Burn Before Reading: Presidents, CIA Directors, and Secret Intelligence

Stansfield Turner, Author
Stansfield Turner, Author . Hyperion $23.95 (308p) ISBN 978-0-7868-6782-0
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President George H.W. Bush may have called it "the best job in Washington," but many of those who have held the position of director of central intelligence (DCI) may beg to differ. Retired Admiral Stansfield Turner, for one, did not want to take the post, which meant giving up his long naval career. Nevertheless, Turner took Jimmy Carter's offer and went on to become one of just two DCIs who lasted the entire term of the presidents who appointed them. In this volume, Turner, with the research and writing help of Allen Mikaelian, presents a straightforward look at the relationships between DCIs and the presidents they served. It is often not an inspiring picture. Turner shows that very few presidents worked well with their CIA directors and that the relationships were often severely strained over matters of politics, personality and loyalty. Things reached a nadir under President Nixon, who "came to the job already despising the CIA." Most interesting to general readers, however, is Turner's claim that this rocky history led directly to the agency's two biggest intelligence failures: not preventing the 9/11 attacks and not providing the correct information about Iraq's nonexistent weapons of mass destruction. (Oct. 1)

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