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The Human Factor

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Inside the CIA’s Dysfunctional Intelligence Culture

by Ishmael Jones

This book is a basic biography of an undercover, human intelligence operative who used the cover name Ishmael Jones.  It focuses on the way the Central Intelligence Agency handles overseas, human intelligence and generally operates as the usual government-based, inept bureaucracy.  It’s either the total truth (somewhat likely) or a disinformation front to make the Agency seem basically harmless (also likely).  Which it is would be up to the reader. I personally think it’s a mix of both.

The book is very engaging with a lot of detail (again, in general terms, no secrets are divulged or names given) on how foreign intelligence operations and human resource gathering works.  Or at least how it should work, were the bureaucrats in the CIA not so keen on making life miserable for everyone on the street.

Ishmael, as an operative, generally self-financed his operations since the Agency was routinely a year or more behind on payroll and reimbursements.  His account is pretty damning for the company.  He financed everything through his “daylight job” as a software systems salesman.

The book is a great read and well worth the effort.  Whether you believe it to be propaganda or not, it’s definitely an eye-opener and an excellent inside look at how any bureaucracy squashes innovation and initiative in its employees.  Whether that bureaucracy is the Post Office or the CIA.

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