Good Hunting (Devine)

Good Hunting: An American Spymaster's Story
Jack Devine, 2014
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
336 pp.
ISBN-13: 9780374130329

Jack Devine ran Charlie Wilson’s War in Afghanistan. It was the largest covert action of the Cold War, and it was Devine who put the brand-new Stinger missile into the hands of the mujahideen during their war with the Soviets, paving the way to a decisive victory against the Russians.

He also pushed the CIA’s effort to run down the narcotics trafficker Pablo Escobar in Colombia. He tried to warn the director of central intelligence, George Tenet, that there was a bullet coming from Iraq with his name on it.

He was in Chile when Allende fell, and he had too much to do with Iran-Contra for his own taste, though he tried to stop it. And he tangled with Rick Ames, the KGB spy inside the CIA, and hunted Robert Hanssen, the mole in the FBI.

Good Hunting: An American Spymaster’s Story is the spellbinding memoir of Devine’s time in the Central Intelligence Agency, where he served for more than thirty years, rising to become the acting deputy director of operations, responsible for all of the CIA’s spying operations.

This is a story of intrigue and high-stakes maneuvering, all the more gripping when the fate of our geopolitical order hangs in the balance. But this book also sounds a warning to our nation’s decision makers: covert operations, not costly and devastating full-scale interventions, are the best safeguard of America’s interests worldwide.

Part memoir, part historical redress, Good Hunting debunks outright some of the myths surrounding the Agency and cautions against its misuses. Beneath the exotic allure—living abroad with his wife and six children, running operations in seven countries, and serving successive presidents from Nixon to Clinton—this is a realist, gimlet-eyed account of the Agency.

Now, as Devine sees it, the CIA is trapped within a larger bureaucracy, losing swaths of turf to the military, and, most ominous of all, is becoming overly weighted toward paramilitary operations after a decade of war. Its capacity to do what it does best—spying and covert action—has been seriously degraded. (From the publisher.)

Author Bio
Birth—November 14, 1940
Where—Pennsylvania, USA
Education—B.A., West Chester State College; M.A., Villanova University
Currently—lives in New York City, New York

Jack Devine is a veteran of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and a founding partner and President of The Arkin Group LLC.

Jack Devine’s career at the CIA spanned from the late 1960s to the early 1990s, including the fall of President Salvador Allende in Chile in 1973, the Iran-Contra scandal in the mid-1980s, and the fight to push the Soviets out of Afghanistan in the late 1980s. Devine retired after serving as both the Acting Director and Associate Director of the CIA’s operations outside the United States, a capacity in which he had supervisory authority over thousands of CIA employees involved in sensitive missions throughout the world.

Devine joined the CIA in 1967, after his wife gave him a book about the CIA and its role in U.S. national security. Devine completed his training at “the Farm” and various other espionage and paramilitary courses. In his first Headquarters assignment he spent time as a “documents analyst” where he shared close quarters with Aldrich “Rick” Ames, who later became a spy for the Soviet Union. Ames would later reemerge as an employee and suspect in the hunt for a mole within the Agency.

His first overseas assignment was to Santiago, Chile in August, 1971. Devine learned the ins and outs of recruiting sources and running covert action operations in the tense atmosphere leading up to the military coup against Allende two years later. Despite theories to the contrary, Devine and his CIA colleagues did not orchestrate the coup, but instead provided covert support to the opposition while keeping close tabs on them and the Allende government. Devine was at the CIA station as events unraveled and as Chilean troops stormed the Presidential palace. Meanwhile, his wife Pat stayed at their home while a military raid took place next door. Eventually a colleague was able to escort her and their children to a safer location.

Devine subsequently spent much of the ‘80s in various posts around Latin America during which time he was unhappily brought into events surrounding Iran-Contra. Devine repeatedly warned the CIA leadership that their interlocutors on the Iranian side were untrustworthy; unfortunately, while he had managed to limit his own involvement, others continued to work with the Iranians—and the Contras—leading to the very public unraveling of the program in late 1986. Devine had already been transferred to the Afghan Task Force by the time the scandal was exposed, but he nevertheless was called in by the Justice Department and FBI to give his take on the events.

His service on the Afghan Task Force was perhaps the pinnacle of his varied career, and put him at the head of the largest covert action campaign of the Cold War. Devine replaced Gust Avrakotos, the chief of the South Asia Operations Group portrayed by actor Philip Seymour Hoffman in the 2007 film, Charlie Wilson's War, and inherited a program funneling hundreds of millions of dollars to the Afghan mujahideen. It was under Devine that the CIA ramped up threefold support to the mujahideen and made the critical decision to provide them with U.S.-made Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, a move that would ultimately shift the course of the war and force a Soviet retreat. By the time Devine left the Task Force for an assignment as Chief of Station in Rome, the war was winding down.

Devine would go on to run the Counter Narcotics Center and Latin America Division at CIA in the 1990s, and helped oversee the operation that captured Pablo Escobar in 1993. He also served as the head of the division during the military intervention in Haiti in the early 1990s, and was later promoted to Associate Director and Acting Director of Operations. Devine retired from CIA in 1999, after 32 years, and joined the private sector where he joined forces with prominent New York litigation attorney Stanley Arkin. Together they have provided high-end consulting services along with sophisticated international intelligence and investigative services for the last 15 years.

Devine is the recipient of the Agency’s Distinguished Intelligence Medal and several meritorious awards. He is a recognized expert in intelligence matters and has written op-eds and articles for The Washington Post, The Financial Times, The Miami Herald and The World Policy Journal. He has also made guest appearances on CBS, NBC, MSNBC, Fox News, as well as the History and Discovery channels, PBS and ABC Radio.

Devine resides in New York City and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He speaks Spanish and Italian. (Adapted from Wikipedia. Retrieved 6/19/2014.)

Jack Devine’s Good Hunting gives readers an inside look at CIA—the good and the bad— from someone who rose from the bottom of the Agency to the top, during some of its most turbulent times. There are new insights into covert operations from Chile to Afghanistan to Iran-Contra and the lessons that should be drawn from them by government leaders and the public at large. Beyond that, it’s just a good read.
Walter Pincus - Washington Post

In addition to relating a rich catalog of espionage history and tradecraft, Mr. Devine tells the story of the relentless—and often painful—hunt for Soviet moles at the CIA and FBI during his career. He offers particular insights into Aldrich Ames, who remains one of the most damaging turncoats the CIA has ever seen.... [A] sense of complacency sometimes overshadows Mr. Devine's observations on the bureaucratic machinations among other Washington agencies, where he too often portrays the CIA as the good guys. These flaws, though, do not obscure this memoir of what life was like in the CIA's clandestine shadows before 9/11 changed the intelligence business and put the agency on the front pages, for both its triumphs and its deficiencies. Good Hunting is also a cautionary tale
Philip Mudd - Wall Street Journal

Well-written and engaging, studded with insights and opinions that are thoughtful. . . The most fascinating revelations in this close-to-the-chest memoir give the reader a glance inside the compartmentalized mind of a man who led this twin life with surefooted adeptness.
Boston Globe

Whether one agrees with Devine’s particulars, the insights derived from a long and varied career make this a top-line addition to the proliferating body of “insider” memoirs from the years when the Cold War gave way to the “war on terrorism,” and the rules began to change.
Publishers Weekly

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Library Journal

Veteran CIA covert operative....Devine explores his stints of glory, namely funneling guns with Charlie Wilson to Afghanistan's mujahedeen in order to defeat the Soviets and sustaining important relationships with changing directors.Devine's attention to detail translates into a finely delineated memoir of his selective undercover tradecraft.
Kirkus Reviews

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