A CIA spook spills his secrets

A CIA spook spills his secrets


By definition, firsthand accounts of the inner workings of the Central Intelligence Agency are uncommon — and such accounts of the agency’s clandestine service are even more rare. That’s why Ambassador Henry Crumpton’s new book, “The Art of Intelligence,” is so important: It gives the public a rare glimpse of the myriad gray areas that now exist at the friction points of statecraft — in particular the gray areas between war and peace, vigilance and aggression, general awareness and outright spying.

Crumpton joined the CIA’s clandestine service in 1981, spending much of the next quarter-century abroad. During the lead-up to and aftermath of 9/11, Crumpton was the deputy chief of the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center, participating in the rise of drone warfare and leading the agency’s Afghanistan campaign right after the attacks. He later headed the agency’s domestic clandestine service, ultimately serving as an ambassador-at-large as the State Department’s coordinator for counterterrorism.

With the publication of his book, Crumpton has made headlines with his assertion that there are now more spies operating on American soil than ever operated during the Cold War. He recently joined me in studio in Denver on my radio show to discuss President Obama’s “kill list”; what went wrong before and after 9/11 in Afghanistan; how America’s national security apparatus targets suspects; and whether it’s fair to worry that the changing definition of warfare is undermining age-old democratic ideals.

The following is an edited transcript of our discussion. You can listen to the whole conversation by clicking here.

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