The Real CIA

Title:                      The Real CIA

Author:                  Lyman B. Kirkpatrick, Jr.

Kirkpatrick, Lyman B. (1968). The Real CIA. New York, Macmillan

LCCN:    68010629

JK468.I6 K5


Date Updated:  November 2, 2015

Reviewed by George C. Constantinides[1]

If anyone could have written an inside story of the real CIA up to 1965, it was Kirkpatrick. He was in a number of positions with a level of access that few CIA men could match-inspector general for eight years, member of three groups involved in organizational studies, and executive director/comptroller, not to speak of earlier positions of operational authority. He wrote this as his legacy “to the people of the free world on the role of intelligence in a free society.” The method employed is to include autobiographical material, which makes the book also a story of his career in intelligence, a device later employed by Cline in Secrets, Spies and Scholars[2].

Kirkpatrick was selective; since the appearance of this book, we have learned of many matters that were not touched on here. He made it clear from the start that he would tell what he could without revealing secrets or giving any information to his country’s enemies. Consequently, he did not say much about the report of his inspection staff on the Bay of Pigs operation, although some things can be deduced from his remarks, nor did he provide any insights about personal and professional differences in the CIA hierarchy of which he was both an observer and a participant. Nor did he reveal his strong feelings about certain types of operations—he was silent about particular CIA operations except for Cuba. For the facts about these subjects and others one must turn to Powers’ The Man Who Kept the Secrets[3] and to congressional reports of the 1970s that dealt with investigation of CIA, or to other sources. The reader should not lose sight of the things of historical value included: a rare first-hand picture of the work of an OSS detachment with a U.S. army in World War II; a look at the Polish intelligence school in Scotland during the war training agents to work against both the Germans and the Soviets; close-ups of certain CIA directors; the story of the creation by General Strong of G-2 of a collection system in 1942 separate from OSS and outside the normal government channels; glimpses of Cl A cooperation and problems with Batista in Cuba and of CIA’s resistance to the attacks by Senator Joseph McCarthy; some details of the early organizational and bureaucratic history of CIA. There is some dated material (such as that on the German attack in the Ardennes) but other still up to date, as on the case of the National Redoubt and its influence on strategy at the end of World War II or the problem of secrecy and the role of intelligence in a democracy. Blackstock and Schaf in their bibliography[4] were of the opinion this book was one of those by retired officials whose “memoirs tend to read like institutional advertising.”

This is a review by the Defense Intelligence School.[5]

Describes the author’s experiences in OSS and his long career in CIA, where he served in many positions, including those of, Inspector General and Executive Director-Comptroller. It provides an insider’s view of the development of CIA up until 1965.

Reviewed by Paul W. Blackstock and Frank L. Schaf[6]

This memoir provides a behind-the-scenes view of the CIA ‘s efforts in the sphere of foreign policy. The author began his more than twenty-two years in the intelligence services of the United States with the OSS and as an intelligence staff officer at the headquarters of Omar Bradley’s Twelfth Anny Group. He later joined the CIA, rose to executive assistant to the director, and finally was appointed to the number three position, executive director. He recounts various incidents in which the. CIA played an integral part: Batista and Cuba, the Bay of Pigs, the Suez of 1956, and the U-2 incident.

[1] Constantinides, George C. (1983). Intelligence and Espionage: An Analytical Bibliography. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, pp. 272-273

[2] Cline, Ray S. (1976, 1982). The CIA: Reality vs. Myth. Originally published as Secrets, Spies, And Scholars: Blueprint of The Essential CIA. Washington DC: Acropolis Books

[3] Powers, Thomas (1979). The Man Who Kept the Secrets: Richard Helms and the CIA. New York: Alfred A. Knopf

[4] Blackstock, Paul W.(1978) and Schaf, Frank L. Jr. Intelligence, Espionage, Counterespionage And Covert Operations: A Guide to Information Sources. Detroit: Gale Research Co.

[5] Defense Intelligence School (1981). Bibliography of Intelligence Literature: A Critical And Annotated Bibliography of Open-Source Literature (7th ed, rev.). Washington, DC: Defense Intelligence School, p. 37

[6] Blackstock, Paul W. (1978) and Frank L. Schaf, Jr. Intelligence, Espionage, Counterespionage, And Covert Operations: A Guide to Information Sources. Detroit: Gale Research Co., p.


This entry was posted in CIA and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to The Real CIA

  1. Pingback: The Armies of Ignorance | Intelligence Analysis and Reporting

  2. Pingback: The Bay of Pigs | Intelligence Analysis and Reporting

  3. Pingback: Donovan and the CIA | Intelligence Analysis and Reporting

  4. Pingback: Bay of Pigs The Untold Story | Intelligence Analysis and Reporting

  5. Pingback: Intelligence, Espionage, Counterespionage And Covert Operations | Intelligence Analysis and Reporting

  6. Pingback: Utilization of Intelligence chapter 5 | Intelligence Analysis and Reporting

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s