From the New York Times bestselling author of The Gatekeepers, an “engaging…richly textured” (The New York Times), behind-the-scenes look at what it’s like to run the world’s most powerful intelligence agency. “The best book about the CIA I’ve ever read…one hell of a story” (Christopher Buckley).
With unprecedented access to more than a dozen individuals who have made the life-and-death decisions that come with running the world’s most powerful and influential intelligence service, Chris Whipple tells the story of an agency that answers to the United States president alone, but whose activities—spying, espionage, and covert action—take place on every continent. At pivotal moments, the CIA acts as a counterforce against rogue presidents, starting in the mid-seventies with DCI Richard Helms’s refusal to conceal Richard Nixon’s criminality and through the Trump presidency when a CIA whistleblower ignited impeachment proceedings and armed insurrectionists assaulted the US Capitol.
Since its inception in 1947, the Central Intelligence Agency has been a powerful player on the world stage, operating largely in the shadows to protect American interests. For The Spymasters, Whipple conducted extensive, exclusive interviews with nearly every living CIA director, pulling back the curtain on the world’s elite spy agencies and showing how the CIA partners—or clashes—with counterparts in Britain, France, Germany, Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Russia. Topics covered in the book include attempts by presidents to use the agency for their own ends; simmering problems in the Middle East and Asia; rogue nuclear threats; and cyberwarfare.
A revelatory, well-researched history, The Spymasters recounts seven decades of CIA activity and elicits predictions about the issues—and threats—that will engage the attention of future operatives and analysts. Including eye-opening interviews with George Tenet, John Brennan, Leon Panetta, and David Petraeus, as well as those who’ve recently departed the agency, this is a timely, essential, and important contribution to current events.