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A Question of Standing deals with recognizable events that have shaped the history of the first seventy-five years of the CIA. Unsparing in its accounts of dirty tricks and their consequences, it values the agency's intelligence and analysis work to offer balanced judgements that avoid both celebration and condemnation of the CIA.
The mission of the CIA has always been intelligence. Seventy-five years ago, in the year of its creation, the National Security Act gave the agency, uniquely in world history up to that point, a democratic mandate to pursue that mission of intelligence. It gave the CIA a special standing in the conduct of United States foreign relations. That standing diminished when successive American presidents ordered the CIA to exceed its original mission. When they tasked the agency secretly to overthrow democratic governments, the United States lost its international standing, and its command of a majority in the United Nations General Assembly. Such dubious operations, even the government's embrace of assassination and torture, did not diminish the standing of the CIA in United States public opinion. However, domestic interventions did. CIA spying on domestic protesters led to tighter congressional oversight from the 1970s on.
A Question of Standing offers a balanced narrative and perspective on recognizable episodes in the CIA's history. Famous incidents include the Bay of Pigs invasion, the War on Terror, 9/11, the weapons of mass destruction deception, the Iran estimate of 2007, the assassination of Osama bin Laden, and Fake News. The book also defends the CIA's exposure of foreign meddling in United States elections.
Running time 11 hrs 24 min