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Company Man: Thirty Years of Controversy and Crisis in the CIA Hardcover – 7 Jan 2014

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner Book Company (7 Jan. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451673930
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451673937
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 3 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,145,144 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Review

""Company Man" is simply the most revealing insider account to date of the top ranks of the CIA during its most historic--and controversial--era. There is news and humor in every chapter. Frankly, I often found myself wondering why the CIA's pre-publication censors signed off on some of it."--Dana Priest, two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist for the Washington Post and co-author of Top S

"Must reading for today's political junkies.... As insider looks go, this one is about as close-up as you can get."--Booklist

"Emphatically a book for anyone who cares about the security of this country and about how the political classes treat those charged with protecting it."--Michael Mukasey "Wall Street Journal "

"[A] remarkable career... Rizzo is a good story-teller... I liked this book very much .... one man whose story is wrapped up in the many twists and turns of the CIA's modern history of triumph, failure, and scandal, and whose personal story offers an important window into why those triumphs, failures, and scandals probably can't ever be separated."--Benjamin Wittes, Lawfare Blog

"Company Man is simply the most revealing insider account to date of the top ranks of the CIA during its most historic--and controversial--era. There is news and humor in every chapter. Frankly, I often found myself wondering why the CIA's pre-publication censors signed off on some of it."--Dana Priest, two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist for the Washington Post and co-author of Top Secret America

"Rizzo's memoir often reads like a good spy novel."--Andrea Mitchell, NBC News

Company Man is simply the most revealing insider account to date of the top ranks of the CIA during its most historic--and controversial--era. There is news and humor in every chapter. Frankly, I often found myself wondering why the CIA's pre-publication censors signed off on some of it. --Dana Priest, two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist for the Washington Post and co-author of Top Secret America"

Must reading for today s political junkies . As insider looks go, this one is about as close-up as you can get. --Booklist"

[A] revealing and funny memoir . Rizzo provides a clear, detailed account of his decision-making and his role in the C.I.A. s interrogation program . Rizzo s memoir is an important contribution. --Steve Coll "The New Yorker Daily Comment ""

[A] remarkable career Rizzo is a good story-teller I liked this book very much . one man whose story is wrapped up in the many twists and turns of the CIA s modern history of triumph, failure, and scandal, and whose personal story offers an important window into why those triumphs, failures, and scandals probably can t ever be separated. --Benjamin Wittes, Lawfare Blog"

CIA Directors have come and gone over the past several decades. There were two constants at the agency: crises and John Rizzo in the Office of General Counsel helping to manage them. A larger than life character, with great style, nobody worked harder to protect the nation and the men and women of CIA than John Rizzo. Company Man offers fresh insights into the some of the most highly debated national security issues of our time, from the perspective of an honest and dedicated public servant. It is a must read for those trying to understand some very important moments in the history of the CIA. --George J. Tenet, Former Director of Central Intelligence"

A wonderful book by a man who was in the eye of the storm for thirty-four years. Told with humor and unfailing appreciation for the politics of espionage, Company Man is the best book out there on the modern CIA. --Robert Baer, New York Times-bestselling author of See No Evil and The Perfect Kill"

John Rizzo has seen it all in his 30 years as a CIA lawyer, and he tells the truth in this absorbing, well-written memoir of his life as a Company Man. Think of Tom Hagen, the Corleone family lawyer in "The Godfather," and you begin to get the flavor of what Rizzo had seen and heard. He draws vivid portraits of the agency's great characters and their sometimes outrageous schemes. The best thing about the book is that you sense Rizzo never stopped being a lawyer or trying to give his clients good, straight-up advice. If you're interested in the inside life of the CIA, read this book! --David Ignatius, Washington Post columnist and New York Times-bestselling author of Body of Lies"

