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Company Man: Thirty Years of Controversy and Crisis in the CIAby John Rizzo
Synopses & Reviews
In 1975, fresh out of law school and working a numbing job at the Treasury Department, John Rizzo took “a total shot in the dark” and sent his résumé to the Central Intelligence Agency. He had no notion that more than thirty years later, after serving under eleven CIA directors and seven presidents, he would become a notorious public figure — a symbol and a victim of the toxic winds swirling in post-9/11 Washington. From serving as the point person answering for the Iran-contra scandal to approving the rules that govern waterboarding and other “enhanced interrogation techniques,” John Rizzo witnessed and participated in virtually all of the significant operations of the CIA's modern history.
In Company Man, Rizzo charts the CIA's evolution from shadowy entity to an organization exposed to new laws, rules, and a seemingly neverending string of public controversies. Rizzo offers a direct window into the CIA in the years after the 9/11 attacks, when he served as the agency's top lawyer, with oversight of actions that remain the subject of intense debate today. In Company Man, Rizzo is the first CIA official to ever describe what "black sites" look like from the inside and he provides the most comprehensive account ever written of the "torture tape" fiasco surrounding the interrogation of Al Qaeda suspect Abu Zubaydah and the birth, growth, and death of the enhanced interrogation program.
Spanning more than three decades, Company Man is the most authoritative insider account of the CIA ever written — a groundbreaking, timely, and remarkably candid history of American intelligence.
"A long career as lawyer at the CIA warrants Rizzo's lively memoir of life and work inside the nation's intelligence headquarters. Starting as a junior officer on Soviet espionage matters, Rizzo became privy to most of the agency's major post-1975 cases and often found himself in the presence of its most senior officers until early in the 21st-century. Major figures — many of whom are legendary in intelligence circles — fill the book's pages: like James Jesus Angleton, William Casey, John Deutsch, George Tenet, Robert Gates, and Porter Goss. Rizzo's close-up accounts of Iran-Contra, the hunt for Osama bin Laden, post-9/11 events, and 'enhanced interrogation' add texture to what's already known about these events and issues. The problem is that Rizzo, who failed to gain congressional confirmation as the CIA's general counsel, scarcely meets a CIA figure he doesn't respect and defend, scarcely a member of Congress or agency outsider whom he doesn't knock about. Nor does he add to his credibility by recording word-for-word conversations three or four decades old. Nevertheless, the book is likely to draw attention for its immediacy and its insider knowledge of the policies and workings of the nation's major clandestine service, not to mention the fact that Rizzo, as the CIA's acting general counsel during the War on Terror, was involved in the Agency's defense of torture tactics and the use of drones." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
John Rizzo had a thirty-four-year career as a lawyer at CIA, culminating with seven years as the Agency's chief legal officer. In the post-9/11 era, he helped create and implement the full spectrum of aggressive counterterrorist operations against Al Qaeda, including the so-called "enhanced interrogation program" and lethal strikes against the Al Qaeda leadership. Since retiring from the CIA, he has served as senior counsel at a Washington, D.C., law firm and is a visiting scholar at the Hoover Institution. He is a graduate of Brown University and George Washington University Law School.
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