U - Z

Waters, T. J. Class 11: Inside the CIA’s First Post-9/11 Spy Class. New York: Dutton, 2006.

Clark comment: The author provides an interesting and fun read. I recommend it for anyone who would like to know how CIA case officers are initiated into their calling. It also makes plain the stresses that are placed -- even in the beginning phase of one's work life -- on the personal lives of those who choose the clandestine path. However, Waters' constant harping on the uniqueness of Class 11 becomes a bit annoying, if only because most classes (perhaps, every class) to go through the various versions of CIA training tended to regard themselves as unique. In addition, my class in the old JOT program of the mid-1960s certainly was not made up of a bunch of male-only, twentysomethings with no real-world experience (however true that may have been for me). That said, however, I laughed out loud at some of the events portrayed as they brought to mind similar (or even more outrageous) situations from a now-distant past. It seems to me that old Agency hands cannot avoid enjoying this book, even though they may not have experienced every element described. If the general public learns something from it, that is extra gravy.

LJ, AFIO WIN 15-06 (10 Apr. 2006), comments that the author recounts his days as a student learning the espionage trade and provides fascinating details about how contemporary spies are trained." Nolan, IJI&C 22.1 (Spring 2009), finds that the author's "description of the training he and his classmates underwent gives a tremendously detailed look at what is expected of the new recruits." However, there is no "serious analysis of the CIA's ills or those of the Intelligence Community overall."

For Lehman, Washingon Post, 26 Nov. 2006, this is a "very readable account of the first wave" of the rebuilding of the CIA's clandestine service. The author "offers a rare glimpse into what it is like to join this cadre and how its tradecraft is taught.... Waters has done an excellent job recounting his experiences." Johnson, I&NS 24.2 (Apr. 2009), says that "[s]ome of the more enjoyable aspects of the book are Waters' descriptions of various instructors and former case officers who attempt to teach these new recruits the tricks of the trade." This is a "highly readable and engaging book."

Weldon, Curt [R-PA]. Countdown to Terror: The Top Secret Information that Could Prevent the Next Terrorist Attack on America and How the CIA Has Ignored It. Washington, DC: Regnery, 2005.

According to Mazzafro, NIPQ 21.3 (Sep. 2005), Representative Weldon's thesis "is that an Iranian source named Ali has valuable intelligence that the IC is ignoring at the peril of U.S. national security.... Unfortunately, Countdown to Terror tells us more about Congressman Weldon's inability to distinguish worthwhile intelligence from chaff than it does about alerting [American] citizens ... to threats the IC is ignoring."

Winn, Parameters 36.2 (Summer 2006), finds that Weldon, "[t]heorizing on why the intelligence community stubbornly refuses to work with his source, Ali,... postulates several theories: incompetence, obsolete approach, institutional memory, and fear.... The author's comments are well worth reading, although the reader will most likely agree with some and disagree with others."

Wettering, Frederick L. "(C)overt Action: The Disappearing 'C.'" International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 16, no. 4 (Winter 2003-2004): 561-572.

The CIA's covert action capability "has almost completely disappeared.... Among the developments which have led to th[is] breakdown ... are public exposure, embarrassment, and legal and political curtailment; transfer of CA functions to overt organizations; and bureaucratic politics, within both the CIA and the rest of the U.S. government."

Wright, Robin. "In From the Cold and Able to Take the Heat." Washington Post, 12 Sep. 2005, A17. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

"[A]fter almost a quarter-century as a spy or station chief on at least four continents, [Henry 'Hank'] Crumpton has emerged from undercover to take the job as State Department Coordinator for Counterterrorism -- with the very public rank of ambassador."

Crumpton "is the mysterious 'Henry' in the Sept. 11 commission report, which notes he persistently pressed the CIA to do more in Afghanistan before Osama bin Laden's terrorist spectaculars.... Tapped to head the CIA's Afghan campaign after the attacks, Crumpton is 'Hank' in Gary C. Schroen's 'First In: An Insider's Account of How the CIA Spearheaded the War on Terror in Afghanistan' and Bob Woodward's 'Bush at War.' Both books recount how Crumpton crafted a strategy partnering elite intelligence and military officers in teams that worked with the Afghan opposition.... The novel and initially controversial approach worked at limited cost in human life and materiel -- and avoided the kind of protracted U.S. ground war that the Soviet Union lost."

