CIA—The Inside Story

Title:                      CIA—The Inside Story

Author:                 Andrew Tully

Tully, Andrew (1962). CIA: The Inside Story. New York: William Morrow

LCCN:    62008549

JK468.I6 T8


Date Updated:  March 29, 2016

Reviewed by George C. Constantinides[1]

Tully’s book is important in the history of intelligence because it represented a break with the past by being a full-length, critical look at CIA and its activities by a writer not ideologically identified with the left or the Communist point of view. Tully declared it his intention to attempt a “balance sheet” of CIA. He concluded CIA had not always performed well and had made errors he regarded as serious enough to threaten world peace. Consequently, CIA’s influence on U.S. foreign policy concerned him. Allen Dulles, then director of CIA, attacked this book for what he deemed its errors and distortions and felt Tully had not been careful about the sources and material he used. There is no question that the work is loaded with errors. Some are explainable by the fact that accurate information on CIA operations was not that easy to come by at that time, but other errors are indicative of sloppy research. Examples: he believes SOE was still in existence seventeen years after its dissolution and makes MI5 the British intelligence service. Although he supposedly knew many deep secrets of CIA, he was not aware Radio Free Europe (RFE) was then under CIA control, not one of the best-kept secrets. The real fault, however, lies in the author’s failure to distinguish between justified criticism of CIA errors and criticisms of its allegedly uncontrolled operations. The latter he saw as resulting in the formulation of policy by the agency (operations BLACKSTOCK and others called covert operations). He confused the two and as an outsider was never in a position to know if and when CIA acted on its own. Questions that Tully raised about CIA’s efficiency and the propriety of some of its activities presaged similar and even tougher queries in the future when the consensus on CIA and U.S. foreign and national security and intelligence matters had broken down. So, too, his criticisms appear mild in comparison to what appeared in other books and other places in the years to follow. This book helped usher in a transitional period in U.S. attitudes toward intelligence; but its many mistakes limit its significance to that. Blackstock’s opinion[2] was that it was “astringent informed and well-meaning criticism” of U.S. political warfare policy and of specific CIA operations. Obviously, its errors and collection of facts and stories from the outside do not justify the title’s “Inside.”

This is a review by the Defense Intelligence School.[3]

This book was the first full-length, purportedly factual, expose of CIA and its activities. As Director Dulles wrote Tully’s publisher, the work is “a compilation of rumor, hearsay and republication of previously published speculation about the CIA…. it contains gross inaccuracies and distortions.”

Comments from Paul W. Blackstock and Frank L. Schaf[4]

Tully, Andrew. “The Hollow Nickel.” CIA: The Inside Story, pp. 230-42

A journalistic account of the counterintelligence cooperation between the CIA and FBI in the detection and exposure of Soviet espionage agent Rudolf lnvanovich Abel.

[1] Constantinides, George C. (1983). Intelligence and Espionage: An Analytical Bibliography. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, pp. 457-458

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

[3] 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. 63

[4] 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.

One Response to CIA—The Inside Story

  1. Pingback: Company Confessions | 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