Today I’m reviewing Patriotic Betrayal: The Inside Story of the CIA’s Secret Campaign to Enroll American Students in the Crusade Against Communism by Karen M. Paget.
Summary from Goodreads: In this revelatory book, Karen M. Paget shows how the CIA turned the National Student Association into an intelligence asset during the Cold War, with students used—often wittingly and sometimes unwittingly—as undercover agents inside America and abroad. In 1967, Ramparts magazine exposed the story, prompting the Agency into engineering a successful cover-up. Now Paget, drawing on archival sources, declassified documents, and more than 150 interviews, shows that the Ramparts story revealed only a small part of the plot.
A cautionary tale, throwing sharp light on the persistent argument, heard even now, about whether America’s national-security interests can be advanced by skullduggery and deception, Patriotic Betrayal, says Karl E. Meyer, a former editorial board member of the New York Times and The Washington Post, evokes “the aura of a John le Carré novel with its self-serving rationalizations, its layers of duplicity, and its bureaucratic doubletalk.” And Hugh Wilford, author of The Mighty Wurlitzer: How the CIA Played America, calls Patriotic Betrayal “extremely valuable as a case study of relations between the CIA and one of its front groups, greatly extending and enriching our knowledge and understanding of the complex dynamics involved in such covert, state-private relationships; it offers a fascinating portrayal of post-World War II U.S. political culture in microcosm."
More after the jump!
Review: This is a departure from my usual review of fiction, but I have a soft spot for biographies and war histories. Patriotic Betrayal is a must for anyone interested in the CIA's domestic actions during the Cold War. It is a meticulously well-researched and knowledgeable survey of the lengths to which the United States intelligence community's was willing to go to protect the nation from perceived threats by the Soviet Union. I would highly recommend this title for those interested in Cold War intelligence retrospectives.
Rating: 5/5 Stars