Association of Former Intelligence Officers

THE CIA'S BLACK OPS: COVERT ACTION, FOREIGN POLICY AND DEMOCRACY, by John Jacob Nutter, PhD, Prometheus Books, Amherst NY, 2000, ISBN 1-57392-742-2. The fundamental underlying perspective of this book is the notion that covert action is inimical to democracy, as indeed, in an ideal academic dream world, it unarguably is. This perspective inevitably leads to a focus on - the "numerous fiascoes" of covert action. In the end, however, amidst qualifiers and regrets, the author reaches the reluctant conclusion that "Covert action is here to stay. Most of the important justifications for it during the cold war are gone, but it is so ingrained in American intelligence, the military, and the political elite that, despite a track record of limited success and catastrophic failure, it will remain a weapon of choice." If one can accommodate to the author's perspective and consistent slant, the book can be interesting and educational in terms of the discussion beneath the message, addressing an intriguing topic that deserves to come under periodic critical scrutiny. For the discerning reader, a worthwhile read. (Jonkers)

Reviewed in AFIO Weekly Intelligence Notes #02-00