Synopses & Reviews
A CIA director offers a riveting glimpse into the complicated relationship between the United States presidents and their CIA chiefsThe way the U.S. government gathers intelligence information has become front-page news. In Burn Before Reading, former CIA director Admiral Stansfield Turner highlights pivotal moments between presidents and their CIA directors-detailing the decisions that continue to shape the intelligence community and our world. This behind-the-scenes look at the CIA+s relationship with the presidents, from World War II to the present day, reveals how intelligence gathering works, and how personal and political issues often interfere with government business.In Burn Before Reading, we learn:l-Why President Harry Truman distrusted the CIA yet ended up expanding it.l-How President John F. Kennedy entrusted his reputation to the CIA at the Bay of Pigs in Cuba and got burned.l-That President Nixon strongly mistrusted the -Ivy League+ CIA and tried, unsuccessfully, to use it as a way out of Watergate.l-That President Gerald Ford was confronted with three reports of egregious and illegal CIA misdeeds, and how he responded by replacing CIA director Colby with George H. W. Bush.Drawing on his own personal experience, as well as interviews with living presidents, Turner takes us into the White House and shares with us an intimate view of the inner working of our government+s intelligence agency. There has never been a time when the relationship between the president and the head of the CIA has been so scrutinized or so relevant to our government policy. This book concludes with a blueprint for reorganizing the intelligence community and strengthening the relationship between the CIA and the president.
"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." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
A CIA director offers a riveting glimpse into the complicated relationship between the United States presidents and their CIA chiefs.
In this "thoughtful, entertaining, and often insightful" book, a former CIA director explores the delicate give-and-take between the Oval Office and Langley.
With the disastrous intelligence failures of the last few years still fresh in Americans minds--and to all appearances still continuing--there has never been a more urgent need for a book like this.
In Burn Before Reading, Admiral Stansfield Turner, the CIA director under President Jimmy Carter, takes the reader inside the Beltway to examine the complicated, often strained relationships between presidents and their CIA chiefs. From FDR and "Wild Bill" Donovan to George W. Bush and George Tenet, twelve pairings are studied in these pages, and the results are eye-opening and provocative. Throughout, Turner offers a fascinating look into the machinery of intelligence gathering, revealing how personal and political issues often interfere with government business--and the nation's safety.
About the Author
Admiral Stansfield Turner served as director of central intelligence from 1977 to 1981, heading both the Intelligence Community and the CIA. Previously, as an admiral in the U.S. Navy, he served as the commander of the U.S. Second Fleet and president of the Naval War College, and as the commander in chief of NATO's Southern Flank. Admiral Turner is on the faculty of the University of Maryland's Graduate School of Public Policy. He lives in Washington, D.C.