"John Rizzo, formerly the CIA's top attorney, has superbly captured the scope of his fascinating career in Company Man. Not only does he cover the major espionage and covert action of the decades he served, he also conveys an enduring and critical lesson for all liberal democracies--the centrality of the rule of law at the nexus of foreign policy and intelligence. John, who always provided clear and honest counsel to the CIA's Clandestine Service, has crafted an important book with the same sense of intellectual integrity and duty."--Ambassador Henry A. Crumpton, New York Times-bestselling author of The Art of Intelligence, Chairman & CEO of Crumpton Group LLC and 24-year veteran of the CIA's Clandestine Ser

When the CIA was in trouble, big trouble, it called John Rizzo knows where the bodies are buried because he helped stash them. Company Man reads like the CIA's conscience: what the CIA was thinking as it shifted from collecting information to killing terrorists after 9/11. Why did the CIA violently interrogate suspects and then destroy the evidence? Rizzo knows, and he's talking. --Richard Engel, NBC News Chief Foreign Correspondent and author of War Journal"

Revealing Whatever conclusion you draw, Rizzo's book makes an important contribution to history and the debate over interrogation . Company Man is tailor-made for CIA buffs. Rizzo's career as an agency lawyer spanned the decades from Iran-Contra to drones, with Russian turncoat Aldrich Ames, the rise of al-Qaida . His book manages to strike notes that are both earnest and candid. That alone sets Company Man apart in the genre. --Matt Apuzzo "Associated Press ""

Rizzo saw and heard a lot. The astonishing roster of his bosses begins with William Colby, followed by George H.?W. Bush, Stansfield Turner, William Casey, William Webster, Robert Gates, James Woolsey, John Deutch, George Tenet, Porter Goss, and Leon Panetta. Rizzo s portraits of these individuals in action some of them legendary figures in the history of American espionage make this memoir worth the price of admission. But Company Man also holds interest for the light it sheds on a variety of quasi-secret subjects, some of them highly controversial. --Gabriel Schoenfeld "The Weekly Standard ""

An exceptionally valuable resource. What this book does well, among other things, is explain the inner workings of the processes of the most controversial CIA programs of the past decade . Reading John Rizzo s book, and being more familiar with the scope of law within the area of national security law would help citizens and reporters to process the actions and accusations of our nation s elected and appointed leaders . Company Man is an excellent read."--Tobias T. Gibson, Law and Politics Book Review"

"CIA Directors have come and gone over the past several decades. There were two constants at the agency: crises and John Rizzo in the Office of General Counsel helping to manage them. A larger than life character, with great style, nobody worked harder to protect the nation and the men and women of CIA than John Rizzo. Company Man offers fresh insights into the some of the most highly debated national security issues of our time, from the perspective of an honest and dedicated public servant. It is a must read for those trying to understand some very important moments in the history of the CIA."--George J. Tenet, Former Director of Central Intelligence

"A wonderful book by a man who was in the eye of the storm for thirty-four years. Told with humor and unfailing appreciation for the politics of espionage, Company Man is the best book out there on the modern CIA."--Robert Baer, New York Times-bestselling author of See No Evil and The Perfect Kill

"John Rizzo has seen it all in his 30 years as a CIA lawyer, and he tells the truth in this absorbing, well-written memoir of his life as a Company Man. Think of Tom Hagen, the Corleone family lawyer in "The Godfather," and you begin to get the flavor of what Rizzo had seen and heard. He draws vivid portraits of the agency's great characters and their sometimes outrageous schemes. The best thing about the book is that you sense Rizzo never stopped being a lawyer or trying to give his clients good, straight-up advice. If you're interested in the inside life of the CIA, read this book!"--David Ignatius, Washington Post columnist and New York Times-bestselling author of Body of Lies

"When the CIA was in trouble, big trouble, it called John... Rizzo knows where the bodies are buried because he helped stash them. Company Man reads like the CIA's conscience: what the CIA was thinking as it shifted from collecting information to killing terrorists after 9/11. Why did the CIA violently interrogate suspects and then destroy the evidence? Rizzo knows, and he's talking."--Richard Engel, NBC News Chief Foreign Correspondent and author of War Journal

