The Recruiter

Spying and the Lost Art of American Intelligence


By Douglas London

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This revealing memoir from a 34-year veteran of the CIA who worked as a case officer and recruiter of foreign agents before and after 9/11 provides an invaluable perspective on the state of modern spy craft, how the CIA has developed, and how it must continue to evolve.

If you've ever wondered what it's like to be a modern-day spy, Douglas London is here to explain. London’s overseas work involved spotting and identifying targets, building relationships over weeks or months, and then pitching them to work for the CIA—all the while maintaining various identities, a day job, and a very real wife and kids at home.

The Recruiter: Spying and the Lost Art of American Intelligence captures the best stories from London's life as a spy, his insights into the challenges and failures of intelligence work, and the complicated relationships he developed with agents and colleagues. In the end, London presents a highly readable insider’s tale about the state of espionage, a warning about the decline of American intelligence since 9/11 and Iraq, and what can be done to recover.


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CIA Required Disclaimer

All statements of fact, opinion, or analysis expressed are those of the author and do not reflect the official positions or views of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) or any other US government agency. Nothing in the contents should be construed as asserting or implying US government authentication of information or CIA endorsement of the author's views.


This nonfiction account of the changes the CIA underwent over the course of my thirty-four-plus years of service is based on actual experiences. The CIA required four months to review this manuscript during the spring and summer of 2020, over the course of which I was pressured against its publication in ways both subtle and not. In ultimately yielding, the CIA redacted significant portions, primarily where the anecdotes cast senior officials in a bad light. In the Trump age, image was everything at the CIA, and the Agency was fearful of what might provoke the president's next outburst. At its own peril, and that of the country it is charged to protect, under both Mike Pompeo and Gina Haspel, the CIA's leadership agonized over controlling and shaping that image.

In maintaining my oath to the Constitution, legal obligation to the Agency, and moral commitment to the agents I recruited, ran, and managed as a senior spymaster, I changed all the names, aliases included, and distorted descriptions and details that might facilitate their identification. I extended this same protection to colleagues, regardless of their role as forces of good, or bad, in the Agency's history. It's important from the outset to understand that the term agent refers to a recruited foreign spy operating on the CIA's behalf. The American CIA staff who recruit and clandestinely handle these agents are case officers, not agents.

I chose "war stories" about agents and operations that best reflect my experiences and express the themes on which I was writing. So as to avoid endangering agents or compromising classified information, I necessarily had to dance around revealing details such as locations, nationalities, physical appearance and attributes (including gender), and time. There were cases and operations too sensitive for me to discuss in any fashion, and others the Agency censored in their entirety or in bits and pieces, most often to protect its image rather than the operations. The final product sufficiently obscures while still illuminating the rather extraordinary life I and other CIA case officers had the privilege to lead.

CIA requirements did, however, detract somewhat from the narrative, regrettably creating vagaries and gaps I am not at liberty to explain. For example, because I am precluded from providing explicit references to living undercover or even the mention of specific US government facilities, or American officials residing abroad, the task of narrating a spy's life was somewhat more complicated. It certainly frustrated my editors! In the end, these impediments, while challenging, do not detract from the story's fundamental message that the CIA is a critical institution to American national security, but one at a crossroads and in need of significant reform. Espionage is about people: their strengths, weaknesses, drives, eccentricities, and fears. More precisely, espionage is about the human soul, and the ability of those who can see therein. That goes for the agents we recruit to spy against their own, as well as the Agency officers who bear responsibility for discharging the mission.

While I apologize in advance for the occasional painfully vague and convoluted explanations that dance around the passages, and wording struck down by Agency censors, I ask the reader to focus on the people and their stories. See into the hearts and souls, as I did for almost four decades, of the spies, the agents, the bureaucrats, politicians, and intelligence careerists. Do that and you will find what it is that brings life to the world's second oldest profession. Spycraft, a trade deemed by many as distasteful as the world's second oldest profession, is charged with a noble mission and is guided by an ethical code; and it is practiced by an assortment of heroes and villains, flawed characters all, me included, on all sides.


The first time anyone referred to me as a spy was 1986. I was living in the Middle East and meeting a host government official whom I had been cultivating for several months. "Bilal" had invited me to his house late in the evening, as he liked to do, when the streets were quiet, the household staff gone, and his family busied themselves in their part of the large house. As was our custom, we sat on his veranda, sipping the Johnnie Walker Black I regularly gifted him, eating nuts, and looking at the stars.

