CIA sues former officer for publishing unauthorized book

The Human Factor book cover

The Human Factor

The US Central Intelligence Agency has announced a lawsuit against a former officer who authored a book without the Agency’s prior approval. The book, The Human Factor: Inside the CIA’s Dysfunctional Intelligence Culture (published in 2008), was written by a former CIA deep cover operative going by the pseudonym Ishmael Jones. Jones first submitted the book’s manuscript, which offers a highly unsympathetic account of the CIA, to the Agency’s review board. However, when it became clear that the board’s decision would have been unfavorable, he published the book without approval, thus breaking what the CIA claims is his legal obligation to abide by the review board’s decisions. The CIA filed a lawsuit against Jones in July, but only announced it this week. It seeks access to the financial proceeds of The Human Factor, as well as to prohibit further exposés from Jones. But the author told The Associated Press that he made no financial profit from the publication of the book, and that it contains no classified material. He insisted that “CIA censors attack this book because it exposes the CIA as a place to get rich, with billions of taxpayer dollars wasted or stolen in espionage programs that produce nothing […], in violation of the CIA’s founding charter”. The CIA has refused to explain why it only announced the lawsuit this week, several months after it originally filed it. Speaking to The Washington Post’s Jeff Stein, CIA representative Paula Weiss said simply that “[c]ertain steps need to be taken before publicly discussing these kinds of legal actions”.

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Expert news and commentary on intelligence, espionage, spies and spying, by Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis and Ian Allen.

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