PORTRAIT OF A COLD WARRIOR by Joseph Burkholder Smith


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Another CIA book, this time by a psychological warfare officer who resigned in 1973. A bored liberal history professor, Smith got into the organization during the Korean War and, with no particular qualifications, was at once assigned to be a South East Asian dirty tricks specialist. Disappointed by lack of guidance and comfort in the Philippines and Singapore, set to faking porno films of Sukarno in Indonesia, plopped into Castro-phobic CIA enclaves in Venezuela and Argentina, Smith remained wide-eyed but grew increasingly derisory. His nastiest activities involved inventing stories about Soviet riot instigation and faking opinion polls; he backed pro-US parties and bought pro-US journalists, but reveals nothing on the order of rigged elections or synthetic anti-US creations. The faults of the CIA are enumerated in terms of warped intelligence, manipulated embassies, personal arrogance, and poor disguises; and while some of Smith's colleagues were estimable critics like himself, many were irresponsible adventurers, careerist dullards, or right-wing maniacs, very much per stereotype. Smith names names in all categories, although he does not avowedly seek to ""blow"" the organization, only to ensure that ""Our intelligence officers must be more professionally covered, supported, and protected"" in order to meet the Soviet threat. The book may fuel internecine shakeups, but it fails to expand our knowledge in any important way.

Pub Date: Oct. 22nd, 1976
Publisher: Putnam