Book Review: From The Company of Shadows

March 8, 2013 6:19 am 2 comments

Members of CAIR at an annual dinner in Houston.

From The Company of Shadows by author Kevin Shipp offers a fascinating insider’s view of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) from the perspective of someone who lived in the agency’s top echelons from the end of the Cold War to the War on Terror.

The book reads like a James Bond novel, only the characters and situations are real. It delves into the CIA’s internal politics and abuses of power that he contends has made America less free and less safe.

Shipp should know, having served in roles ranging from working as a security officer assigned to the protection detail of the Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) and Deputy Director of Central Intelligence (DDCI) to being a counter-terrorism instructor for the agency’s Counterterrorism Center. He was a decorated CIA officer whose view of the agency shifted from one of idealism to one of sobriety about its real nature as his career progressed.

Shipp joined the CIA in 1985 and had a front-row seat as the Iran-Contra scandal emerged two years later. The author attributes the momentum behind the scandal to late CIA Director William Casey’s personal devotion to William Buckley, the CIA’s station chief in Beirut, Lebanon who had been kidnapped by the Islamic Jihad terrorist group and was tortured daily before being murdered in 1985.

Casey felt responsible for Buckley’s predicament and wanted to ensure that Buckley and the other hostages being held by terrorists in Lebanon were rescued, but the plan backfired.

Shipp describes the late CIA director as “one of the last real servants of democracy” who was willing to take personal risks. But Casey’s death marked a turning point for the agency, which soon found itself looking for its mission after the Cold War.

The arms-for-hostages episode served as a warning to Shipp that there was no negotiating with religious fundamentalists.

There is no one better than Shipp to bring the agency’s internal secret wars of the past 30 years into public, and the book gives the reader a first-hand view. He provides a glimpse into the cloak-and-dagger life of a CIA operator with an eye on the agency’s internal politics.

His view of the agency started to change after the start of the Clinton administration when the focus shifted from serving national security to serving political correctness. A move in this direction already had begun back in the Carter administration when CIA Director Stansfield Turner slashed the number of spies on the ground in favor of satellite and electronic surveillance.

Turner’s decision to eviscerate the CIA’s human intelligence capabilities touched off series of disastrous decisions that led the agency to heavily rely on unreliable defectors who fed it bad intelligence.

President Bill Clinton gave the agency’s decline an additional push, Shipp writes.

In addition to recruiting substandard new hires, it issued an order prohibiting CIA officers from having contact with foreign nationals engaged in human-rights abuses.

This contributed to intelligence failures leading up to the Iraq war and even the 9/11 attacks, Shipp writes.

By the time the 9/11 attacks took place, the CIA was “deaf, dumb and blind” about Islamist extremist groups and agents scrambled to gather intelligence from open-source materials, Shipp writes. CNN frequently had better sources about what was happening overseas than the CIA.

The same holds true about other Islamist terrorist groups.

Many of these groups such as Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the Muslim Brotherhood have established a strong foothold in the United States working through front groups such as the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Muslim American Society (MAS) and Muslim Public Affairs Council, Shipp writes.

These groups have succeeded in getting the Obama administration to declare there is “no War on Terror” and adhere to the view that Islam has nothing to do with terrorism.

Shipp’s book takes a strongly critical view of the Patriot Act, which he claims violates the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition on illegal searches and seizures.

He warns that the act has transformed the agency into a global police force that has asserted the right to spy on American citizens without constraints. Shipp writes that he saw criminal activity and serious security lapses while working for the agency, but was ordered not to report them.

The book concludes like something out of a Hollywood movie, with Shipp discussing the constant surveillance and a “litany of break-ins” into his home after he blew the whistle on CIA practices that agency officials blacked out of his manuscript.

“The CIA has made many honorable and courageous contributions to our nation’s protections, some of which I was part of while I was there,” Shipp writes. “But as a system, it has become out of control and overstepped the constitutional balance designed to keep it in check and accountable to our democratic system of government.”

The book was published in 2012 by Ascent Publishing and can be purchased on Amazon.

2 Comments

  • Jacqueline

    Isaac Asimov “Brave New World”. We are living it. Double speak. Islam religion of peace as they plot to do stealth jihad and end the western freedoms that we know. Get your burka out

  • jasper johns

    All of this intrigue (true and false) surrounding the CIA reminds me of this funny novel I just read, THE BANANA MASSACRE by Yoakum, about an ad executive who is sent to a banana republic and who is mistaken to be working for the CIA. Point being, the CIA is and always has provoked a fog no matter who is the chief.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Book Reviews Personalities How a Jewish Leader With 3 Months to Live Created a ‘Seminar’ on Life

