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Beyond Repair: The Decline and Fall of the CIA

Beyond Repair: The Decline and Fall of the CIA

5.0 2
by Charles Faddis

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From the author's Introduction: Let me start by saying what this book is not.It is not an attack on the men and women of the Clandestine Service of the Central Intelligence Agency, the overwhelming majority of whom are dedicated, patriotic Americans working hard everyday on behalf of their fellow citizens. God knows that they do not do it for the money nor do


From the author's Introduction: Let me start by saying what this book is not.It is not an attack on the men and women of the Clandestine Service of the Central Intelligence Agency, the overwhelming majority of whom are dedicated, patriotic Americans working hard everyday on behalf of their fellow citizens. God knows that they do not do it for the money nor do they do it for the recognition. They do it because they believe in the work, and because they know, as I do, that there really are monsters in the world, and someone has to protect us from them.It is also not an argument against the existence of a central human intelligence collection organization within the United States Government. We desperately needed a central intelligence agency in 1947 when the CIA was created. We even more desperately need such an entity today. The threats facing us are multiplying and becoming more complex. The time horizons in which threats are emerging are shortening. Technology is evolving at an astonishing rate, and we really are fast approaching the day when there will be dozens of groups and nations on this planet capable of threatening us with biological, chemical, radiological and nuclear weapons. This is not pulp fiction. This is reality.This book is an argument that the existing Central Intelligence Agency is no longer capable of performing the task for which it was designed and must, rapidly, be replaced.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Faddis describes the agency as rife with incompetence at every level.”—New York Times“Faddis, a career CIA operations officer, pulls no punches in this provocative critique of the iconic and dysfunctional spy agency. . . . In a world where threats are multiplying and becoming more complex, [his] bleak assessment of the CIA should be required reading.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review) “If you want to know what’s wrong with today’s CIA—and how to fix it—this book is the place to start. Sam Faddis . . . describes the timidity of station chiefs terrified of getting blamed for mistakes, the obduracy of ambassadors who don’t want flaps, the ‘we’re all winners here’ training rules better suited for a kindergarten playground than intelligence work, the reluctance to hire and promote people who understand leadership. You read Beyond Repair and you realize: No wonder the CIA is screwed up! Faddis proposes a bold cure: Remake the CIA in the image of the World War II spy service, the OSS—smaller, flatter, tougher, smarter, meaner. If people would read this book and understand its message, it could save lives.”—David Ignatius, Washington Post columnist and author of Body of Lies “Drawing on his unique experience as a CIA operations officer, Charles Faddis makes a compelling case in Beyond Repair that the CIA must return to its Office of Strategic Services (OSS) roots to provide the United States with the intelligence it needs. Faddis has a deep appreciation for the OSS and great admiration for its legendary leader, General William J. Donovan, who frequently told OSS personnel that they could not succeed without taking chances. Faddis has taken such chances himself. General Donovan could have written this book. I know he would have read it and agreed wholeheartedly with its conclusion.”—Charles Pinck, President of The OSS Society
Publishers Weekly
Faddis (Operation Hotel California), a career CIA operations officer, pulls no punches in this provocative critique of the iconic—and dysfunctional—spy agency. Noting that the CIA was created to protect the U.S. from another Pearl Harbor, the author points to 9/11 as proof that the agency can no longer perform that task and is so beyond reform that it must be replaced. In his portrayal of the CIA, “risk-taking, daring and creativity” are discouraged, bureaucratic concerns are given precedence, senior leadership is lacking and morale has been sapped by “crippling purges and witch hunts.” The author concludes that the agency “is dying a death of a thousand cuts” and offers “a blueprint for a new OSS,” modeled on the legendary Office of Strategic Services, FDR's WWII spy agency that spawned the CIA. Keep this new organization, like its wartime predecessor, small, flat and elite, he cautions, and use it sparingly. In a world where threats “are multiplying and becoming more complex,” Faddis's bleak assessment of the CIA should be required reading. (Nov.)
Library Journal
Faddis, an angry retired covert operations officer, has written a slim attack on what he sees as a dysfunctional, chaotic, and dangerously ineffective intelligence agency, especially when compared with its earlier history. He thinks that it has calcified into a paper-processing, risk-avoidance business that does not value the importance of capable individuals and human intelligence. Instead of strengthening the agency, the U.S. government has let more organizations try to play the Great Game of intelligence, which has led to a dispersal of resources, turf wars, less success, and global antagonism. Faddis recommends a smaller, more independent agency with fewer domestic competitors, but readers may doubt that this will ever happen, given our political structure. John Diamond's The CIA and the Culture of Failure: U.S. Intelligence from the End of the Cold War to the Invasion of Iraq covers much of the same ground. VERDICT This book is similarly critical of the White House's handling of strategy and resources as Faddis's previous Operation Hotel California: The Clandestine War Inside Iraq, which he coauthored with Mike Tucker. This new effort is suitable for all interested in current events.—Daniel K. Blewett, Coll. of DuPage Lib., Glen Ellyn, IL

Product Details

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.60(d)

Meet the Author

Charles Faddis served 20 years in the Central Intelligence Agency as an Operations Officer, including Department Chief, Central Intelligence Agency’s Counter-Terrorist Center, Washington, DC, and Chief of Station – Middle East.

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Beyond Repair: The Decline and Fall of the CIA 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
plappen More than 1 year ago
As shown in the title, the author, a CIA veteran, doesn't believe that the Agency needs fixing or "tweaking." He strongly believes that it needs to be torn down and totally rebuilt. During World War II, in the days of the OSS, a person or group was given a mission, which usually involved being dropped behind enemy lines, and was told to make it happen. They treated intelligence work as some sort of holy calling. Today, the CIA is filled with bureaucrats and buck-passers who consider it as merely another federal job. It is thought of as a cardinal sin to make waves, even if it will save American lives. The solution to intelligence failures, like 9/11, seems to be to add layers of bureaucracy and "coordination" instead of reducing it. The US Army's ROTC program trains and continually evaluates potential officers. If a person doesn't measure up to Army standards, they are asked to leave the program. The CIA has no such training program. A person could be a wonderful case officer, but be totally incompetent in a position of leadership. Despite the CIA's rigid bureaucracy, they still know how to put together a covert operation in days, or even hours, when an intelligence opportunity presents itself. Other agencies, like the military and FBI, need months and months of briefings, re-briefings, evaluations and approval from several different people before there can be a final approval. That is why the author strongly feels that the CIA should be the only foreign intelligence agency, and that other agencies should stop their foreign intelligence operations. In a US embassy overseas, the ambassador is the boss. No covert operation happens without his (or her) approval. The ambassador works for the State Department, whose top rule seems to be "Don't upset the host country", even if that covert operation will save lives. Occasionally, there will be visits from Washington bureaucrats, who would not know a covert operation if they tripped over it. They usually have this wonderful intelligence idea, which sounds great in a Langley conference room, but on the ground, is an amazingly stupid idea. Physical training for covert agents used to be very rigorous, because an agent had to be able to deal with almost anything. Over the years, standards have been reduced to almost zero. What was "very rigorous" training is now something like mildly stressful. The CIA is in strong need of people on the ground, so physical standards have been reduced to the point where people from other divisions have been let in to the program. It doesn't matter if they have asthma, diabetes or some other major ailment. If they complete the course (there are no repercussions if they don't), they suddenly think they are qualified to go overseas and work on real covert operations, right next to someone with 20 years experience. This is a very scathing book, but it is much needed. Regardless of your opinions about recent CIA actions, America needs some sort of foreign intelligence agency. This book is an excellent place to start putting together such an agency the right way.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago