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Company Man

Company Man

Thirty Years of Controversy and Crisis in the CIA

In 1975, fresh out of law school and working a numbing job at the Treasury Department, John Rizzo took “a total shot in the dark” and sent his résumé to the Central Intelligence Agency. He had no notion that more than thirty years later, after serving under eleven CIA directors and seven presidents, he would become a notorious public figure—a symbol and a victim of the toxic winds swirling in post-9/11 Washington. From serving as the point person answering for the Iran-contra scandal to approving the rules that govern waterboarding and other “enhanced interrogation techniques,” John Rizzo witnessed and participated in virtually all of the significant operations of the CIA’s modern history.

In Company Man, Rizzo charts the CIA’s evolution from shadowy entity to an organization exposed to new laws, rules, and a seemingly neverending string of public controversies. Rizzo offers a direct window into the CIA in the years after the 9/11 attacks, when he served as the agency’s top lawyer, with oversight of actions that remain the subject of intense debate today. In Company Man, Rizzo is the first CIA official to ever describe what “black sites” look like from the inside and he provides the most comprehensive account ever written of the “torture tape” fiasco surrounding the interrogation of Al Qaeda suspect Abu Zubaydah and the birth, growth, and death of the enhanced interrogation program.

Spanning more than three decades, Company Man is the most authoritative insider account of the CIA ever written—a groundbreaking, timely, and remarkably candid history of American intelligence.
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  • Scribner | 
  • 336 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781451673937 | 
  • January 2014
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Read an Excerpt

Company Man INTRODUCTION The Tale of the “Torture” Tapes
In early November 2010, the Justice Department announced its decision not to bring obstruction-of-justice charges against the CIA officials who had been involved in the decision, five years earlier, to destroy videotapes depicting the Agency’s 2002 interrogation of an Al Qaeda operative named Abu Zubaydah. He was not just any terrorist thug. Zubaydah was a senior figure in the Al Qaeda hierarchy at... see more

About the Author

John Rizzo
Jay Mallin Photography

John Rizzo

John Rizzo had a thirty-four-year career as a lawyer at the CIA, culminating with seven years as the Agency’s chief legal officer. In the post-9/11 era, he helped create and implement the full spectrum of aggressive counterterrorist operations against Al Qaeda, including the so-called “enhanced interrogation program” and lethal strikes against the Al Qaeda leadership. He has served as senior counsel at a Washington DC law firm and is a visiting scholar at the Hoover Institution. He is a graduate of Brown University and George Washington University Law School.

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