"[A] revealing and funny memoir.... Rizzo provides a clear, detailed account of his decision-making and his role in the C.I.A.'s interrogation program.... Rizzo's memoir is an important contribution."--Steve Coll "The New Yorker "Daily Comment" "

"Revealing... Whatever conclusion you draw, Rizzo's book makes an important contribution to history and the debate over interrogation.... Company Man is tailor-made for CIA buffs. Rizzo's career as an agency lawyer spanned the decades from Iran-Contra to drones, with Russian turncoat Aldrich Ames, the rise of al-Qaida.... His book manages to strike notes that are both earnest and candid. That alone sets Company Man apart in the genre."--Matt Apuzzo "Associated Press "

"Few books have this scope or insider perspective on the CIA. Rizzo seems to have been there for everything -- from Iran-contra to Valerie Plame to the arrival of President Obama. And that makes Company Man a front-row seat on the hidden world of intelligence over the past 30 years.... Rizzo rose from humble beginnings to become a fixture in national intelligence.... An atlas to navigate the dark, murky morality that governs the business of intelligence."--Dina Temple-Raston "Washington Post "

"Rizzo saw and heard a lot. The astonishing roster of his bosses begins with William Colby, followed by George H.?W. Bush, Stansfield Turner, William Casey, William Webster, Robert Gates, James Woolsey, John Deutch, George Tenet, Porter Goss, and Leon Panetta. Rizzo's portraits of these individuals in action--some of them legendary figures in the history of American espionage--make this memoir worth the price of admission. But Company Man also holds interest for the light it sheds on a variety of quasi-secret subjects, some of them highly controversial."--Gabriel Schoenfeld "The Weekly Standard "

"An exceptionally valuable resource. What this book does well, among other things, is explain the inner workings of the processes of the most controversial CIA programs of the past decade.... Reading John Rizzo's book, and being more familiar with the scope of law within the area of national security law would help citizens and reporters to process the actions and accusations of our nation's elected and appointed leaders.... Company Man is an excellent read."--Tobias T. Gibson, Law and Politics Book Review

-CIA Directors have come and gone over the past several decades. There were two constants at the agency: crises and John Rizzo in the Office of General Counsel helping to manage them. A larger than life character, with great style, nobody worked harder to protect the nation and the men and women of CIA than John Rizzo. Company Man offers fresh insights into the some of the most highly debated national security issues of our time, from the perspective of an honest and dedicated public servant. It is a must read for those trying to understand some very important moments in the history of the CIA.---George J. Tenet, Former Director of Central Intelligence

-A wonderful book by a man who was in the eye of the storm for thirty-four years. Told with humor and unfailing appreciation for the politics of espionage, Company Man is the best book out there on the modern CIA.---Robert Baer, New York Times-bestselling author of See No Evil and The Perfect Kill

-John Rizzo has seen it all in his 30 years as a CIA lawyer, and he tells the truth in this absorbing, well-written memoir of his life as a Company Man. Think of Tom Hagen, the Corleone family lawyer in -The Godfather,- and you begin to get the flavor of what Rizzo had seen and heard. He draws vivid portraits of the agency's great characters and their sometimes outrageous schemes. The best thing about the book is that you sense Rizzo never stopped being a lawyer or trying to give his clients good, straight-up advice. If you're interested in the inside life of the CIA, read this book!---David Ignatius, Washington Post columnist and New York Times-bestselling author of Body of Lies

-John Rizzo, formerly the CIA's top attorney, has superbly captured the scope of his fascinating career in Company Man. Not only does he cover the major espionage and covert action of the decades he served, he also conveys an enduring and critical lesson for all liberal democracies--the centrality of the rule of law at the nexus of foreign policy and intelligence. John, who always provided clear and honest counsel to the CIA's Clandestine Service, has crafted an important book with the same sense of intellectual integrity and duty.---Ambassador Henry A. Crumpton, New York Times-bestselling author of The Art of Intelligence, Chairman & CEO of Crumpton Group LLC and 24-year veteran of the CIA's Clandestine Ser

