Once upon a time, the CIA took the risks necessary to protect America. “If you fall,” went its mantra, “fall forward.” In Beyond Repair, one of the agency's most respected former operatives mounts a scathing critique of the preparedness of today's CIA—and, specifically, the Directorate of Operations at its core—to defend America against the dizzying dangers of the twenty-first century. In a compelling blend of analysis and fascinating true-life stories, Charles S. Faddis argues that the CIA has devolved into a low-risk or, often, no-risk bureaucracy of careerists whose mantra might be summed up thus: “Don't fall.”
“Every senior officer I know in the CIA carries personal liability insurance,” writes Faddis, “because of the fear of being sued for actions taken in the line of duty.” And, he notes, no operatives who commanded CIA teams in Afghanistan have been promoted to key positions. Why? Because they operate within a system that is no longer built to encourage and reward the risk-taking and creativity they excelled at.
Faddis discusses the birth of the CIA, how the agency works from the inside out, why things have gone awry—and how to go about building a new entity that will maintain the midnight watch, so Americans can sleep well at night.
“Faddis, a career CIA operations officer, pulls no punches in this provocative critique of the iconic and dysfunctional spy agency. . . . In a world where threats are multiplying and becoming more complex, [his] bleak assessment of the CIA should be required reading.”
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“If you want to know what's wrong with today's CIA—and how to fix it—this book is the place to start. Sam Faddis . . . describes the timidity of station chiefs terrified of getting blamed for mistakes, the obduracy of ambassadors who don't want flaps, the ‘we're all winners here' training rules better suited for a kindergarten playground than intelligence work, the reluctance to hire and promote people who understand leadership. You read Beyond Repair and you realize: No wonder the CIA is screwed up! Faddis proposes a bold cure: Remake the CIA in the image of the World War II spy service, the OSS—smaller, flatter, tougher, smarter, meaner. If people would read this book and understand its message, it could save lives.”—David Ignatius, Washington Post columnist and author of Body of Lies
“Drawing on his unique experience as a CIA operations officer, Charles Faddis makes a compelling case in Beyond Repair that the CIA must return to its Office of Strategic Services (OSS) roots to provide the United States with the intelligence it needs. Faddis has a deep appreciation for the OSS and great admiration for its legendary leader, General William J. Donovan, who frequently told OSS personnel that they could not succeed without taking chances. Faddis has taken such chances himself. General Donovan could have written this book. I know he would have read it and agreed wholeheartedly with its conclusion.”
—Charles Pinck, President of The OSS Society