Tim Weiner: Book on CIA comes under scathing attack

Historians in the News

The New York Times’ Tim Weiner has had the kind of career that most reporters can only dream of. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, Weiner’s reporting on national security issues, and particularly the CIA, has earned him the near-unanimous respect of his peers, a loyal following of readers and, of course, clout.

Last summer Weiner’s career reached yet another peak when his latest book, “Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA,” hit the New York Times best-seller list....

Yet it is Weiner’s handling of documents and sources, not to mention his book’s theme that the CIA’s record is one of almost abysmal failure, that has come under serious question by a growing cadre of critics.

The grumbling — in specialist journals, on the Web and in a flurry of e-mail among historians and investigative reporters — has gone undetected, or perhaps ignored, by the usually sensitive radar of the East Coast media, even as it now threatens to deny Weiner another Pulitzer next month.

The awards will be announced April 6.

Until recently, “Legacy of Ashes” had been considered a shoo-in. No longer.

“I can’t think of another spook book that has aroused similar passions for a long time,” says Thomas Powers, the acclaimed intelligence historian and author of “The Man Who Kept the Secrets: Richard Helms & the CIA.”...

Read entire article at CQ Politics

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