Wright, Robin. "State Dept. Losing a Top Figure in Terror War." Washington Post, 19 Dec. 2006, A5. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

According to a senior official on 18 December 2006, State Department counterterrorism chief Henry A. "Hank" Crumpton will leave the government in the new year. Crumpton, a career CIA covert officer, took over the State Department job in August 2005.

Zegart, Amy. "American Intelligence -- Still Stupid." Los Angeles Times, 17 Sep. 2006. [http://www.latimes.com]

Five years after the 9/11 attacks, "all our worst intelligence deficiencies remain. Intelligence is spread across 16 agencies that operate as warring tribes more than a team. The CIA is in disarray. And the FBI's information technology is stuck in the dark ages. There are more intelligence agencies to coordinate than ever but still no one in firm charge of them all. In 2004, Congress established the post of director of national intelligence. Rather than integrating intelligence, however, the job's creation has triggered huge turf wars. For the last two years, while the office of the intelligence director has been fighting over who briefs the president and who staffs assignments, the Pentagon has quietly expanded its intelligence activities at home and abroad."

In a slick, sarcastic, and accurate turn of phrase that will probably be picked up and used again (perhaps by me), Zegart refers to the CIA as "the agency formerly known as Central."

Zegart, Amy B. "'CNN with Secrets': 9/11, the CIA, and the Organizational Roots of Failure." International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 20, no. 1 (Spring 2007): 18-49.

The author finds the roots of intelligence failure in three organizational deficiencies (attributed primarily to the CIA but extending to the Intelligence Community as well): "(1) structural weaknesses dating back decades that prevented the Intelligence Community (IC) from working as a coherent whole; (2) perverse promotion incentives that rewarded intelligence officials for all the wrong things; and (3) cultural pathologies that led intelligence agencies to resist new technologies, ideas, and tasks."

Zegart, Amy B. Spying Blind: The CIA, the FBI, and the Origins of 9/11. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2007.

Pillar, FA 87.2 (Mar.-Apr. 2008), finds that the author "strains to fit the record of the CIA's and the FBI's handling of terrorism" into her thesis that "traits inherent to any large organization, especially a government agency, prevent it from adapting well to new challenges and a new mission." In the process, "her straining leads to factual errors," many of which "stem from her extremely heavy reliance on postmortem inquiries, especially the 9/11 Commission report. In fact, much of Spying Blind is little more than a repackaging of that report." Zegart and Pillar exchanges barbs about Pillar's review in "Letters to the Editor," FA 87.3 (May-Jun. 2008): 164-165.

For Peake, Studies 52.1 (Mar. 2008) and Intelligencer 16.1 (Spring 2008), this work "is a thought-provoking, detailed analysis of current problems that takes historical precedent and the judgments of many distinguished thinkers into account." However, "she does not offer convincing evidence" to prove her assertions that "organizational weakness" or "organizational factors" account for the CIA's and FBI's failures to prevent the 9/11 attacks.

Wirtz. IJI&C 21.3 (Fall 2008), sees this as a "well-crafted analysis" and "an important and beautifully executed book. Nevertheless, portions of [Zegart's] argument are more compelling than others." To Hulnick, I&NS 24.5 (Oct. 2009), the author's "thesis is marred by her lack of understanding of the realities of the intelligence world, and how change takes place in government.... [T]he system works a bit better than she believes, but her analysis is worth contemplating."

To Hastedt, Perspectives on Politics 7.4 (Dec. 2009), "[w]ith her emphasis on the enduring impact of organization and the role of organizational deficiencies in contributing to intelligence failures, Zegart has made an important contribution to the literature on intelligence." Nevertheless, "[r]eferencing the volume and nature of recommndations made by intelligence commissions as evidence of the well-established need for organizational reform is somewhat problematic."

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