2007

Studies in Intelligence is CIA's intelligence journal. "Inside CIA's Private World" is a collection of articles from that journal. Simple enough. I checked this book out, to thumb through some of the declassified articles to try and satiate some of my current Nosenko / Golitsyn fascination and my Jimmy Angleton fetish. It was partially successful, as there are a couple of pertinent articles ("Nosenko: The Five Paths to Judgment"). It gets three stars because, hey, it's great that we live in a society that puts stuff like this out, etc, etc, yada. There are plenty of other fascinating articles with appropriate barely-English, governmentnese titles: "Clandestinity" and "UNCTAD V", and for the metaphysical among us, there's the article "Do You Really Need More Information?" There's also plenty of accidental irony, like the fact that the article "The Reports Officer: Issues of Quality" contains sentences that follow phrases like "our secret access to" or "US understanding of" with the cold black bar of a Redactor's redactor. (The word "declassified" is often used pretty loosely at CIA.) But "Inside CIA's Private World" is is not something anyone would really want to just sit down and read cover to cover. It'd frankly be impossible to do, without either going insane or falling asleep. After finally making it through most of this collection (it is just impossible to justify finishing every article without being on the agency payroll, frankly), I was left with the overwhelming feeling that the CIA needs more comedy writers. The moon isn't this dry. That said, there's some fascinating stuff here, and it is a fascinating peak at one of the more secretive American bureaucracies. A good collection for people deeply into reading about espionage and intelligence, but probably not good for someone looking for a starting point.

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