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. I laughed out loud at descriptions of CIA characters and culture that were all too familiar. Jones represents the kind of CIA officer that I–and many other neophyte spies–had always hoped to encounter as a supervisor. Wisely, however, Jones sidestepped managerial positions in order to remain exactly where he should have been: active in the field.
Author of Blowing My Cover: My Life as a CIA Spy
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. For Ishmael Jones, better than any previous spook, peels back layer upon layer of deception to show how dysfunctional the CIA is. Even in the wake of 9/11, when the CIA was inundated with fresh funding, it has failed to cure its cultural ills or to dispatch large numbers of clandestine operatives abroad without State Department cover. Ishmael Jones has served his nation honorably and bravely as a member of the CIA’s Clandestine Service, but he has provided no greater service than to risk his former employer’s wrath to alert us to the CIA’s continuing, crippling woes.
Senior Fellow in National Security Studies
The Council on Foreign Relations
Author of The Savage Wars of Peace and War Made New