Cover image for The secret history of the CIA
The secret history of the CIA
Trento, Joseph John, 1947-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Roseville, Calif. : Forum, [2001]

Physical Description:
xviii, 542 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 24 cm
Format :


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JK468.I6 T68 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
JK468.I6 T68 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
JK468.I6 T68 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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"The CIA was founded on the best of intentions - to battle the Soviet Empire during the Cold War. For over 50 years, hundreds of men and women in America's foremost intelligence agency have engaged nobly in espionage that was both risky and mysterious, in the name of national security. But the real CIA, as revealed in this book, was an organization haunted from the very beginning by missed opportunities, internal rivalries, mismanagement, and Soviet moles."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Author Notes

Joseph J. Trento has been an investigative reporter since 1968, when he joined the staff of the legendary journalist Jack Anderson. He is the author of the best-selling book Widows and has worked for CNN's investigative unit; consulted for 60 Minutes, Nightline, and PrimeTime Live; and appeared on Meet the Press, CBS Morning News, Good Morning America, and NPR. Currently, Mr. Trento is president of the Public Education Center He lives in Virginia

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

Citing legitimate governments ruined and thousands of lives lost, investigative reporter Trento (Widows) views the CIA as stunningly incompetent. He blames the agency's culture of arrogance for the waste of superior intellects and hundreds of millions of dollars. Trento vividly re-creates the day-to-day lives of key CIA agents during defining post-WWII events: the Cuban missile crisis; JFK's assassination; Vietnam; the overthrow of Salvador Allende in Chile; and Cold War espionage in the U.S. and Soviet Union. In Chile, for instance, the Nixon administration arranged a military coup to head off the Socialist Allende's presidency and abetted the assassination of the Chilean army's chief of staff, General Ren? Schneider, who wouldn't help "oust a democratically elected leader." Based on U.S. and Soviet records and reports and on hundreds of interviews with former CIA men and their families, the firsthand stories of moles, secret operations, assassination attempts and triple agents are equal to John le Carr?'s best. But Trento's provocative conclusions that Lee Harvey Oswald worked for the KGB and that Averell Harriman was probably a Communist sympathizer suffer from the poor credibility of his sources; his CIA has few heroes, many alcoholics, womanizers, deceitful bureaucratic infighters, outright liars and worse. Trento's prose sometimes reads like boilerplate spy thriller (peopled by "brilliant," "cunning" men and "beautiful and ambitious" women), but generally he does a good story justice, and he has ample opportunity here. (Oct.) Forecast: Recently released Cold War security documents are spawning numerous intelligence expos?s, and Trento's salable blend of gravitas and sensation will attract a wide readership. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Table of Contents

Prefacep. xi
With Appreciationp. xvii
1. Beria and Stalinp. 1
2. Enter Sashap. 9
3. Human Pokerp. 17
4. The Americansp. 25
5. The Cousinsp. 33
6. The Battle to Control American Intelligencep. 41
7. George Weiszp. 51
8. Orlov: The Indispensable Manp. 61
9. Berlin: The New Frontline Basep. 69
10. The FBI Man in the CIAp. 75
11. Cover-Up and Promotionp. 85
12. Tough Guy in Berlinp. 93
13. A Missed Chancep. 99
14. Murphy and Friendsp. 109
15. Cowboys in Berlinp. 117
16. Igor and the Ladiesp. 127
17. Tunnel Visionp. 139
18. A Defector at Lastp. 147
19. The Illegalsp. 155
20. The Hungarian Debaclep. 163
21. Harvey Has Problemsp. 171
22. Transition, Assassination, and Consciencep. 177
23. What Wall?p. 185
24. Assassination as Foreign Policyp. 191
25. The Kennedys as Case Officersp. 203
26. Khrushchev's Gambitp. 211
27. Oswald in Moscowp. 217
28. SR-9p. 223
29. The Kremlin Against Khrushchevp. 229
30. Penkovsky Reportingp. 235
31. No Questions Askedp. 241
32. He Found the Missiles--So Fire Himp. 249
33. The Long Knivesp. 255
34. Blood Brings Bloodp. 265
35. Hoover Saves Philbyp. 271
36. Haunting Angletonp. 277
37. The Searchp. 283
38. Closing In On SASHAp. 291
39. The Net Widensp. 299
40. The Perfect Operationp. 309
41. The Son-in-Lawp. 315
42. Fatal Coup in Vietnamp. 327
43. Thong Nhut Streetp. 337
44. The CIA and the Drug Lordsp. 343
45. Losing Vietnamp. 351
46. Nixon Versus Kennedy's Ghostp. 361
47. Don't Cross Geneenp. 373
48. Blood and Judgmentp. 389
49. Weisz in Germanyp. 401
50. Pink Slip for Angletonp. 405
51. Who Needs Counterintelligence?p. 413
52. Christmas in Viennap. 421
53. After Angletonp. 429
54. The Atomic Spyp. 435
55. Mole in the White Housep. 441
56. Molekillp. 453
57. The End of the Cold Warp. 465
Epiloguep. 473
Notesp. 481
Select Bibliographyp. 513
Indexp. 517