Spy Stories Inside the Secret World of ISI and RAW written by Adrian Levy, Cathy Scott-Clark appears to be a sponsored work which falls under the category of propaganda.
The book is a disappointment because it borders on matching known facts with rumors and building a narrative. In doing this it conveniently ignores the facts and stories which hinder the narrative. That is the most disappointing.
To ask for neutrality in journalism is to sight a unicorn. An almost impossibility. But to be so far away from the home turf to write ghost stories which have no connection with half the truth is not an answer to the call of inner subjective bias but smells of hired propaganda. To quote from the same book:
” In the 1990s, the Central Intelligence Agency (C.I.A.) decided on a facelift and appointed a Tinseltown liaison, Chase Brandon, a cousin of the star Tommy Lee Jones but also from the old order. Brandon had spent four decades in espionage, almost twenty-five years of it undercover for the Agency in regions including Latin America.
He got to work in 1996 engaging studio heads, directors, stars, and writers, encouraging them to project a different kind of spy in their scripts. In the two decades before, the C.I.A. had been accused of acting illegally, immorally, and without constraint, experimenting with
group conditioning and hallucinogens, doping volunteers, and spiking the unsuspecting. Abroad it was seen to have commissioned assassinations and coups, with officers involved in torture and death squads. Democracy appeared to be the flats of a stage, behind which the Agency toiled.
But now, Brandon maintained, the Agency had changed. “We’ve been portrayed erroneously as evil and Machiavellian. It took us a long time to support projects that portray us in the light we want to be seen in,” he said.”
What is interesting is the timing of this book on spies. Downplaying Pakistan’s ISI and alongwith it India’s R&AW while not forgetting to make few punches on Ajit Doval, India’s NSA at a time when fight is going on in Afghanistan by the proxies of Pakistan is even more interesting.
The fact that a section of media jumped at few stories from the book, almost instantly corroborates the point that it is a part of propaganda.
On a scale of 1 to 10 stars, I will give it 2 stars. One star is for the paragraph extracted above and second is for the rest of book.