Company Man

Thirty Years of Controversy and Crisis in the CIA

Company Man

The “revealing” (The New Yorker) insider history of the CIA from a lawyer with a “front-row seat on the hidden world of intelligence” (The Washington Post). Former CIA director George J. Tenet called Company Man a “must read.”

Over the course of a thirty-four-year (1976-2009) career, John Rizzo served under eleven CIA directors and seven presidents, ultimately becoming a controversial public figure and a symbol and victim of the toxic winds swirling in post-9/11 Washington. In Company Man, Rizzo charts the CIA’s evolution from shadowy entity to an organization exposed to new laws, rules, and a seemingly never-ending string of public controversies. As the agency’s top lawyer in the years after the 9/11 attacks, Rizzo oversaw actions that remain the subject of intense debate, including the rules governing waterboarding and other “enhanced interrogation techniques.”

Rizzo writes about virtually every significant CIA activity and controversy over a tumultuous, thirty-year period. His experiences illuminate our nation’s spy bureaucracy, offering a unique primer on how to survive, and flourish, in a high-powered job amid decades of shifting political winds. He also provides the most comprehensive account of critical events, like the “torture tape” fiasco surrounding the interrogation of Al Qaeda suspect Abu Zubayadah, and the birth, growth, and death of the enhanced interrogation program. Company Man is the most authoritative insider account of the CIA ever written—a groundbreaking, timely, and remarkably candid history of American intelligence. This is “emphatically a book for anyone who cares about the security of this country” (The Wall Street Journal).
  • Scribner | 
  • 336 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781451673944 | 
  • October 2014

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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...

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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