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January 11, 1987|Kenneth Reich

THE CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY by John P. Quirk (Foreign Intelligence: $29.95; 256 pp.). This volume, billed as a photographic history, also contains extensive text generally lauding the CIA as "the foremost American intelligence organization and the most successful intelligence agency in the world." It contains two identical full-page color pictures of the latest CIA director, William Casey, and a foreward by a former director, Richard M. Helms, striking the theme carried forward throughout--that the agency is wonderful. "This volume," writes Helms, "will help all citizens understand why we must protect our open society by conducting secret operations . . . (and) that intelligence is necessary to the public good, and, by being necessary, becomes honorable."

The author's own admiring analysis lacks sophistication. He declares that under the Reagan Administration, the CIA "has found new levels of support and invigoration," and he often belittles the agency's congressional and other critics. The book was written before recent revelations in the Iran arms affair indicated that CIA directors often had only an uncertain grasp of what was going on in areas of their clear responsibility. The list of consultants, and the foreward by Helms, indicate that the agency thoroughly approves the book.

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