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In discussing CIA’s successful covert action program directed at eradicating the Abu Nidal terrorist organization, Mr. Weiner says the program began only after former president Jimmy Carter “delivered a package of intelligence to the president of Syria, Hafiz al-Asad, in a March, 1987 meeting. Asad expelled the terrorist.”

Not quite. According to Patrick Seale’s “Abu Nidal: A Gun for Hire,” the terrorist left Syria on his own on March 28, more than two months before the June 1 official expulsion order. And while Mr. Weiner claims CIA acted in concert with Jordanian, Israeli and PLO intelligence services to bring down the Abu Nidal Organization (ANO), CIA Counter-Terrorist Center creator and then-chief Duane “Dewey” Clarridge says “the operation had nothing to do with the Jordanians, PLO, or Israelis. Zero.”

What did the trick, Mr. Clarridge insists, were a series of demarches sent (with the strong support of the State Department’s counterterrorism coordinator, L. Paul “Jerry” Bremer) to the governments of East Germany, Greece, Poland, Cyprus and Switzerland. The demarches, coupled with the wide dissemination of CIA’s “Abu Nidal Handbook,” which laid out in chapter and verse facts about Abu Nidal’s organization, its financing, and its crimes, eliminated support, logistics and money for the terrorists.

Perhaps the most troubling aspect of “Legacy” is the fact that Mr. Weiner has a tin ear when it comes to the gestalt of intelligence. He tries to apply the same metrics to CIA as one would use on GM or Starbucks. Yet B-school criteria don’t work when it comes to the “wilderness of mirrors.” Are there huge problems at CIA? Yup. Has the agency become dysfunctional because of bad leadership and misdirection? Absolutely. Should there be a book about those problems? Yes — but Mr. Weiner’s isn’t it.

Because Mr. Weiner just doesn’t get it. He wants a zero-defect CIA. He frowns on the amoral aspects of human intelligence gathering. And yet HUMINT is built around the holy trinity of Spot, Assess, Recruit — the art of one person convincing another person to become a traitor.

“If I’m not breaking the laws of the country to which I’ve been assigned, I’m not earning my salary,” is the way one long-time covert operative put it to me some years ago. Mr. Weiner would no doubt disapprove.

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Did a cabal of liberal CIA insiders run a covert action program against the White House in order to undermine the Bush administration’s war against terrorism? That’s the thesis of former Washington Times reporter Rowan Scarborough’s “Sabotage.”

The premise holds promise. Since 2001 there have been repeated leaks detailing sensitive intelligence information and embarrassing the administration. Add to that the chorus of CIA alumni Jeremiahs who make themselves available to bash Bush at the drop of a sound-bite, op-ed or book jacket. So Mr. Scarborough has potentially rich ground to mine.

Problem is, he just scratches the surface. There are lots of accusations about “CIA bureaucrats,” but Mr. Scarborough doesn’t name very many of them or pin down who leaked what and to whom.

He goes over a lot of old ground — the Valerie Plame leak, the accusations of former CIA officer Tyler Drumheller and the anti-Bush writings of Michael Scheuer are all recounted. Mr. Scarborough does a good job of reconstructing the UAE Ports deal fiasco and includes, as few have, the fact that the UAE agreed to allow our intelligence community to use Dubai Ports World as cover for its personnel.

But Mr. Scarborough is so deficient in specifics about CIA’s anti-Bush sabotage program that he digresses to pad his book with some of the successes in America’s war against terrorism.

He recounts operations staged by Task Force Orange, the elite group of cutting-edge intelligence gatherers and Delta/SEAL/Ranger shooters that targeted, pinpointed and killed Abu Musab Zarqawi. He describes many of the ways in which NSA has increased its ability to scoop signals intelligence out of the ether. And he relates the 2003 operation that identified and snatched up an Indonesian terrorist named Riduan Isamuddin, a.k.a. Hambali, “the only non-Arab to sit on al Qaeda’s leadership council.”

It’s a nice story with a happy ending. But it is still maddening to read a passage that goes, “In my own investigation for this book, I counted at least eight occasions on which current or former intelligence officials made serious allegations of wrongdoing against the president’s men that turned out to be untrue,” only to have Mr. Scarborough list none of them.

“America,” Mr. Scarborough says in conclusion, “cannot afford an intelligence agency more devoted to bureaucratic turf battles than to defending the homeland.” How absolutely true. And how disappointing that “Sabotage” offers so few solutions to this long-running Washington problem.

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