Henry Crumpton’s The Art of Intelligence: Lessons from a Life in the CIA’s Clandestine Service chronicles the author’s career with the CIA. Crumpton started in the CIA working in African countries recruiting in country sources and went on to lead the CIA’s work in Afghanistan. Although many specifics are left out, no doubt to protect people and our various missions, Crumpton gives readers a realistic picture of clandestine service how important trust is, how affiliates are recruited, how brave CIA operatives and those they recruit really are.
Crumption’s writing is solid and the book feels like the real deal. I was most interested in his stories of recruiting local people abroad and American business leaders, exchange students and others who would cooperate with the CIA when they traveled overseas. While Crumpton never names names, it did seem like either Steven Jobs or more likely, in my opinion, Bill Gates has collaborated with them. Sometimes college presidents help out by allowing exchange students from programs known to be working on nefarious projects, e.g. biological weapons and their dispersal, to be watched. (Why would the State Department issue them visas to begin with?)
I also got a better sense of how important CIA spouses and families were. Not only do they sacrifice more than most, but the spouses can help out to a certain extent. The Art of Intelligence is an interesting non-fiction read, but if you’re looking for the action and sex appeal of a novel, keep looking.
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- New Details of CIA Sabotage Operations During the Cold War (matthewaid.com)