Good Hunting: An American Spymaster's Story

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Good Hunting: An American Spymaster's Story

by Jack Devine

Jack Devine is one of the legendary spymasters of our time. He was in Chile when Allende fell; he ran Charlie Wilson's war in Afghanistan; he had too much to do with Iran-Contra for his own taste, though he tried to stop it; he oversaw the effort to run down Pablo Escobar in Colombia. Devine served America's interests for more than thirty years in a wide range of covert operations, ultimately overseeing the Directorate of Operations, a CIA component that watches over thousands of American covert operatives worldwide.

Good Hunting is his guide to the art of spycraft, told with great wit, candor, and commonsense wisdom. Caricatured by Hollywood, lionized by the right, and pilloried by the left, the CIA remains one of the least understood instruments of the United States government. Devine knows more than almost anyone about the CIA's vital importance as a tool of American statecraft. In wonderfully readable prose, Good Hunting aims to set the record straight. This is a revelatory inside look at an organization whose history has not been given its real due.


“An entertaining chronicle of [Devine's] decades at the agency and a persuasive case for its continued relevance.” ―The Washington Post

“Well written and engaging, studded with insights and opinions that are thoughtful.” ―The Boston Globe

“A refresher course on the breadth of America's covert campaigns against the spread of Soviet influence and ideology . . . Mr. Devine's remarkable thirty-two-year career is a microcosm of the secret thrust and counterthrust that defined those years.” ―The Wall Street Journal

“A spine-tingling, utterly compelling book.” ―Houston Chronicle

"Now-retired CIA officer Devine built a career (1967–98) in which he ascended from entry-level employee to the top echelon of the organization’s clandestine service. Amid candid reflections on his experiences, Devine advances opinions about the worth of covert operations, which he supports in general. Commenting on them specifically via his own involvement, Devine defends the CIA’s 1973 role in Chile and its 1980s arming of anti-Soviet Afghan rebels. But he critiques the CIA’s entanglement in the Iran-Contra scandal of the mid-1980s. Devine’s colorful anecdotes convey a lively sense of how a CIA officer works as a street-level case officer, a chief of station, and an executive managing the entire Directorate of Operations, all roles that Devine fulfilled and in which he takes palpable pride. The exception to success that Devine confronts is Aldrich Ames, the Russian mole whose betrayal cost many CIA agents their lives. An occasional supervisor of Ames, Devine puzzles over Ames’ motivations as he describes how the case dealt a blow to CIA morale. A vivid insider’s view, Devine’s is an engaging account for the espionage set." -Gilbert Taylor

About the Author

Jack Devine is a thirty-two-year veteran of the Central Intelligence Agency. He is also a founding partner and the president of the Arkin Group, which specializes in international crisis management, strategic intelligence, and more. He lives in New York City with his wife, Pat.

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