Appearance versus reality at the CIA

Have just finished reading Tim Weiner’s Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA. It’s a big read, 702 pages including notes and index, but fascinating. I first wrote about the book in a post on March 1, so it’s taken me a month to read the book. Weiner covers national security for The New York Times and this is his third book. He won a Pulitzer for an earlier book, Betrayal. Legacy of Ashes details a litany of disasters at an organisation meant to provide the US government with accurate information. What amazes and fascinates me is the chasm between the bumbling reality of the CIA versus Hollywood’s portrayal of the agency as all-conquering hero. The CIA must have an excellent PR representative in Hollywood.

Categories: Not home, Uncategorized

1 reply »

  1. In America, the portrayal of CIA generally takes one of two extreme forms: either the Agency is populated by Evil Geniuses (the typical Hollywood take) or CIA folks are and have always been Incompetent Dolts (the Legacy of Ashes interpretation).

    Obviously neither can be wholly true, and in fact the truth is that CIA officers are fallible humans trying to do very hard tasks, often succeeding and often failing.

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