Company Confessions Secrets, Memoirs, and the CIA

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2016-08-23
  • Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books

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"A fascinating, readable work.” -Robert Wallace, coauthor of Spycraft and The Official CIA Manual of Trickery and Deception

Spies are supposed to keep quiet, never betraying their agents or discussing their operations. Somehow, this doesn’t apply to the CIA, whose former officers have written memoirs commanding huge advances and attracting enormous publicity. As an intelligence service dependent on its ability to protect sensitive information, however, it’s no surprise that the CIA has fought back.

In Company Confessions, award-winning author Christopher Moran digs deep into this tumultuous relationship between the CIA and former agents who try to go public about their careers. He delves into the motivations of spies like CIA officer Valerie Plame, whose identity was leaked by the Bush White House and who reportedly received $2.5 million for her book Fair Game, and exposes the politics and practices of the CIA and its Publications Review Board, including breaking into publishing houses and secretly authorizing pro-agency “memoirs.”

Drawing on interviews; the private correspondence of such legendary spies as Allen Dulles, William Colby, and Richard Helms; and declassified CIA files, Company Confessions examines why America’s spies are so willing to share their stories, the damage inflicted when they leak the nation’s secrets, and the fine line between censorship on the grounds of security and censorship for the sake of reputation.

Author Biography

DR. CHRISTOPHER MORAN is an Associate Professor of U.S. National Security at the University of Warwick in England. He is the author of Classified: Secrecy and the State in Modern Britain which won the 2014 St. Ermin's Hotel Intelligence Book of the Year Award. He has held fellowships at the British Academy, the Library of Congress, and Oxford University and his serves as a historical consultant to the International Spy Museum in Washington D.C.

Table of Contents

Foreword by Tony Mendez and Jonna Mendez
List of Abbreviations
I. If Walls Could Talk
II. What Would Walter Say?
III. Blood Sport
1. Herbert Yardley: Playing for High Stakes
I. A ‘Magnificent Book’
II. Codebreaker
III. Outcast
IV. Traitor?
2. Limited Hangout
I. Care of Devils
II. The Rebirth of the US Spy Memoir
III. The Golden Age
IV. Secrecy Interrupted
3. Renegades and Whistle-blowers
I. Time of Troubles
II. Breaking the Brotherhood of Spies
III. ‘The Agency’s No. 1 Nemesis’
4. Winning Friends and Influencing People
I. Feeling the Heat
II. The Last Assignment
III. The American Model of Intelligence
5. The Snepp Problem
I. The PRB
II. Institutional Disgrace
III. Irreparable Harm
IV. Double Standards
6. The Helms Experiment: Righting and Writing the Record
I. Midlife Crisis
II. ‘The Man Who Kept the Secrets’
III. Fighting Back
IV. Quasi-Official History
Epilogue: 21st-Century Disputes
I. The Honest Broker
II. Tightening the Noose, Again
III. Confessions in the Digital Age

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