Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
Posted at 1:00 PM ET, 04/ 9/2010

CIA operative's memoir is a spy mystery

By Jeff Stein

The paperback edition of “The Human Factor: Inside the CIA’s Dysfunctional Culture,” by the pseudonymous former “deep cover CIA officer” Ishmael Jones, arrived in my mailbox this week. A red medallion on the back cover fairly screams, “Unauthorized By The CIA.”

Indeed: Jones ignored the massive cuts demanded by the agency’s Publications Review Board in 2008, he says, and found somebody publish his manuscript in toto in 2008.

“I’m ready to take whatever they have to do,” Jones told me back then.

They didn’t do anything, evidently. Which seems odd, since the Supreme Court decades ago affirmed the agency’s right to punish ex-employees who spy and tell, in the case of former CIA Vietnam operative Frank Snepp.

When Snepp bypassed agency censors in 1978 with his memoir, “Decent Interval: An Insider’s Account of Saigon’s Indecent End, Told by the CIA’s Chief Strategy Analyst in Vietnam,” the spy agency was on him like white on rice.

It didn’t matter that Snepp kept classified information out of his book: He had violated the agency’s prohibition on publishing without permission.

“He’s inviting big trouble,” Snepp said of Jones in 2008. “Theoretically, if the CIA argues he exposed state secrets . . . they could go after him on a criminal basis.”

Jones has never answered my queries about any legal actions, if any, the agency has taken toward him.

Today, the CIA commented for the first time.

“Separate and apart from any specific book or author, we take seriously the pre-publication review process," said CIA spokesman George Little.  "That process is designed to protect classified information.”

So is the agency taking Jones to court?

He's not saying.

It’s a spy mystery.

By Jeff Stein  | April 9, 2010; 1:00 PM ET
Categories:  Intelligence  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: CIA security investigator -- solitary, unglamorous work
Next: Who will screen the interrogators?

Comments

Then maybe it is an authorized unauthorized book by default...

Posted by: Wildthing1 | April 13, 2010 6:42 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company