Billed as "The true story of a ground soldier in the CIA's war on terrorism", Robert Baer's very interesting book sheds a great deal of light on the CIA's "culture of failure" : a culture,according to Baer,that led directly to the 9/11 disaster.
The CIA,according to Baer,not only abdicated its intelligence-gathering responsibility,it reduced itself -notably during the Clinton administration-to a highly politicized fund-raising
group: dedicated to sweeping unpleasant truths under the rug,and punishing anyone unwilling to "get with the program".
Sandy Berger (who later pled guilty to theft of documents from the National Archives) is mentioned,as is Ted Kennedy's wife, and the former VP Al Gore-all in connection with shady oil deals in the Middle East;but encouraging the CIA to drop the ball was not just a "Democrat" thing:a whole string of Presidents and administrations contributed.
The CIA is presently being "reformed" under the leadership of Porter Goss,who,to date,seems intent on making cosmetic changes and preserving as much of the status quo as possible.
(Even so,an alarmed hierarchy has been bleating its discomfiture to the media:claiming he is destroying the "integrity" of the Agency !)
Baer estimates it will take almost a generation to "repair" the CIA: time we no longer have.Much as I shudder to say so, it looks as if his estimates are pretty much "on the money".