A Spy's Journey: A CIA Memoirby Floyd Paseman
In 1967 Floyd Paseman joined the Central Intelligence Agency following successful service as an army officer in Germany. He was first stationed in the Far East, where he became fluent in Chinese language and culture, and then in Germany, at what was largely considered the agency’s toughest Cold War field posting. Over the years he rose from field spy to… See more details below
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In 1967 Floyd Paseman joined the Central Intelligence Agency following successful service as an army officer in Germany. He was first stationed in the Far East, where he became fluent in Chinese language and culture, and then in Germany, at what was largely considered the agency’s toughest Cold War field posting. Over the years he rose from field spy to division chief and ultimately the top ranks in the Operations Directorate of the CIA.
Paseman details the behind-the-scenes intelligence gathering during the major events of eight presidential administrations from Lyndon B. Johnson through George W. Bush.
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This is a nice memoir that seems to be broken into two sections; first being a candid career story section with the second being more on the historical and analytical side. This work was easy and fun to get into. A sure page turner.
In 'A Spy¿s Journey: A CIA Memoir,' Floyd Paseman, a recently retired senior CIA executive, has provided us with a very useful and highly readable account of his 34 years in ¿The Company,¿ from trainee to senior executive. As he writes of his progressing career as a top spy recruiter for the Directorate of Operations, he guides the reader to other published works about particular eras and controversies over the years 1967 to the present: the astute reader will see that Paseman has written both a primer on espionage craft and a syllabus for an orderly study of the CIA¿s history, with each Central Intelligence Director, from Richard Helms to George Tenet, profiled for their strengths and weaknesses. He also describes the relations between each president and the agency in historical sequence. Importantly, Paseman tells you exactly what¿s right and wrong with the CIA and tells you who is to blame (the Clinton Administration, most recently) and who is to be praised, notably George Tenet for his efforts to revive the craft of intelligence gathering. Was the 9/11 attack an intelligence failure? ¿Of course,¿ he replies and points to our continuing vulnerabilities. If one reads this in conjunction with Michael Scheuer¿s ¿Imperial Hubris: Why the West is Losing the War on Terror,¿ you get a sense for just how complex must be our response to the challenge of Islamist terrorism. And that war is a challenge that cannot be met merely with CIA/military/homeland security operations. Other allies and agencies have to help infiltrate and ¿roll up¿ terrorist cells and networks, while economic and educational initiatives leading towards better career opportunities work to remove ¿fuel from the fire¿ that is angry young Islam. Paseman, recognized in his agency as one of the best recruiters of foreign spies during his years in Taiwan, Japan, Burma, Greece, Thailand, Singapore and Germany; found that one good tool was his ability to form bluegrass bands during his postings. On the home front, he offers tips on how to know what¿s going on inside the shop. His version of ¿the water cooler¿ is to keep one¿s ears open in the company restrooms and to patrol aggressively for coffee around other staff groups: ¿being available.¿ Paseman has a genius for the instructive anecdote and they range well beyond the restroom and coffee pot and the reader will be rewarded richly for perusing Mr. Paseman¿s book.