Inside the Company

A good friend of mine is clearing out his house before it is sold. Last weekend I grabbed a book that his father, long deceased, had collected in the 1970’s. It is Inside the Company by Phillip Agee. I’ve heard his name before, but I’m not sure where.

  I think this book might be an entertaining read. I’ll suspend the urge to read criticism of it, be it on the Web or excerpted from old newspapers or journals because knowing what I do about the book right now, it seems like reading it’s reception could really hanker with my enjoyment of it.

  So far, I’m 30 pages in. It’s a breeze of a read so far. Maybe there are 400 pages altogether in the hardbound first-print that I have in my possession.

  Agee’s title is misleading. If a diary is something of a chronological recollection of events from a person’s day-to-day life, than Dick’s book is anything but a diary. I keep a journal most days and I don’t touch it. Once it is written in that’s it. Someday should my nieces of nephews or grandkids or strangers read it, they’ll find out some embarassing things about me I suppose.

  Agee’s strategy was different. Because he purported to have been involved with the CIA (which he refers to as the “Company”) and supposedly participated in its dirty Cold War business, he also must have had some period of conversion. Naturally, being a secretive spy, Agee was certainly not going to keep a journal each day to be confiscated by a Soviet agent in Minagua or wherever he may have been.

  Instead of the chronological day-to-day stuff, Agee pieced this book together from his recollections, some 12 years after beginning with the Agency and some three years or so after leaving it.

  So far it’s been a rehashing of how he got into the CIA (under the guise of becoming an Air Force radar specialist) and his training. It reminds me a little of The Good Shepherd, the 2007 movie about the CIA with Matt Damon and Angelina Jolie. Although Notre Dame is no Yale, Agee, like Damon’s character, is lifted from the prestigious university by people within the organization. He pays his dues the hard way it seems.

   I’ll write about this book more as I read it. It’s 32-years-old and certainly received some press when it came out. I think it will make for an interesting adventure, although his way of repiecing it may not be the best way. But what was he going to do, risk having someone from Langley, VA put a bullet in his head while he was deepcover?


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