Bilal liked to talk. And the first thing you noticed was his ear to ear smile while relating stories, telling jokes, or simply cracking wise at your expense. Playful and impish, Bilal loved to tease. He provoked and relished arguments as a pastime, studying how best to get a rise from someone and hit a nerve. But Bilal was quick to retreat when sensing offense. He was, as are most of the Arabs I have known over the years, a caring and generous host.

Some twenty years my senior, Bilal had slowly, cautiously, taken me into his confidence, testing me often along the way for discretion, all the while working to mask his true self. That's how Bilal operated. A successful career official despite hailing from a minority ethnic group and tribe, Bilal had early on managed to balance performing his job exceptionally well with playing the fool. He possessed a unique set of linguistic and cultural skills that his government prized, because these abilities allowed him to effectively engage with one of the country's principal rivals. But he downplayed his own ambitions and subordinated his tribal loyalties as his seniors scrutinized him as a potential threat. And by seniors I refer to those at the upper echelons of authority within his organization. Bilal managed to catch the eye of seniors to whom he proved both useful and loyal, showing them what he knew they wanted to see. My task was to peel back the layers he presented me, one by one.

I developed a pretext to meet Bilal early into my assignment. I was interested in him based on feedback I'd received from colleagues outside the Agency. Bilal was forthcoming, pro-American, and decidedly unpretentious, all rare traits among the local officials we normally encountered. Unlike his ethnically mainstream colleagues, Bilal appeared to seek greater validation from his official American contacts, a desire to be liked and respected. I hoped and suspected there was more to it. Was Bilal testing the waters?

Over the course of months, Bilal and I had gone from meeting at his office, to the occasional lunch at a discreet location, to quiet, weekly evening meetings on his veranda. That's not the school solution that aims to decreasingly conceal such relationships from public view, but which is at times a byproduct of relationships, local operating considerations, and practicalities. The goal of a case officer is to move relationships that might begin in the open to a genuinely clandestine footing as soon as practicable. Our conversations spanned history, religion, and politics, to families and personal experiences. Bilal was far more intellectual, well read, and complex than he liked to let on. From meeting to meeting, he shared increasingly revealing insights as to how things really worked in his country, and why. But it was several meetings before Bilal uttered even the least critical word about his fellow nationals, weeks before he acknowledged their ill treatment of his minority group, and still more time before he confessed deep resentment for their discrimination and repression.

Case officers have to be efficient with their time. The job is a lifestyle in that one must account for every minute of the day toward an operational purpose. The clandestine work of securely recruiting and handling agents requires expertise in, and manipulation of, the environment, as well as the people in it. It's a rather time-consuming trade with deliberate attention paid to shaping one's recognizable pattern of life so that you can disappear when, and as, necessary. There's little time to waste drilling dry holes. If you've invested pursuing a target who will never succumb, you've missed those who might. So a case officer's most prized gift, as a friend once so indelicately put it, was "smelling blood." That is, the sixth sense to sort through contacts and quickly penetrate veneers to size up who's willing to spy. I smelled blood with Bilal.

I was on my first overseas assignment and young even relative to typical junior officers. While Bilal was intrigued by my willingness to banter and my blue-collar background that was different from most of my diplomatic colleagues, I nevertheless treated him as a mentor. My professed interest was to learn, particularly what he could teach me about his group, and how his ethnic minority status helped or hindered him within his ministry, and while serving abroad. I teased and provoked as well, which he liked. But I knew when to be serious and, at the right moment, philosophical. There was great intellectual depth to Bilal that he kept bottled up inside, and with it, great loneliness. It's not easy to be "on" all the time, particularly when playing a role.

Bilal eased his way into more delicate and revealing subjects through stories and metaphors. Over time, he increasingly allowed me to probe and deconstruct those metaphors for the reality in which he lived, identifying the motivations I would manipulate to leverage his cooperation. Peeling back the layers on someone's soul and most inner space requires shifting gears to identify and in turn seamlessly leverage what you've found. The testing and probing confirms or refutes the needs, wants, and fears you have assessed, and an openness to your approach. But unlike a surgeon working off of X-rays, at times it's a surprise, so you go with your instincts and feel your way. Bilal tested me for discretion at every turn, just as I tested him. Sharing risk, even if feigned and perceived, is a key in moving through the locked doors of someone's soul. In the process, I foreshadowed who I really was, and my true agenda, but nothing from which I couldn't mount an expeditious if dubious retreat.

