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Burn Before Reading: Presidents, CIA Directors, and Secret Intelligence | [Stansfield Turner]

Burn Before Reading: Presidents, CIA Directors, and Secret Intelligence

Drawing on his own personal experience, as well as interviews with living presidents, Turner takes us into the White House and shares with us an intimate view of the inner working of our government's intelligence agency. There has never been a time when the relationship between the president and the head of the CIA has been so scrutinized or so relevant to our government policy.
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Publisher's Summary

The way the U.S. government gathers intelligence information has become front-page news. In Burn Before Reading, former CIA director Admiral Stansfield Turner highlights pivotal moments between presidents and their CIA directors, detailing the decisions that continue to shape the intelligence community and our world. This behind-the-scenes look at the CIA's relationship with the presidents, from World War II to the present day, reveals how intelligence gathering works, and how personal and political issues often interfere with government business. In Burn Before Reading, we learn:
  • Why President Harry Truman distrusted the CIA yet ended up expanding it.
  • How President John F. Kennedy entrusted his reputation to the CIA at the Bay of Pigs in Cuba and got burned.
  • That President Nixon strongly mistrusted the "Ivy League" CIA and tried, unsuccessfully, to use it as a way out of Watergate.
  • That President Gerald Ford was confronted with three reports of egregious and illegal CIA misdeeds, and how he responded by replacing CIA director Colby with George H. W. Bush.

    Drawing on his own personal experience, as well as interviews with living presidents, Turner takes us into the White House and shares with us an intimate view of the inner working of our government's intelligence agency. There has never been a time when the relationship between the president and the head of the CIA has been so scrutinized or so relevant to our government policy. This book concludes with a blueprint for reorganizing the intelligence community and strengthening the relationship between the CIA and the president.

    ©2005 Admiral Stansfield Turner and Allen Mikaelian; (P)2005 Tantor Media, Inc.

  • What the Critics Say

    "A sound analysis of where the CIA needs to go." (Bob Woodward)

    What Members Say

    Average Customer Rating

    3.4 (50 )
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    •  
      Kenneth LEESBURG, VA, United States 05-01-06
      Kenneth LEESBURG, VA, United States 05-01-06 Member Since 2005

      Old & fat, but strong; American, Chinese, & Indian (sort of); Ph.D. in C.S.; strategy, economics & stability theory; trees & machining.

      HELPFUL VOTES
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      "Ernest and sincere, will be politicized"

      Anytime a former DCI recommends the abolishment of the CIA you’ve got to think he’s really trying to find a serious solution to a real problem. The trouble is that he’s too earnest, both the left and the right will attack him on political grounds. It’s sad that we live in times where the nation is so polarized.

      His history of the CIA is fascinating. Hard-core conservatives will notice that he omits the successes of the CIA’s “war” in Afghanistan during the Soviet Innovation and that he downplays the failures of his own tenure as CID. Also he doesn’t much like the “knuckle draggers”. But he is telling a story about how the organizational structure of the inelegance community affects the type of job they do. I found the omissions mostly unimportant to this story, too bad that they can easily be interpreted as bias.

      So just accept that he has a little bias. It’s a story about him and who doesn’t have some bias about themselves. But his bias is small and doesn’t undermine his points.

      5 of 5 people found this review helpful
    •  
      Alejandra Viaduc 07-09-12 Member Since 2011
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      Story
      "Dry."
      What did you like best about Burn Before Reading? What did you like least?

      I like the facts int his book, but it was very dry. I almost think a text book could have been made more exciting. But I did love the information.


      What aspect of Michael Prichard’s performance would you have changed?

      He was very monotone, and there was little excitement or even anger in his voice.


      0 of 0 people found this review helpful
    •  
      Edward Los Angeles, CA, USA 09-04-07
      Edward Los Angeles, CA, USA 09-04-07
      ratings
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      10
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      "Read before burning"

      An outstanding and inciteful look at the office of DCI(Director, Central Intellegence), the men who held it and their strengths and weaknesses.

      0 of 0 people found this review helpful
    •  
      08-11-06
      08-11-06 Listener Since 2005
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      "Burn Before Reading"

      A history of the CIA, an interesting subject, written by Admiral Turner, Director of Central Intelligence from the Carter Administration. Written/told in a predictably bureauocratic manner with his own personal prejudices showing. But he's human like the rest of us. If you're interested in the subject, (as I am) it's not a bad book.

      0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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