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Company ManThirty Years of Controversy and Crisis in the CIA by John Rizzo

Company ManThirty Years of Controversy and Crisis in the CIA by John Rizzo

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Published by Simon and Schuster
In 1975, fresh out of law school and working a numbing job at the Treasury Department, John Rizzo took “a total shot in the dark” and sent his résumé to the Central Intelligence Agency. He had no notion that more than thirty years later, after serving under eleven CIA directors and seven presidents, he would become a notorious public figure—a symbol and a victim of the toxic winds swirling in post-9/11 Washington. From serving as the point person answering for the Iran-contra scandal to approving the rules that govern waterboarding and other “enhanced interrogation techniques,” John Rizzo witnessed and participated in virtually all of the significant operations of the CIA’s modern history.

In Company Man, Rizzo charts the CIA’s evolution from shadowy entity to an organization exposed to new laws, rules, and a seemingly neverending string of public controversies. Rizzo offers a direct window into the CIA in the years after the 9/11 attacks, when he served as the agency’s top lawyer, with oversight of actions that remain the subject of intense debate today. In Company Man, Rizzo is the first CIA official to ever describe what “black sites” look like from the inside and he provides the most comprehensive account ever written of the “torture tape” fiasco surrounding the interrogation of Al Qaeda suspect Abu Zubaydah and the birth, growth, and death of the enhanced interrogation program.

Spanning more than three decades, Company Man is the most authoritative insider account of the CIA ever written—a groundbreaking, timely, and remarkably candid history of American intelligence.
In 1975, fresh out of law school and working a numbing job at the Treasury Department, John Rizzo took “a total shot in the dark” and sent his résumé to the Central Intelligence Agency. He had no notion that more than thirty years later, after serving under eleven CIA directors and seven presidents, he would become a notorious public figure—a symbol and a victim of the toxic winds swirling in post-9/11 Washington. From serving as the point person answering for the Iran-contra scandal to approving the rules that govern waterboarding and other “enhanced interrogation techniques,” John Rizzo witnessed and participated in virtually all of the significant operations of the CIA’s modern history.

In Company Man, Rizzo charts the CIA’s evolution from shadowy entity to an organization exposed to new laws, rules, and a seemingly neverending string of public controversies. Rizzo offers a direct window into the CIA in the years after the 9/11 attacks, when he served as the agency’s top lawyer, with oversight of actions that remain the subject of intense debate today. In Company Man, Rizzo is the first CIA official to ever describe what “black sites” look like from the inside and he provides the most comprehensive account ever written of the “torture tape” fiasco surrounding the interrogation of Al Qaeda suspect Abu Zubaydah and the birth, growth, and death of the enhanced interrogation program.

Spanning more than three decades, Company Man is the most authoritative insider account of the CIA ever written—a groundbreaking, timely, and remarkably candid history of American intelligence.

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Published by: Simon and Schuster on Feb 12, 2014
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02/23/2014

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31
CHAPTER 1
Entering the Secret Club (1975–1976)
Te Agency I le at the end o 2009 was very different rom the Agency I had joined in the beginning o 1976—except that both times the CIA was in turmoil. I hardly grasped it at the time, but my arrival at the CIA coincided with a number o seismic legal and institutional changes in the U.S. intelligence community.Right beore Christmas 1974, just a ew months aer Richard Nixon had resigned in disgrace ollowing the Watergate scandal, the CIA or the first time in its history had been thrust into a harsh public spotlight. An explosive series o page 1 stories in the
 New York imes
 by Seymour Hersh had detailed a stunning array o questionable and in some cases illegal covert operations stretching back over twenty-five years—opera-tions that included bizarre assassination plots against Fidel Castro and other oreign leaders, drug experiments on unsuspecting U.S. citizens, domestic surveillance o anti–Vietnam War groups on college campuses and elsewhere, and a massive program to monitor the mail o Ameri-cans thought to be opposed to the policies o the Johnson and Nixon administrations. Tis led in 1975 to a sensational series o congressional hearings led by Senator Frank Church, a theatrical politician with presi-dential aspirations. A passel o current and ormer senior CIA operatives were paraded beore millions o V viewers, and Church and his col-leagues obligingly posed or the cameras with guns and other weapons used in the assassination plots.I ound mysel intensely drawn to the proceedings. I had never—save or my brie exposure to a proessor in college named Lyman Kirkpat-rick, which I will talk about later in the book—given any thought to the
 
COMPANY MAN
32
CIA during my lie up to that point. I had read a couple o Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels and seen a ew o the Sean Connery movie adapta-tions in high school, and I thought they were entertaining in a antasti-cal, mindless sort o way. I knew very little about the CIA’s history—that it was ounded at the end o World War II, or instance, as the country’s first and preeminent intelligence service—or any o its current or past leaders. I guess I was vaguely aware that it was headquartered in sub-urban Virginia and that its mission was all sorts o highly secret der-ring-do, but that was about it.In that respect, I was probably typical o most Americans at that period in the nation’s history. In the decades beore the Hersh articles and Church hearings blew the lid off in the mid-’70s, the CIA operated in a largely black vacuum, mostly ignored by the mainstream media and coddled by the very ew senior members o Congress who were ever told anything the Agency was doing (and, by all accounts, CIA directors never told them very much). Te CIA even stiffed the Warren Commis-sion in its landmark 1964 investigation into the death o President Ken-nedy—and got away with it.At the time o the Church hearings, I was working at the U.S. Customs Service, part o the reasury Department. It had a small office o about fi-teen lawyers, and its portolio included everything rom narcotics enorce-ment to international trade issues. For a rookie lawyer, the job at Customs was fine. Te work was reasonably interesting, I got to travel some, I liked the people I worked with, and the hours certainly weren’t backbreaking—everybody was in the office by 8:30 a.m., and everybody le at precisely 5:00 p.m. By 1975, however, I was quietly yearning or something different and more challenging. While playing hooky rom work, I was glued to my V, watching the Church Committee proceedings with a mixture o asci-nation and revulsion. Was this what the CIA was really like?Tat was my first reaction. My second reaction was to wonder whether the CIA had any lawyers in its organization. I had no idea, but with Con-gress and the media demanding top-to-bottom reorms, I figured that i the CIA didn’t already have lawyers, it was going to need them. A lot o them.Tere was nothing in my background or previous lie experience to sug-gest that I would ever work or the CIA. I was born on October 6, 1947,

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