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3.0 out of 5 stars Michael Hayden's Treasonous Espionage, February 27, 2016
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This review is from: Playing to the Edge: American Intelligence in the Age of Terror (Kindle Edition)
" Espionage involves peeking at the other fellow's hand, marking the cards, cooking the books, poisoning the well, breaking the rules, hitting below the belt, cheating, lying, deceiving, defaming, snooping, eavesdropping, prying, stealing, bribing, suborning, burglarizing, forging, misleading, conducting dirty tricks, dirty pool, skulduggery, blackmail, seduction, everything not sporting, not kosher, not cricket. In short, espionage stands virtue on its head and elevates vice instead."

-- Roosevelt's Secret War: FDR and World War II Espionage, Joseph E. Persico, 2001.

Jeff Stein in New York Times, 25 February 2016: “Playing to the Edge,” Hayden says, is his “best effort to show to the American people what their intelligence services actually do on their behalf.” But it’s really more about what C.I.A. directors spend most of their time doing, which, in Hayden’s case, amounted mostly to skirmishing with Congress, huddling with the White House and flying around the world to meet with his spy-service counterparts. ... “For General Michael Hayden, playing to the edge means playing so close to the line that you get chalk dust on your cleats,” the Association of Former Intelligence Officers, a pro-C.I.A. group, said in a recent newsletter. Except that Hayden went well over the chalk with the N.S.A.’s warrantless data-mining programs.

George Packer in The New Yorker of March 7, 2016, eloquently, harshly critiques Hayden's book, concluding, "Hayden thinks that the answer to the intelligence community's isolation and disarray is for leaders like him to come forth and explain their work -- which is what he has been doing since his retirement ... now in this memoir. That won't be enough, and perhaps nothing will be enough. In a sense, the more the spies say, the less the public will trust them, because it is secrecy that gives them the mystique of knowledge. ... We expect the intelligence people to keep us safe, we resent them for their intrusions and their failures, and we need to believe that know better than we do despite of all the evidence to the contrary."

Hayden claims several high-ranking spies "love" their agencies. As shown in this top spies loving each other story he never lets up on the chest-thumping, even a bit of breast-thumping, but this is mostly about guys bearing great burdens, unappreciated by the public, doubted by nasty overseers, and worst of all for big-funding lovers, criticized by prejudiced know-nothings in the press.

He writes of his secrecy-incarcerated beloveds as, brave, smart, dedicated to the secrecy-obsessive spying cartel (Mafia is an all too easy comparison), whose members are investigated, polygraphed, inducted, sworn to protect the cult of secrecy against all opponents, domestic and foreign, guided by cult-advocating and -praising demagogues. Nothing said about ex-spies reaping rewards in the national security media-industry as he has along with virtually every predecessor and successor.

As a skilled, biased, authority-mongering official secret keeper, Hayden, like those before and after him, vaunts the "intelligence community's" tens of thousands admittedly lying, deceptive and criminal spies (so brags Masterspy James Clapper), most unknown even to him, and vituperates against those (several are named as favorite enemies), who distrust and dislike government workers without public accountability hiding in the darkest corners of democracy. He does offer crumbs to a few (also named) who cooperate in publishing specially briefed and rigged spy PR.

Hayden's if you knew what I know guy-spy (with loving wife ever adoring) account itself reads like a PR stunt he and spy agencies who review this formulaic junk, believe is the superior way to keep commanders (his career shows he excels in military and presidential toadyism) the public and overseers misinformed, disinformed, entertained, beguiled, as if running a by-the-book, so to speak, melodramatic, comedic Bondian spy operation to gain traction as a best seller, and most importantly, protect the secret spy budgets (not the ones released to hide the waste).

Pathetically, a hard-core natsecker might call secret-leaking treasonous, Hayden confesses the secrecy-cult-advancing by spy world's brazen policy of terrorism of the public: "Frightened people don't make good democrats," so keep them frightened.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 28, 2016 10:18:11 PM PST
Dylan Fan says:
I see no evidence to suggest you read the book.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 29, 2016 7:42:16 AM PST
alexander says:
I agree, all I read was verbal bloviation and I challenge him to read it out aloud,faster than I can read it .

Posted on Mar 2, 2016 7:31:50 AM PST
The reviewer is John Young of cryptome. He likely read the book. Chapter 20 is currently on cryptome.org, his website. Extremely poor form Mr. Young.

Posted on Mar 5, 2016 4:16:33 AM PST
Anthodisiac says:
Bitter paranoiac ramblings from an OWS'er.
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