On this particular evening, I planned to pitch Bilal, that is to say, ask him to become a clandestine CIA agent. First comes the setup. I recapitulated all that he had taught me about his country's magnificent people and potential, as well as the unfortunate consequences of the manner in which it was ruled. Replaying Bilal's own pronouncements and declarations, I highlighted the personal slights and offenses to which Bilal had been subjected, an effort to increase the emotional temperature of the conversation. Because he was forced to restrain his true sentiments, I articulated Bilal's frustration in watching inferior men from the right families and cliques advance, and how that at times those promotions were based on the work he himself had done for them. But I praised Bilal for outsmarting them, for playing them to seize opportunities to better serve his country and still advance his career. "It was Allah's will that we met," I resolved, "inasmuch as I am sure he crossed our paths not only so that we might become friends, but so we can together accomplish something bigger than ourselves." An appeal to Bilal's genuine religious beliefs, and not a material reward.

"I was protecting you…I couldn't tell you earlier…I wasn't ready to burden you with maintaining my security," I told Bilal, "but I am in fact a CIA officer. My job is to collect information beyond the surface that the US can use to more effectively support your country's stability, prosperity, and protection. Information that your country deems secret out of concern for embarrassment." Bilal would undoubtly feel I had lied to him about my CIA identity, so I wanted to appeal to his interests, not my own.

"US aims here are benevolent," I continued, "but even friends need to see the realities, good and bad, to help one another. That's where you can help."

Bilal listened attentively, and despite his usually animated comportment, watched my eyes without expression, taking in and measuring my each and every word and corresponding emotion. I continued, "Your inside knowledge of the country's plans and capabilities with this particular rival, and broadly across the region and with the US, is underappreciated here, as you have said. But it would make an immense difference in America's understanding and capacity to act more effectively to support stability and mitigate the risks of miscalculations from which everyone suffers." I leaned closer to Bilal. "This is what you're doing already, and why. To make a difference. To contribute. You subject yourself to degradation and risks, keeping true feelings tightly locked away, playing your superiors so that you can make a difference."

He exhaled. I'd hit a nerve. "You attend meetings and read reports of a daily nature on subjects with which you are expert. That expertise could do more for your country if shared with us, given how your superiors neglect it. Partner with us, Bilal, and together we can achieve what you're working so hard, by yourself, to accomplish." The specificity of our expectations and the agent's risk is key.

My pace was steady, but not rapid. Not easy for a New Yorker like me. I wanted Bilal to hear precisely what it was he was being asked to do, and why, and to help him process the reality as opposed to what he might imagine. You'd be surprised, or perhaps you wouldn't be, at the crazy things people expect the CIA to ask them to do. Kill people, break into locked safes, sabotage equipment. In reality, the last thing we want agents to do is put themselves at risk by acting in any way out of pattern. "An added benefit for me," I explained, "would be the ability to contribute modestly to your family's well-being." I wanted to tie the money to a specific family need, not the cash itself; to help him rationalize his espionage toward a more noble purpose, as for his family, and to provide him the fig leaf that taking the money was doing me a favor. "It will make me feel like a better friend knowing you'll be able to use your monthly CIA consulting retainer [citing the precise figure the CIA censors will not allow me to reveal], to help pay for the kids' tuition…helping your country, and your family."

When I finished my pitch, I had laid out why I was making this request, the reason I had not told him earlier about my CIA affiliation, precisely what he was being asked to do, his compensation, and how we would do it. I paused for his response. You prepare for the questions, concerns, emotional reactions, or arguments that might be put forward. In the business, we call this sparring. At times the reactions are predictable, but on occasion they're unexpected. And for me, this was the first time.

"So, Douglas, you are a spy?" Bilal replied more rhetorically than inquisitively. "And your job is to steal my country's secrets. So how do I know you can be counted on? To protect me? My family? Have you any idea what they will do to me, my family, if I am caught? What would my father think of me?"

There it was. A spy. For the first time. And I rather liked it. To answer his question about how I could be counted on, I replied, "Because I'm not alone. It's not just me, but the CIA, an organization that prizes your security more than any information you might possibly provide. When you work with us, you're part of a team."

"What other spies do you have in my country?" Bilal asked. "How can I trust you if I do not know you are capable?"

"How could you trust me if I ever revealed their identities?" I responded. "I would sooner give up my life than reveal your identity, or that of any other who took such risks for their country, and mine."

Bilal smiled and said nothing for a moment.

