The story John Stockwell broke on TV--of secret, expressly prohibited CIA paramilitary activity in Angola--is only the cutting edge of his case against the agency he served for twelve hard, futile, ignominious years. The CIA, he contends, is both iniquitous and ineffectual: iniquitous because it foments trouble (as he had done to ""produce intelligence,"" as the U.S. did in Angola to ""challenge the Soviets""), eludes Congressional and public scrutiny, and disgraces the U.S. around the world; ineffectual because of its ""endless"" list of intelligence failures and its basic inability to recruit strategically placed and reliable spies. (""The bulk of all raw intelligence,"" he claims, ""comes from overt sources and from the enormously expensive technical collection systems."") But the book is as much thriller as expose: Stockwell returns, disillusioned, from Vietnam; is offered a career-boosting post as chief of the new, morally and politically dubious Angola Task Force; wavers, Hamlet-like, and then ""rationalizes"" his involvement on the basis that, this time, he'll be on the inside, he'll ""understand."" But what he finds is no more than what he suspects: CIA director Colby elated by a Kissinger smile; high-handed, high-living CIA field brass; one-upmanship at Langley headquarters; and everywhere a ""clubbiness"" that thwarts discipline. In Angola, he decides on an early field trip, massive U.S. arms aid could defeat the Marxist MPLA--but the U.S. is committed to a standoff, ""no-win' policy until, too late in the day, the administration finds its machinations exposed, its Angolan allies routed by Cuban missiles, and Congress adamantly cutting off funds. Stockwell grew up in a Congolese missionary community and served in the Marines: he's a principles fighter with the evidence at his fingertips.
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