REFORMING CLANDESTINE OPERATIONS
A PDF by Reuel Marc Gerecht
entitled " A New Clandestine Service: The Case For Creative Destruction
". (Hat tip to Shloky
I have just rapidly skimmed this but it looks very interesting. A critical review of the Cold War to Terror War performance of the CIA. Not pretty.
I caught a few breezy generalizations by Gerecht - Oleg Penkovskii, for example made a significant difference with the nuclear weaponry intelligence he provided in our not having had a nuclear war over Cuba with the Soviet Union. Without Penkovskii's insight into the paper tiger state of the Soviet nuclear arsenal, the temptation for JFK 's administration to strike first and hard would have been much stronger. That operation alone probably justified the CIA's whole existence, warts and all.
Secondly, I have heard exceptionally bitter criticism from a senior CIA field veteran over the CIA DO being shackled in Iran by successive administrations of both parties, at the request of the Shah. So blindness in Teheran in 1979 cannot be laid entirely at the CIA's door. The Carter administration, which was still dominated intellectually at the time on key foreign policy questions by Cyrus Vance, only wished to hear what it wanted to hear about Iran and disregarded everything else ( Iran and Afghanistan proved to be the eclipse of Vance's influence with President Carter - and hardly a moment too soon. The man was a fountainhead of bad advice). Clearly they understood Ayatollah Khomeini not at all and prohibited the CIA from finding out much of anything.
Going to give it a closer look over lunch.