Thankfully, Bilal said yes. Not immediately, mind you. Bilal walked me through all manner of scenarios he might experience, but principally, it seemed to me, he wanted to know whether or not it had been a setup from the start. Though it had been, and Bilal would always suspect as much, I told him it was serendipity. This offered him the face-saving pretext he so dearly hoped I would provide. You might say it was to ease my own guilty conscience, but I believed Bilal had been looking for this, for me, for someone. Bilal, like most agents, didn't want to see himself as a traitor, but rather, a victim. More philosophically for him, a victim of destiny, and a quiet hero. And that's what case officers do to help their agents live in the very complex world of espionage.

Corny? The emotion, the flowery words, the animation? The theater? Of course it is. But that doesn't render it untrue. Being dramatic doesn't make it insincere. I'm selling something, a product in which I believe, and to someone who secretly yearns for it. What I am asking, and the possible consequences, warrants drama and emotion. Yes, culturally, one could say that Arabs are often rather emotional, so my pitch was aligned as such. But who wouldn't be emotional if asked to commit their all? To risk not only their lives, but to subject their family to whatever local consequences might result. Everyone needs validation, but even those at the end of their ropes can smell insincerity. Bilal knew I meant every word I said, because I did. When he agreed, I knew he was committed, body and soul. And that's why we owe our agents more than seeing them as mere employees, or worse, expendable.

Where Have You Gone, George Smiley?

The CIA finds itself today at a crossroads. It's an organization that has sought to reinvent itself after the debacles of 9/11's intelligence failure and its subsequent ethical compromise in facilitating the Bush-Cheney fabrications that justified America's invasion of Iraq. Years of trying to be what it thought necessary to survive its greatest existential crisis since Watergate, the CIA fundamentally changed its core mission, values, and culture: a metamorphosis designed to earn White House approval and guard itself from the encroachments of the Department of Defense and the FBI, agencies seen as threats that might steal its turf and authorities, and perhaps swallow the CIA whole.

A slippery slope of compromises, facelifts, and revised narratives justifying a unique set of capabilities and authorities undertaken to preserve the Agency would instead leave it barely recognizable for the institution it was meant to be. Established in 1947 as a small, elite, independent, civilian, and nonpartisan foreign intelligence service, the CIA's charter was intelligence collection, analysis, and covert action. Freeing CIA from association with defense, law enforcement, and diplomacy theoretically protected it from grading its own homework as a policy maker, as was the case for the Pentagon, the Department of Justice, and the Department of State. Small, under the radar, and relatively chaste from the political pressures of its larger counterparts, the CIA was intended to speak truth to power.

After 9/11 and Iraq, however, the CIA's leaders anxiously bartered the organization's soul for its survival, and their own. In so doing, to save itself, the CIA actually became more vulnerable to the risks it most feared. The CIA undermined its credibility and moral high ground by allowing for the political weaponization of the intelligence it gathered. By seeking to offer a replication of the military and FBI, albeit one more agile and efficient in overcoming those larger agencies' bureaucratic and legal constraints, the uniqueness of the CIA's capabilities, culture, and value was invalidated.

Not that the CIA was perfect before 9/11, nor was it free of compromising itself for the approval of whatever administration sat in the White House. The CIA's public history is replete with scandal and failure. Largely, though, such mistakes were acknowledged for what they were—transactional more than systematic—aberrations in which the CIA lost its way. They were not reflections of what we wanted to be. And as sensational as these failures were given the public exposure, they were dwarfed by the successes preserved in secret. The mistakes did not change the CIA's fundamental ethos, its risk calculus, or the standards to which we sought to live. The post-9/11 changes are more profound, and as such, more threatening to the CIA's ability to provide the mission for which it was intended. Fundamentally, this mission is to serve as the nation's premiere foreign intelligence service for collecting and analyzing secrets, and for conducting necessary and legally sanctioned covert action directed by the president and briefed to Congress. And the first warning sign that the CIA was beginning to slide down that slippery slope might have been something as silly as how we allowed for the perversion of the word, spy.

Have you ever seen the 1986 movie Spies Like Us, starring Chevy Chase and Dan Ackroyd? One of my personal favorites, it was a farcical take on espionage and the 1980s so-called Star Wars ballistic missile defense initiative. No, it's not required study material, but besides being entertaining, it offers two immediate learning points. The first is that Dan Ackroyd has aged far better than Chevy Chase, and the second is that the term spy has lost its luster.

