The Art of Intelligence

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Henry Crumpton discusses leading the CIA's global covert operations against terrorists, including al Qaeda. His book The Art of Intelligence: Lessons from a Life in the CIA's Clandestine Service, details how the campaign changed the way America wages war.


Henry Crumpton

Comments [20]


I am always amused by hypocrisy of some comments.

We all benefit from the government policies and work of our government agencies - from living in relative peace on the land taken from the previous owners or consuming resource and products that people in other lands are forced to share with or produce for us.

May. 17 2012 01:59 PM
Amy from Manhattan

Brian Ng, that's pretty much what I was thinking when the guest was saying that it was what "America" decided. When these things are done in secrecy, how can the country as a whole be making decisions about what it doesn't even know is happening?

And Hugh Sansom, I agree about Leonard's not pressing the questioning further. For 1 thing, there are time limits on a show like this, & the q's. he went on to were worth asking too. For another, he repeated the q. enough & put it in terms that made it clear what the guest's position was.

May. 17 2012 01:34 PM

Hey jaggerbuttz~

The US did a terrific job "liberating" the indigenous peoples of North America of both, their land AND their lives!!


Talk to a few of the survivors of US-installed neoliberalism in Central and South America...

Your ideological, rose-colored glasses continue to obfuscate your perception of fundamental facts.

Simultaneously, boring and exhausting, as usual.

May. 17 2012 01:15 PM
Michael from long beach

World Trade center 93 bombing was performed with the extensive aid of Emad Salem a highly paid informant/provacateur.This is not speculation or paranoid conspiracy theorizing.Salem recorded himself and his FBI handlers.this came out in court and Dan Rather reported on it .This fact for some reason is not widely known .without much trouble you can hear the tapes Salem made or the transcripts.Search/type FBI foreknowledge or Emad salem .the tapes indicate rather strongly that the FBI was well aware in advance of the bombing and was supposed to substitute inert materials and did not.

May. 17 2012 01:08 PM
Brian Ng

The guest commented that it is the choice by all Americans to decide how we should get our intelligence (whether to use torture or not) and not the president or Congress, and such. But if no one is briefing us what and how our intelligence services are gathering services now, how can we decide? How can we be accountable? It took few years before the Bush administration admitted to using water boarding on some of the prisoners. And rendition is still not discussed. So, it is not so surprising that Americans are surprised when other countries hate America and we don't understand why -because we don't know how some Americans are treating other countries.

May. 17 2012 01:07 PM
Amy from Manhattan

I was surprised to hear Mr. Crumpton say the Clinton admin. didn't pay much attention to al-Qaeda after the attacks in the '90s. They retaliated for the embassy bombings *& were accused of "wag the dog" distractions), & I thought that during the 9/11 hearings there was testimony that they tried to bring the incoming Bush admin's. attention to the report that said al-Qaeda (or bin Laden?) was determined to strike w/in the US.

May. 17 2012 12:53 PM
they know it already from they know that already, too

Yeesh, this guy's giving me the willies. Particularly chilling is his blithe dismissal of the killing of innocents that seems to be an inherent result of the widening use of dronestrikes as the preferential method of engagement in otherwise hard-to-reach areas.
I'm glad he's on our side. But I'm sorry we have to be on that side.

May. 17 2012 12:52 PM
Henry Escobar from Elizabeth NJ

Yesterday, a reporter was shot dead and found dressed as a cop in Honduras.
Elaborate on how you used to teach those disapiring tactics down there under former embasador Negroponte.

May. 17 2012 12:50 PM
john from office

Lem, if we had killed Osama before 911, you would have had a show about the American crime of a preemptive strike. That is why

May. 17 2012 12:50 PM
e.s.b from NYC


Please ask your guest if he thinks the cases where the CIA and NYPD have greatly aided in the execution of "terrorism" plots, from providing logistic, equipment and encouragement would be considered entrapment by the US courts.


May. 17 2012 12:45 PM

To Tom LI --

I'm very sympathetic to the need for tough questions, but in fairness to Mr. Lopate, however interesting the tough questions are, the interviewer has to elicit the subject's position, not press his own. And, purely from a strategic point, there's nothing to be gained from asking a question that absolutely won't be answered.

By contrast, if this were a press conference, and the subject were an active decision maker, then there is a lot to be said for putting him (or her) on the spot.

May. 17 2012 12:43 PM

Jose Rodriguez was a whisker's breadth away from being prosecuted for his crimes.

Sounds like Henry Crumpton endorses those crimes. This is sufficient to undermine everything he has said in this interview, to the extent that he has said anything substantive (which isn't much).

May. 17 2012 12:41 PM
Wayne Johnson Ph.D> from Bk

Excellent question from Leonard on why we are suspicious of the CIA? More

May. 17 2012 12:38 PM
tom LI

Leonard ain't gonna ask the hard Q's. 1. He's not that tough, 2. This interview is already cleared on what he could ask.

CIA - otherwise known as the OGA, Other Government Agency.

May. 17 2012 12:28 PM

Didn't Mr. Lopate have William Binney, Jacob Appelbaum, and Laura Poitras on recently? They offer a really interesting counterpoint to Mr. Crumpton, who offers little more than mildly-stated sabre-rattling for the CIA.

May. 17 2012 12:27 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

America liberated 3 BILLION people from the shackles of Fascism, Communism and Socialism, and this has been costly. But the US has generally been on the side of freedom, but sometimes has had to make compromises by dealing with dictators as well, particularly during the Cold War.

Overall, the US has done a great job in liberating people. But it's a never-ending job.

May. 17 2012 12:24 PM

Come on . . . In many instances the CIA has _been_ the terrorist — Angola (to which Mr. Lopate alluded), Central and South America, the Middle and Far East. The CIA has committed crimes under international law. The CIA has tortured people. CIA drone pilots are _arguably_ illegal combatants under law the US itself endorses.

Just as the CIA does 'professionally' (so to speak), Mr. Crumpton gets all the upside and none of the down because we are barred from checking his story.

May. 17 2012 12:22 PM

If Mr. Crumpton were offering any beyond complete fiction, what possible way would we have to check? He has the convenient excuse, bolstered by the revoltingly secretive Obama administration, of the "need to know."

I find interviews like this almost completely useless. Mr. Crumpton states the obvious. He effectively avoids issues even when they are already in the public domain. . . . Again, much like Obama, who has sought to prosecute people for discussing issues already publicly known.

May. 17 2012 12:17 PM
Wayne Johnson Ph.D. from Bk

Can you ask him why the CIA is always on the side of the institutions and countries which exploit their people. Why are we always on the wrong side?

May. 17 2012 12:16 PM

Henry Crumpton notes that in some countries the intelligence services are used to stay in power.

An obvious question is whether our US government _could_ stay in power if the people were better informed on the crimes of the CIA, NSA, DIA, etc., etc. (There are nearly 30 distinct 'intelligence' agencies in the US.)

The retention rates for the CIA are high because there's no downside. Congress offers little or no oversight. The public is kept in the dark. There is zero accountability.

Check out James Bamford and others on US intelligence agency crimes.

May. 17 2012 12:13 PM

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