Ishmael Jones Talks About Getting Sued by the C.I.A.

By Maryann Yin Comment

Former C.I.A. officer Ishmael Jones is fighting a court battle with the employer he served for 15 years. In 2008, he released Human Factor: Inside the CIA’s Dysfunctional Intelligence Culture, a book criticizing the C.I.A.’s work. The agency filed suit, alleging that he published the book without approval and in violation of his “Secrecy Agreement.”

In an interview with Book Bench, Jones explained his side: “There is no classified information in this book, but it is highly critical. I had approached my entire chain of command beforehand. In addition, I had also confronted the Agency’s Inspector General. Writing the book was a last resort. In the book, I sought to ‘show, not tell’ and deliver the message in an entertaining form. This confused the censors.”

In the complaint, the C.I.A. demanded to retain the book’s movie rights. Jones does not profit from book sales; he said that proceeds went to various veterans’ groups. If there was a movie, he would treat revenue from the box office in the same way.