When the CIA came into being in 1947, its mandate was to keep tabs on events around the world. Gather intelligence about foreign governments. Spy. But the agency has evolved away from this original mission, as Mark Mazzetti reports in a new book, The Way of the Knife: The CIA, a Secret Army, and a War at the Ends of the Earth.
Mazzetti, a national security correspondent for The New York Times, begins with a quote from John le Carre's Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy:
As the U.S. economy struggles to recover from the financial crash, and Europe is buffeted by a series of banking crises, attention has focused on the presidents and prime ministers who've tried to cope with it all. Journalist Neil Irwin, an economics writer for The Washington Post, says there's an elite group of policymakers who can make enormously important decisions on their own, often deliberating in secret, and in many ways unaccountable to voters.
1. The symbolism was a bit heavy-handed. It's frustrating that Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner doesn't trust viewers of the show enough to allow symbolism to live in an episode as suggestion and not insistence. The Mad Men audience is small and self-selecting; it is made up of people who choose to watch a show that requires attention and rewards patience.