My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I became aware of Henry Crumpton in a 60 Minutes Interview a day before his book “The Art of Intelligence” was released. Marketing worked because I was intrigued by Crumpton’s thoughts in the interview and pre-ordered the e-book online later that night. I was not disappointed.
Hank Crumpton from the very start creates a very detailed very compelling story about life inside the CIA. He manages to do this in very general terms without talking about specific people or places, but still keeping an astounding level of information about his clandestine career and how assets are acquired and used to gather intelligence for the United States.
After the events of 9/11 Crumpton enters the spotlight of history as teams he is personally responsible for take the lead in the U.S. operations to overthrow the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Afganistan. Those segments were fascinating. The exciting story of the development and use of the Predator drones and the CIA’s leading of foreign units on the ground in Afghanistan was better than any fictional espionage novel I’ve ever read.
The books final chapters, dealing with Crumpton’s move into domestic operations and finally into government policy with the Bush State Department reveal a surprisingly pragmatic opinion of the balance between civil liberties and the need for intelligence by a man who spent his whole career on the intelligence side of that equation.
The “Art of Intelligence” was a very enjoyable and informative read and I’m very happy that I tuned into 60 Minutes that night to hear about it.