CIA memoirs offer shocking revelations | world | Hindustan Times
Today in New Delhi, India
May 24, 2017-Wednesday
-°C
New Delhi
  • Humidity
    -
  • Wind
    -

CIA memoirs offer shocking revelations

In between his defense of secret prisons, coercive interrogations of al Qaeda suspects and the shredding of highly sensitive videotapes, former CIA spymaster Jose A Rodriguez Jr makes room in his memoir Hard Measures to talk about the competition: other CIA memoirists.

world Updated: Jun 11, 2012 02:01 IST

In between his defense of secret prisons, coercive interrogations of al Qaeda suspects and the shredding of highly sensitive videotapes, former CIA spymaster Jose A Rodriguez Jr makes room in his memoir Hard Measures to talk about the competition: other CIA memoirists.

These days, there are just so many of them - and so much controversy surrounding them. One measure of the fallout: The CIA is conducting an internal investigation to determine whether some spy memoirs are being censored merely to scrub out embarrassing details about the agency, rather than to protect against the release of classified information.

But the CIA doesn't seem to mind letting former officers praise or slam one another.

In Hard Measures, Rodriguez, 63, a Northern Virginian who retired from the agency five years ago, plugs another hot new CIA memoir, The Art of Intelligence, published in May by former agency officer Henry A Crumpton.

But Rodriguez also settled some spy scores. Without deigning to utter his rivals' names or book titles, Rodriguez pilloried The Interrogator, a 2011 memoir by ex-CIA operative Glenn L Carle, and The Reluctant Spy, written in 2009 by former agency man John Kiriakou.

Rodriguez believes his fellow ex-spies unfairly tainted harsh interrogation tactics - such as waterboarding - that he championed. "[G]reat pretenders," the memoirist labels his opposing memoirists.

The proliferation of CIA memoirs has been fuelled by the public's appetite for insider accounts into the country's war on terrorism - real-life versions of popular shows such as Homeland.

"There's never been more interest in the work of the CIA as there has been in the last decade," said Bill Harlow, the ex-CIA spokesman from 1997 to 2004, who co-wrote Rodriguez's memoir as well as ex-CIA director George Tenet's opus, At the Center of the Storm, in 2007.

Credit and cash In interviews, many of the spies-turned-authors say they are tired of ceding their stories to journalists or government officials. They want to correct what they contend are mistakes in the public domain about the work they orchestrated. Or they want to expose the agency's wrongdoings.

Either way, after living so long undercover, the ex-spies want a little credit, even if it means dabbling in public self-glorification, something seemingly antithetical to the agency's ethos.