• 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.)
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