    How a Jewish Leader With 3 Months to Live Created a ‘Seminar’ on Life

    JNS.org – What would you do if you found out that you had only three more months to live? Gordon Zacks was a successful businessman, a leader of Jewish life, and a confidante and adviser to President George H.W. Bush. He knew that he had prostate cancer, but doctors advised him that it was very slow-growing and nothing to worry about. Then came the day when the doctors told him his cancer metastasized to his liver, and that he had [...]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Theater 10 Things I Learned From My Play About Holocaust Denial

    10 Things I Learned From My Play About Holocaust Denial

    Last month, my one-man show Hoaxocaust! Written and performed by Barry Levey with the generous assistance of the Institute for Political and International Studies, Tehran ran in the New York International Fringe Festival, where it won an Overall Excellence Award. The play has now been selected to run in the Fringe Encores Series at Baruch College’s Performing Arts Center, for four performances which started on Thursday, September 11. Getting the play to the stage was not easy, however. Here are [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Israel Israeli Music Producer Racks Up Over 535,000 YouTube Hits – in Two Days

    Israeli Music Producer Racks Up Over 535,000 YouTube Hits – in Two Days

    Phenomenon: Tel Aviv-based musician and “sampler” extraordinaire, Kutiman (aka Ophir Kutiel) has hit another one out of the park with “Give It Up,” a fully-functioning song in its own right, assembled from hundreds of ameteur and instructional music videos. The Jerusalem-born musical prodigy is best know for his diverse online musical projects. In the latest video, uploaded to YouTube on Sept. 12th, Kutiel thanked most of the musicians and individuals he chose to include in the meticulously-edited clip, which opens with [...]

    Read more →
  • Theater US & Canada Behind-the-Scenes Reel of Ridley Scott’s Moses Epic Shows Scenes Using 4000 Extras (VIDEO)

    Behind-the-Scenes Reel of Ridley Scott’s Moses Epic Shows Scenes Using 4000 Extras (VIDEO)

    A recently released behind-the-scenes reel of Ridley Scott’s upcoming film Exodus: Gods and Kings shows just how far the director has gone to portray one of the Bible’s most famous narratives. In the clip, which shows scenes involving up to 4,000 extras, the visionary director discusses what drew him to the biblical tale of Moses. “The Moses story was a massive challenge, which I really love. I wanted to explore the complexity of his character and I was stunned by [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish Identity Turner Classic Movies Showcases ‘Broad Sweep’ of the Jewish Experience on Film

    Turner Classic Movies Showcases ‘Broad Sweep’ of the Jewish Experience on Film

    JNS.org – Since 2006, the Turner Classic Movies (TCM) cable and satellite TV network has hosted “The Projected Image,” a month-long showcase examining how different cultural and ethnic groups have been portrayed on the big screen. At last, after previously covering African Americans, Asians, the LGBT community, Latinos, Native Americans, Arabs, and people with disabilities, the annual series is delving into Jewish film this month. “The Projected Image: The Jewish Experience on Film,” whose first segment aired Sept. 2, runs [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Jewish Identity An Inside Look at the Hasidim (REVIEW)

    An Inside Look at the Hasidim (REVIEW)

    The sight of young girls in pinafores and young boys wearing peyos – sidelocks – dangling over their ears is a sure sign that you have entered the enigmatic precincts of the Hasidim – the pious ones. Veteran New York Times journalist Joseph Berger’s new book, THE PIOUS ONES: The World of Hasidim and their Battles with America, takes the reader on a journey into the enclaves where various sects of Jews live a seemingly outmoded way of life in [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish Identity How Jewish Television Pioneer Milton Berle Inspired Modern Comedy Stars

    How Jewish Television Pioneer Milton Berle Inspired Modern Comedy Stars

    JNS.org – Today’s comedy superstars, especially those whose careers are driven by television, may very well owe their success to pioneering Jewish entertainer Milton Berle. Born Mendel Berlinger in Manhattan in 1908, Berle became America’s first small-screen star. Aptly nicknamed “Mr. Television,” he influenced and helped promote the work of hundreds of younger comics. “Milton Berle was deceptively successful and very Jewish,” says Lawrence Epstein, author of The Haunted Smile: The Story of Jewish Comedians in America, published the year [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Sports Jewish ‘Hoops Whisperer’ a Secret Weapon for NBA Stars

    Jewish ‘Hoops Whisperer’ a Secret Weapon for NBA Stars

    JNS.org – Idan Ravin’s friends chipped in to buy him a humble but life-changing bar mitzvah gift—a basketball hoop his father attached to the roof of his garage. Little did his friends know that years later, he would be the personal trainer of National Basketball Association (NBA) stars Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant, Dwight Howard, and Stephen Curry. Ravin’s new book, “The Hoops Whisperer: On the Court and Inside the Head of Basketball’s Best Players,” details his rise from a Jewish upbringing [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.