American Presidents make decisions on war unaware that the human source intelligence provided by the CIA is often false or nonexistent. From Harry Truman during the Korean War to George Bush during the War on Terror, modern Presidents have faced their darkest moments as a result of poor intelligence. The CIA has assured Congress and the President that intelligence programs in hostile areas of the world are thriving, when they simply do not exist.
The CIA is a broken, Soviet-style bureaucracy with its own agenda: to consume federal funds, to expand within the United States, to feign activity, and to enrich current and former employees. After 9/11, billions of dollars directed by Congress to increase the number of officers working under deep cover on foreign streets have disappeared without the CIA fielding a single additional, productive officer overseas.
The Human Factor makes the case for intelligence reform, showing the career of an accomplished deep cover CIA case officer who struggled not with finding human sources of secret information in rogue nations, but with the CIA’s bloated, dysfunctional, even cancerous bureaucracy. After initial training in the US, Ishmael Jones spent his career in multiple, consecutive overseas assignments, as a deep cover officer without benefit of diplomatic immunity. In dingy hotel rooms, Jones met alone with weapons scientists, money launderers, and terrorists. He pushed intelligence missions forward while escaping purges within the Agency, active thwarting of operations by bureaucrats, and the ever-present threat of arrest by hostile foreign intelligence services. Jones became convinced that the CIA’s failure to fulfill its purpose endangers Americans. Attempting reform from within proved absurd. Jones resigned from the CIA to make a public case for reform through the writing of this book.
Effective American organizations feature clear missions, streamlined management, transparency, and accountability. The CIA has none of these. While it has always hired good people, it wastes and even perverts employees. The CIA is not doing its job and must be fixed. Until it is, our lives and the lives of our allies are in jeopardy.
"Excellent...a devastating and alarming picture."
-- National Review
"Scathing - and unauthorized."
-- Congressional Quarterly
"Controversial, eye-opening account"
-- Foreword Magazine
"This book should be required reading for anyone who serves in our government or is served by it. But beware: Reading The Human Factor will make you very, very angry."
-- Max Boot, Senior fellow in national security studies, The Council on Foreign Relations; author of The Savage Wars of Peace and War Made New
"Jones (the cover name the Agency gave him during his first training course), a Marine who joined the Agency's clandestine service and became a case officer in the late '80s, paints a devastating and alarming picture of a vast bureaucracy he calls 'a corrupt, Soviet-style organization'."
-- Michael Ledeen, National Review Online
"Mr. Jones obviously believes that the United States deserves the best intelligence organization in the world. He believes passionately that every American taxpayer is being cheated because we are paying scores of billions of dollars for a bloated, ineffective, risk-averse organization that cannot perform the mission for which it was created."
-- John Weisman, The Washington Times
"Ishmael Jones represents an altogether uncommon breed of CIA officer, one willing to risk life and career in the pursuit of gathering better intelligence. If the CIA as a whole shared this one officer's relentless pursuit of WMD sources, terrorists, and the rogue nations that support them, then we might find ourselves in a much safer world today. With his book The Human Factor, Jones relates the details of his extraordinary career with a notable lack of bravado and a tremendous amount of dry wit."
-- Lindsay Moran, author of Blowing My Cover: My Life as a CIA Spy
"The Human Factor is an enormously important book and a surprisingly accessible read. Hopefully, it will propel the reform debate beyond the usual tinkering.... Call him Ishmael, or not, but I call him a patriot."
-- David Forsmark, Frontpage Magazine