Synopses & Reviews
American Presidents make decisions on war unaware that the human source intelligence provided by the CIA is often false or nonexistent. From Harry Truman during the Korean War to George Bush during the War on Terror, modern Presidents have faced their darkest moments as a result of poor intelligence. The CIA has assured Congress and the President that intelligence programs in hostile areas of the world are thriving, when they simply do not exist.
The CIA is a broken, Soviet-style bureaucracy with its own agenda: to consume federal funds, to expand within the United States, to feign activity, and to enrich current and former employees. After 9/11, billions of dollars directed by Congress to increase the number of officers working under deep cover on foreign streets have disappeared without the CIA fielding a single additional, productive officer overseas.
The Human Factor makes the case for intelligence reform, showing the career of an accomplished deep cover CIA case officer who struggled not with finding human sources of secret information in rogue nations, but with the CIAs bloated, dysfunctional, even cancerous bureaucracy. After initial training in the US, Ishmael Jones spent his career in multiple, consecutive overseas assignments, as a deep cover officer without benefit of diplomatic immunity. In dingy hotel rooms, Jones met alone with weapons scientists, money launderers, and terrorists. He pushed intelligence missions forward while escaping purges within the Agency, active thwarting of operations by bureaucrats, and the ever-present threat of arrest by hostile foreign intelligence services. Jones became convinced that the CIAs failure to fulfill its purpose endangers Americans. Attempting reform from within proved absurd. Jones resigned from the CIA to make a public case for reform through the writing of this book.
Effective American organizations feature clear missions, streamlined management, transparency, and accountability. The CIA has none of these. While it has always hired good people, it wastes and even perverts employees. The CIA is not doing its job and must be fixed. Until it is, our lives and the lives of our allies are in jeopardy.
"Excellent...a devastating and alarming picture."
Scathing and unauthorized.”
"Controversial, eye-opening account"
This book should be required reading for anyone who serves in our government or is served by it. But beware: Reading The Human Factor will make you very, very angry.”
Max Boot, Senior fellow in national security studies, The Council on Foreign Relations; author of The Savage Wars of Peace and War Made New
Jones (the cover name the Agency gave him during his first training course), a Marine who joined the Agencys clandestine service and became a case officer in the late 80s, paints a devastating and alarming picture of a vast bureaucracy he calls a corrupt, Soviet-style organization.”
Michael Ledeen, National Review Online
Mr. Jones obviously believes that the United States deserves the best intelligence organization in the world. He believes passionately that every American taxpayer is being cheated because we are paying scores of billions of dollars for a bloated, ineffective, risk-averse organization that cannot perform the mission for which it was created.”
John Weisman, The Washington Times
Ishmael Jones represents an altogether uncommon breed of CIA officer, one willing to risk life and career in the pursuit of gathering better intelligence. If the CIA as a whole shared this one officers relentless pursuit of WMD sources, terrorists, and the rogue nations that support them, then we might find ourselves in a much safer world today. With his book The Human Factor, Jones relates the details of his extraordinary career with a notable lack of bravado and a tremendous amount of dry wit.”
Lindsay Moran, author of Blowing My Cover: My Life as a CIA Spy
The Human Factor is an enormously important book and a surprisingly accessible read. Hopefully, it will propel the reform debate beyond the usual tinkering
. Call him Ishmael, or not, but I call him a patriot.”
David Forsmark, Frontpage Magazine
After spending decades as an agent to the CIA, Jones unravels the blunders and grave mistakes the U.S. has made over the years and makes the case for much-needed intelligence reform.
George W. Bushs presidency was poisoned by a lack of human source intelligence on 9/11, Iraq and weapons of mass destruction. Carter was humiliated by the hostage crisis in Iran. The Bay of Pigs was President Kennedys greatest blunder. Vietnam ended the Johnson presidency and Korea ended Trumans. In each case, American blood and treasure were spent; and in each case, a lack of reliable intelligence played a great role.
CIA officers are, needless to say, skilled and accomplished professionals. Unfortunately, the organization they inhabit is stifling, misguided, and careless. In the darkness of secrecy, with unlimited tax dollars and little or no accountability, the CIA bureaucracy has mutated into a leviathan that serves its own aims.
From 1989 to 2002, Ishmael Jones carried out continuous field assignments for the CIA, pursuing WMD targets in the Middle East and Europe and terrorist targets in the Iraq War. Appalled by the stifling layers of bureaucracy and unable to reform the agency from within, Jones resigned with an unblemished record and this astonishing story to tell.
The Human Factor is the story of a deep-cover agent facing both the day-to-day obstacles of survival and ludicrous challenges from his own agencys impenetrable bureaucracy. If the CIA is to be fixedand for our own security it must beThe Human Factor may constitute the first step in that direction.
About the Author
ISHMAEL JONES was born in the United States and raised in the Middle East, East Asia, and East Africa. He attended universities in the United States and served as an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps. In the late 1980s he joined the Central Intelligence Agency, where he served as a deep-cover officer for eighteen years, focusing on human sources with access to intelligence on weapons of mass destruction and terrorism.