The papers of a 1974 conference on ""The CIA and Covert Action"" have little to add to recent revelations (viz. Philip Agee's Inside the Company, p. 879) of some of the CIA's shadier activities, but the brief articles do form a useful introduction to the issues involved. David Wise reviews CIA history and congressional and legal controls on the Agency, concluding that many secret operations must be eliminated because of their inevitable overflow into domestic politics. Former Kissinger aide Roger Morris and Indochina specialist Fred Branfman give accounts of CIA operations in several specific countries. Herbert Scoville, an erstwhile CIA scientist, explains how new listening, satellite and code-breaking technology has made old-style espionage obsolete. Morton Halperin, one-time National Security Council staffer, describes how clandestine actions fit into government policy-making and the difficulties which arise in trying to monitor such programs for effectiveness and sanity. He calls for the CIA's division into a controlling intelligence-evaluation group and a small undercover actions section. Writer Richard Barnet points out the spread of ""dirty tricks"" at home in Watergate and elsewhere. Former CIA director William Colby appears to read a statement and debate some of the panelists. Some of the material is already outdated by the latest revelations of assassination attempts and drug experiments. Certainly this book does not compare with Marks' CIA and the Cult of Intelligence or Wise's The Invisible Government. Still, The CIA File provides a compact handbook of arguments from the Agency's more outspoken critics.