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LEGACY of ASHES

The History of the CIA

TIM WEINER

There are no secrets that time does not reveal.  

—Jean Racine, Britannicus (1669)

CONTENTS

AUTHOR'S NOTE xiii

PART ONE – "In the Beginning, We Knew Nothing":

The CIA Under Truman, 1945 to 1953

1 . "INTELLIGENCE MUST BE GLOBAL AND TOTALITARIAN" 3

2 . "THE LOGIC OF FORCE" 9

3 . "FIGHT FIRE WITH FIRE" 20

4 . "THE MOST SECRET THING" 32

5 . "A RICH BLIND MAN" 39

6 . "THEY WERE SUICIDE MISSIONS" 49

7 . "A VAST FIELD OF ILLUSION" 63

PART TWO – "A Strange Kind of Genius":

The CIA Under Eisenhower, 1953 to 1961

8 . "WE HAVE NO PLAN" 73

9 . "CIA'S GREATEST SINGLE TRIUMPH" 81

10 . "BOMB REPEAT BOMB" 93

1 1 . "AND THEN WE'LL HAVE A STORM" 105

12 . "WE RAN IT IN A DIFFERENT WAY" 116

13 . "WISHFUL BLINDNESS" 122

14 . "HAM-HANDED OPERATIONS OF ALL KINDS" 136

15 . "A VERY STRANGE WAR" 142

16 . "HE WAS LYING DOWN AND HE WAS LYING UP" 155

PART THREE – Lost Causes:

The CIA Under Kennedy and Johnson, 1961 to 1968

17 . "NOBODY KNEW WHAT TO DO" 171

18 . "WE HAD ALSO FOOLED OURSELVES" 189

19 . "WE'D BE DELIGHTED TO TRADE THOSE MISSILES" 199

20. "HEY, BOSS, WE DID A GOOD JOB, DIDN'T WE?" 210

21. "I THOUGHT IT WAS A CONSPIRACY" 222

22. "AN OMINOUS DRIFT" 236

23. "MORE COURAGE THAN WISDOM" 244

24. "THE BEGINNING OF A LONG SLIDE DOWNWARDS" 249

25. "WE KNEW THEN THAT WE COULD NOT WIN THE WAR" 265

26. "A POLITICAL H-BOMB" 270

27. "TRACK DOWN THE FOREIGN COMMUNISTS" 285

PART FOUR – "Get Rid of the Clowns":

The CIA Under Nixon and Ford, 1968 to 1977

28 . "WHAT THE HELL DO THOSE CLOWNS DO OUT THERE IN LANGLEY?" 291

29. "USG WANTS A MILITARY SOLUTION" 306

30. "WE ARE GOING TO CATCH A LOT OF HELL" 318

31 . "TO CHANGE THE CONCEPT OF A SECRET SERVICE" 325

32. "A CLASSIC FASCIST IDEAL" 330

33. "THE CIA WOULD BE DESTROYED" 335

34. "SAIGON SIGNING OFF" 340

35. "INEFFECTIVE AND SCARED" 346

PART FIVE – Victory Without Joy:

The CIA Under Carter, Reagan, and George H. W. Bush, 1977 to 1993

36. "HE SOUGHT TO OVERTHROW THEIR SYSTEM" 357

37. "WE WERE JUST PLAIN ASLEEP" 368

38. "A FREELANCE BUCCANEER" 375

39. "IN A DANGEROUS WAY" 388

40. "HE WAS RUNNING A GREAT RISK" 394

41 . "A CON MAN'S CON MAN" 401

42. "TO THINK THE UNTHINKABLE" 413

43. "WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO WHEN THE WALL COMES DOWN?" 423

PART SIX–The Reckoning:  

The CIA Under Clinton and George W. Bush, 1993 to 2007

44. "WE HAD NO FACTS" 439

45. "WHY IN THE WORLD DIDN'T WE KNOW?" 448

46. "WE'RE IN TROUBLE" 454

47. "THE THREAT COULD NOT BE MORE REAL" 467

48. "THE DARK SIDE" 477

49. "A GRAVE MISTAKE" 486

50. "THE BURIAL CEREMONY" 498

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS 515  

NOTES 517  

INDEX 673

AUTHOR'S NOTE

Legacy of Ashes is the record of the first sixty years of the Central Intelligence Agency. It describes how the most powerful country in the history  

of Western civilization has failed to create a first-rate spy service. That  

failure constitutes a danger to the national security of the United States.

Intelligence is secret action aimed at understanding or changing what  

goes on abroad. President Dwight D. Eisenhower called it "a distasteful  

but vital necessity." A nation that wants to project its power beyond its  

borders needs to see over the horizon, to know what is coming, to prevent  

attacks against its people. It must anticipate surprise. Without a  

strong, smart, sharp intelligence service, presidents and generals alike  

can become blind and crippled. But throughout its history as a superpower,  

the United States has not had such a service.

History, Edward Gibbon wrote in The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire,  

is "little more than the register of crimes, follies, and misfortunes of  

mankind." The annals of the Central Intelligence Agency are filled with  

folly and misfortune, along with acts of bravery and cunning. They are  

replete with fleeting successes and long-lasting failures abroad. They are  

marked by political battles and power struggles at home. The agency's  

triumphs have saved some blood and treasure. Its mistakes have squandered  

both. They have proved fatal for legions of American soldiers and  

foreign agents; some three thousand Americans who died in New York,  

Washington, and Pennsylvania on September 11, 2001; and three thousand

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