CIA Pans New Book On Agency

The Central Intelligence Agency issued a rare public defense of its record in response to a recently published--and resoundingly harsh--history of the secretive intelligence agency.

The statement blasted Legacy of Ashes, written by veteran New York Times reporter Tim Weiner, for ignoring the CIA's successes and containing numerous errors.

"Backed by selective citations, sweeping assertions, and a fascination with the negative, Weiner overlooks, minimizes, or distorts agency achievements," according to the CIA statement.

U.S. News interviewed Weiner recently about his book, which offers a sweeping history of the CIA and how presidents have used, misused, and abused the agency. Weiner noted that the book is based on thousands of internal CIA documents.

"The story they tell is one of people going up against problems they do not understand," he said. "For lack of understanding a language or a culture or a history, the missions fail-over and over again."

By Kevin Whitelaw