One of the things I realized while researching The Farm is that the CIA spends a lot of time ignoring its own middle initial. Rather than gathering intelligence on other countries, and helping us know them better, it instead takes the role of global “fixer,” and dives into situations it knows nothing about because it’s convinced it can make them better. And here to illustrate that fact is Duane Clarridge, former head of the CIA’s Latin division:
Update: Favorite Clarridge quote, from Tim Weiner’s excellent (and depressing) Legacy of Ashes:
All of his [former Director of Central Intelligence William Webster] training as a lawyer and a judge was that you didn’t do illegal things. He could neer accept that this is exactly what the CIA does when it operates abroad. We break the laws of their countries. It’s how we collect information. It’s why we’re in business. Webster had an insurmountable problem with the raison d’etre of the organization he was brought in to run.