-When the CIA was in trouble, big trouble, it called John... Rizzo knows where the bodies are buried because he helped stash them. Company Man reads like the CIA's conscience: what the CIA was thinking as it shifted from collecting information to killing terrorists after 9/11. Why did the CIA violently interrogate suspects and then destroy the evidence? Rizzo knows, and he's talking.---Richard Engel, NBC News Chief Foreign Correspondent and author of War Journal

-Company Man is simply the most revealing insider account to date of the top ranks of the CIA during its most historic--and controversial--era. There is news and humor in every chapter. Frankly, I often found myself wondering why the CIA's pre-publication censors signed off on some of it.---Dana Priest, two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist for the Washington Post and co-author of Top Secret America

-Must reading for today's political junkies.... As insider looks go, this one is about as close-up as you can get.---Booklist

-[A] revealing and funny memoir.... Rizzo provides a clear, detailed account of his decision-making and his role in the C.I.A.'s interrogation program.... Rizzo's memoir is an important contribution.---Steve Coll -The New Yorker -Daily Comment- -

-Revealing... Whatever conclusion you draw, Rizzo's book makes an important contribution to history and the debate over interrogation.... Company Man is tailor-made for CIA buffs. Rizzo's career as an agency lawyer spanned the decades from Iran-Contra to drones, with Russian turncoat Aldrich Ames, the rise of al-Qaida.... His book manages to strike notes that are both earnest and candid. That alone sets Company Man apart in the genre.---Matt Apuzzo -Associated Press -

-Few books have this scope or insider perspective on the CIA. Rizzo seems to have been there for everything -- from Iran-contra to Valerie Plame to the arrival of President Obama. And that makes Company Man a front-row seat on the hidden world of intelligence over the past 30 years.... Rizzo rose from humble beginnings to become a fixture in national intelligence.... An atlas to navigate the dark, murky morality that governs the business of intelligence.---Dina Temple-Raston -Washington Post -

-Emphatically a book for anyone who cares about the security of this country and about how the political classes treat those charged with protecting it.---Michael Mukasey -Wall Street Journal -

-Rizzo's memoir often reads like a good spy novel.---Andrea Mitchell, NBC News

-Rizzo saw and heard a lot. The astonishing roster of his bosses begins with William Colby, followed by George H.?W. Bush, Stansfield Turner, William Casey, William Webster, Robert Gates, James Woolsey, John Deutch, George Tenet, Porter Goss, and Leon Panetta. Rizzo's portraits of these individuals in action--some of them legendary figures in the history of American espionage--make this memoir worth the price of admission. But Company Man also holds interest for the light it sheds on a variety of quasi-secret subjects, some of them highly controversial.---Gabriel Schoenfeld -The Weekly Standard -

-[A] remarkable career... Rizzo is a good story-teller... I liked this book very much .... one man whose story is wrapped up in the many twists and turns of the CIA's modern history of triumph, failure, and scandal, and whose personal story offers an important window into why those triumphs, failures, and scandals probably can't ever be separated.---Benjamin Wittes, Lawfare Blog

-An exceptionally valuable resource. What this book does well, among other things, is explain the inner workings of the processes of the most controversial CIA programs of the past decade.... Reading John Rizzo's book, and being more familiar with the scope of law within the area of national security law would help citizens and reporters to process the actions and accusations of our nation's elected and appointed leaders.... Company Man is an excellent read.---Tobias T. Gibson, Law and Politics Book Review --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

'The most influential career lawyer in CIA history.'

(Los Angeles Times)

'An interesting ... look at that worrisome Washington machine.'

(Paul Robinson Qantas Magazine)

'[A] gripping, affecting and revelatory story.'

(Judith Armstrong Sunday Age)

‘A larger than life character, with great style, nobody worked harder to protect the nation and the men and women of CIA than John Rizzo. Company Man offers fresh insights into the some of the most highly debated national security issues of our time, from the perspective of an honest and dedicated public servant ... A must read.’

(George J. Tenet, former director of central intelligence)

‘A wonderful book by a man who was in the eye of the storm for thirty-four years. Told with humor and unfailing appreciation for the politics of espionage, Company Man is the best book out there on the modern CIA.’

(Robert Baer, New York Times-bestselling author of See No Evil and The Perfect Kill)

'John Rizzo, formerly the CIA's top attorney, has superbly captured the scope of his fascinating career in Company Man. Not only does he cover the major espionage and covert action of the decades he served, he also conveys an enduring and critical lesson for all liberal democracies ― the centrality of the rule of law at the nexus of foreign policy and intelligence. John, who always provided clear and honest counsel to the CIA's Clandestine Service, has crafted an important book with the same sense of intellectual integrity and duty.'

(Ambassador Henry A. Crumpton, New York Times-bestselling author of The Art of Intelligence, Chairman & CEO of Crumpton Group LLC and 24-year veteran of the CIA's Clandestine Service)

'John Rizzo has seen it all in his 30 years as a CIA lawyer, and he tells the truth in this absorbing, well-written memoir of his life as a Company Man. Think of Tom Hagen, the Corleone family lawyer in "The Godfather," and you begin to get the flavor of what Rizzo had seen and heard. He draws vivid portraits of the agency's great characters and their sometimes outrageous schemes. The best thing about the book is that you sense Rizzo never stopped being a lawyer or trying to give his clients good, straight-up advice. If you're interested in the inside life of the CIA, read this book!'

(David Ignatius, Washington Post columnist and New York Times-bestselling author of Body of Lies)

'When the CIA was in trouble, big trouble, it called John… Rizzo knows where the bodies are buried because he helped stash them. Body Counts reads like the CIA's conscience: what the CIA was thinking as it shifted from collecting information to killing terrorists after 9/11. Why did the CIA violently interrogate suspects and then destroy the evidence? Rizzo knows, and he's talking.'

(Richard Engel, NBC News Chief Foreign Correspondent and author of War Journal)

'Company Man is simply the most revealing insider account to date of the top ranks of the CIA during its most historic ― and controversial ― era. There is news and humor in every chapter. Frankly, I often found myself wondering why the CIA's pre-publication censors signed off on some of it.'

(Dana Priest, two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist for the Washington Post and co-author of Top Secret America) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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'Company Man' doesn't offer much in terms of operational details about the CIA's work but it is definitely interesting when the author discusses the CIA's relationship with Congress and the US Government which is largely what the book is about. The dominance of this angle obviously has to do with the work of the author in the CIA's Office of General Counsel (OGC) over a period of more than thirty years. The book covers a lot of ground from the mid 1970s to the beginning of the Obama administration and Rizzo has interesting things to say about practically all the scandals the CIA was involved in over this period, including older ones like Iran-Contra. He starts off with the story of the notorious 'torture tapes' which contained video recordings of the water boarding sessions of the well-known Al-Qaeda operative Abu Zubaydah and which ended up destroyed by CIA officials. Rizzo writes, interestingly, that Abu Zubaydah was not waterboarded (i.e. strapped to the board for a session) 83 times, as many of the CIA's critics have said, but had water splashed on him 83 times which is not the same, of course. He also offers many details about the by now well-known story of the 'torture memo's', which were signed off by officials of the Department of Justice under George W. Bush and gave the CIA legal justificaton to carry out the notorious 'Enhanced Interrrogation Techniques' (EITs). By the time these memo's became public under the newly-installed Obama Administration, the Department of Justice officials who had signed off on them earlier had moved on to positions outside government and the CIA, as has happened so often in its history, was left to carry the blame under a new administration.Read more ›
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars 104 reviews
35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding memoir of premier intelligence lawyer 23 Jan. 2014
By Fred Manget - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
John Rizzo's book, "Company Man", is much like the author himself: smart, insightful, wry, self-deprecating, funny, and charming. I spent a quarter-century working for, with, and around John Rizzo at CIA, and I recommend the book to anyone who would like an insider's view of some of the most remarkable and now public national security episodes at the highest levels of the U.S. government during the last thirty years.

Rizzo arrived at CIA in 1976 as a dark-haired naif with a vague notion that intelligence law might be more interesting than the drudgery at the U.S. Customs Service in the Treasury Department that he had been doing fresh out of law school.

He was right about that. He left thirty-plus years later with his hair white and his personal file full of some of the most fascinating things a lawyer could ever do.

He almost immediately began a long and mutual love affair with the directorate at CIA whose mission includes acquiring secrets, catching spies, and stopping terrorists. It has been known by various names, most of the time being called the Directorate of Operations (the "DO") and now clumsily relabeled the National Clandestine Service. He rose up through the ranks of the career attorneys at CIA by dint of three characteristics lacking in most lawyers: a sense of humor, good nature, and an uncanny sense of how to successfully maneuver among a cacophony of competing equity holders both inside and outside of the Agency. He was a true adept.

His career was bracketed from beginning to end by deep involvement in the law, lore, and politics of covert action, much beloved by the seven presidents he served. The list of CIA activities he describes in his book reads like a Tolstoy novel: the Church Committee, William Casey, the Iran-Contra Affair, the Ames spy case, the rise of Al Qaeda, the 911 attacks, Valerie Plame, and the world-wide counterterrorist activities of the Agency.

And he was there, unlike a lot of others who never set foot at CIA or had any access to classified information. For example, how could Tim Weiner write a credible book purporting to be a history of the Agency without authorized access to any classified information? He didn't even get the meaning of the title of his book right. According to Agency historians who looked up the actual quote, "A Legacy of Ashes" was a phrase President Eisenhower directed at the military intelligence establishment, not CIA.

Rizzo's book does not shy away from his most controversial assignment related to enhanced interrogation techniques and treatment of high value detainees. The introduction of the book is titled, "The Tale of the Torture Tapes," and it provides the most detailed and accurate description of a program authorized by the president, found legal by the Department of Justice, and agreed to by the leadership of the intelligence oversight committees and the House and Senate. This ultimately scuppered his nomination to be the CIA's General Counsel, a Senate-confirmed position. His description of the process, decision-making, and agonizing that went into the establishment, oversight, and review of the program is both the most accurate to date and the most chilling, not because of the techniques used but rather the effect it had on highly dedicated and conscientious civil servants who carried it out.

When your lawyers have to get lawyers, you might as well pack up and leave.

The most striking parts of the book to an old hand like me are his wonderful descriptions of the many characters he ran into over the many years: Bill Casey, Stan Sporkin, George Tenet, Yuri Nosenko, Dewey Clarridge, Cofer Black, John Bellinger, Pat Fitzgerald, John Deutch, and a host of others, including the traitor Aldrich Ames.

Rizzo's interactions with members of Congress, including the shabby treatment he received during his confirmation process, should be required reading for any lawyer or policy-maker with designs on saving the world in Washington. Rizzo was entirely too polite in his book. Read Bob Gates's descriptions of Congress in his book, "Duty": Members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee were "rude, nasty, and stupid." Senators were "hypocritical and obtuse." And the most complete: "I saw most of Congress as uncivil, incompetent at fulfilling their basic constitutional responsibilities...micromanagerial, parochial, hypocritical, egotistical, thin-skinned and prone to put self (and re-election) before country."

With the exception of Porter Goss and maybe David Boren, that's about right, from my years (including military service) working for eight presidents, eleven administrations, nine DCIs/ directors of CIA, and ten CIA general counsels.

As for Ron Wyden, who is much in the news lately and who seemed to take a personal dislike to Rizzo and the lead in unfairly trashing his nomination and ability--well, for someone who looks like a badly-aged Howdy-Doody, he's a perfect representative of those spineless dweebs infesting U.S. politics who would have been feebly waving their ACLU cards as the Soviet jackboots came up their streets and the mushroom cloud blossomed over Washington, all the while bleating, "Our government is after your liberties!"

