If you are interested in the CIA or espionage, you must purchase this book. I learned more from this book than from all the other books I have read on the CIA combined. EXCELLENT BOOK!
This book is not worth the credit. You don't get a good sense of the SAS training, selection course or anything worth while. You will hear about a couple of operations that contains no specail tactics.
Of particular interest from the US point of view, the book reveals that for three years before his defection in October 2000 Tretyakov worked for the FBI, providing details of residency operations and personnel. Ten months before his defection, the FBI encouraged him to leave but could not tell him the reason: it was hunting a mole who might learn about him. When Tretyakov's defection became public on 30 January 2001 and Robert Hanssen was arrested on 18 February 2001, the press presumed Tretyakov was the one who gave him up. The FBI assured Earley that this was not the case.
Finally, as with all unsourced defector memoirs, one must deal with the question of accuracy. In this case, the narrative contains two technical errors worth noting: (1) reference to Tretyakov as a double agent is incorrect, and (2) the statement that the CIA calls its employees'agents is wrong. Recognizing that independent assessment of Tretyakov's story is desirable, Earley includes a chapter with comments from a high-ranking US intelligence official that addresses the kinds of material Tretyakov provided and affirms that it included names and saved American lives. Further detail is attributed to other intelligence sources, as, for example, the fact that the bug planted in the State Department conference room in the late 1990s had a miniature battery recharged with a laser beam. If correct, someone would have had to have line-of-sight access to the battery, but no comment is made on this point.
In the end, although Earley has provided another well told espionage case study, he leaves the curious hoping for a second volume containing more details of Tretyakov&'s work for US intelligence.
I purchased the book hoping to get a thorough look at how the CIA operated, but only got a story about how great Valarie was and how hard she worked. It is very poorly written. I once thought that the elite worked for the CIA, but if she is an example of the typical case officer, we are in trouble.
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