If you want the views and memories of an actual insider participant in CIA history, as opposed to ignorant outsiders, read this book. It has as companions several other good memoirs written by Rizzo's contemporaries: "The Art of Intelligence" by Ambassador Hank Crumpton, "Hard Measures" by Jose Rodriguez, “At the Center of the Storm" by George Tenet, "Circle of Treason" by Sandy Grimes and Jeanne Vertefeuille.

All honorable, distinguished, and unabashed patriots.

And they were actually there.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Three Sour Grapes 13 Feb. 2014
By Hazel S. Bray - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have just finished reading the Reviews by NYT, Washn Post , and Boston Globe and their remarks leave me with a sour- grape taste in my mouth concerning all three. Personally, I look for Company Man to become a Best Seller in short order, despite all three newspapers' snide remarks. This is a "must read" for anyone of the general public who have the slightest interest in what goes on within the bowels if the Central Intelligence Agency, even after it has survived unknown, more juicy deletions by the CIA censorship process which all X-CIA authors must endure.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great point of context. 2 Feb. 2014
By dennis landry - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
John Rizzo first came to my attention when the Obama Administration released the "torture memos". John Rizzo played an integral part in that process. It was his role in this process that motivated me to read the book for additional background into that process, the book however discussed the entire sweep of a career of over 30 years. The true message of this book is that in the vast majority of cases the CIA is a highly accountable organization with a keen sense of legalities. If you believe, mindlessly, that the CIA is a bunch of rogue James Bond types you'll be sadly disappointed. While every large organization has it's problems and its problem people it also has many people of integrity like John Rizzo. This is by no means a typical 'tell all' book if your interested in not only policy but the process of implementing policy you'll find it interesting and highly informative. It also offers insight into the process of Congressional 'oversight' and how politicized and potentially ineffective it is.

I found it to be excellent in the sense of providing the reader with a sense of context and I was left with the impression that Mr. Rizzo was being as straightforward as it is possible to be in writing a book about an essentially sensitive organization. The book clearly reflects Mr. Rizzo's personality. I'd like to have a beer with Mr. Rizzo.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The spy job you'd REALLY want! 1 May 2015
By Lanny - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The problem with being a ground-level spy in the intelligence business is that you are only privy to the "need to know" secrets that you directly work with. To get the big picture view with access to any and all juicy details, you'd have to be President or......in-house counsel for the CIA.

John Rizzo knew EVERY skeleton in EVERY closet in his long career at CIA because it was his JOB to know!

Anyone who has ever watched corporate lawyers in action know that the field is littered with legal beagles who specialize in advising their superiors on how to "drive 43 mph in a 45 mph zone." Playing safe is not something you get to do, however, when you are trying to balance law, critical foreign policy objectives and operational effectiveness wherein millions of lives may hang in the balance.

Rizzo provides the reader with one of the most comprehensive historical perspectives on both the agency and numerous Presidential administrations from the vantage point of one of the most fascinating and pressure-packed professional careers imaginable.

Great stuff.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Never Met a Colleague He Didn't Like 23 Mar. 2014
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The vitriolic reviews have nothing to do with the substance of this book that reveals Rizzo to be a very smart, very thoughtful, very positive gentleman. His characterizations of colleagues and events of his career are pithy and acute, and whether or not you agree with USG policy, its clear he and his organization were doing their best in often difficult circumstances. How easy it is to criticize twelve years after the fact of 9/11 and the Iraq invasions but policymakers, and those who implement those policies, don't have that luxury. One wishes that from time to time Rizzo were less kindly toward some of his colleagues, and had a bit more of Gates' sharp tongue when it comes to calling out those who richly deserve it both on the Hill and in the building. Its particularly sad that his career ended as it did, but if there's one thing CIA officers, both in the field and at Hqs, know, its that life isn't fair and no good deed goes unpunished.
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