Growing up, I recall the term spy defining a noble endeavor when associated with the "good guys." Granted, I have a special place in my heart for the film, having seen it during a break toward the end of my training with my fellow suffering trainees. There is absolutely nothing accurate in the movie, which is probably why it was so fun, but it says something to me about the change in our country's outlook on intelligence, and, most relevant to this book, the CIA's culture. Would it have been half as catchy if titled, Intelligence Officers Like Us? While a rose by any other name might smell as sweet, there's far more intrigue, drama, and, dare I say, romance associated with the term Spies than Intelligence Officers. Words matter.

So it came to me in the middle of what was an otherwise blissful sleep, that I had a story to tell about my thirty-four plus years in the world's second oldest profession. Actually, I'd argue espionage is the very oldest, since after all, it might help identify and locate a brothel in the first place. I must admit that the two professions are not entirely without certain practical similarities. Both tend to be a cash business, and like those other professionals I've spent an inordinate amount of time on a street corner somewhere, or picking someone up.

There've always been good spies and bad. The ultimate test of good or bad depends from which side you are looking. In the United States these days, in any case, the term spy has taken on a rather negative connotation, particularly in the aftermath of the damage done by a series of notorious traitors such as Aldrich Ames, Robert Hanssen, Edward Lee Howard, Harold Nicholson, and yes, Edward Snowden. While fancying himself a whistleblower and victim, with an unfortunate and unaware following, the truth about Snowden is hardly noble. But that's not my story to tell, at least not today.

Even the famous British traitor Kim Philby, following his discovery, was more commonly referred to as a mole rather than spy, inasmuch as spying for Queen and country as a case officer for the British Secret Intelligence Service, or MI6, was his "day job." In the early 1980s when I began my service, it was considered rather honorable to speak of ourselves as spies, since we were the good guys. We were the shadow warriors of espionage protecting the homeland, whether it was stealing our adversaries' most prized secrets or going where our uniformed service members could not to disrupt a threat. Influencing world events from underground, we operated from behind the scenes so as to prevent the need to actually go to war. Our leader at the time I entered duty, William Casey, then holding the portfolio as director of Central Intelligence (DCI), not merely director of the Central Intelligence Agency (DCIA), had himself been a member of the wartime Office of Strategic Services, or OSS, from which the CIA was born. Casey was not without his own sins, but certainly he infused the CIA with the traditions and mentality of a spy service.

At first blush I must agree that it seems a waste of energy to make much ado about how we currently use the word spy. It's not fundamentally what this book is about, but rather was the trigger for it. I thought as much myself, initially, suspecting that the cringe I felt for the use of this word was merely the consequence of aging and coming to the end of my active career. Was I now that curmudgeon rocking on his porch, observing the neighborhood and mumbling incoherently about those meddling kids, loud music, lost values, and disrespect for traditions? But upon reflection, introspection, and clinical consideration of how both espionage and American politics evolved over my lifetime, I came to believe that there was something more to my errant thought. Something worth exploring. Espionage had become more politicized, and in a way that profoundly altered the CIA and its service in protecting the homeland.

Now wasn't the first time nor would it be the last that our nation's leaders would seek to use the CIA as an instrument of political leverage. But this was different, profoundly dangerous, and quite possibly irreversible. The CIA was compromising its objectivity and integrity to tell its masters what they wanted to hear and divine solutions for their political interests. Proposals that stretched the CIA's unique legal authorities and profound capabilities, but which were at odds with the nation's interests. Actions that would undermine the organization's credibility with intelligence consumers, the workforce, its foreign partners, and ultimately, the American people.


  • "Want to know what it’s like to recruit foreign agents for the Central Intelligence Agency? Douglas London gives us a revealing look behind the curtain into the inner workings of America’s constantly evolving spy organization. As a thirty-four-year veteran of the Agency, seventeen years on either side of 9/11, Douglas is uniquely positioned to provide perspective on the CIA’s shift in focus from classified intelligence gathering to policy making to paramilitary operations to the political weaponization of intelligence. A fascinating and important read for us all."—Jack Carr, Navy SEAL Sniper and #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Devil’s Hand
  • The Recruiter shares many great episodes from London’s life in the National Clandestine Service, excellent insights into the challenges and intricacies of intelligence work, and thoughtful accounts of the complicated relationships he developed with agents and colleagues. In the end, London presents a superb insider’s tale about the state of espionage, the challenges that American intelligence has experienced since 9/11 and Iraq, and what needs to be done in the coming years to ensure that America's intelligence agencies can provide our country's national security team with the intelligence they need.”
     —General David Petraeus (Ret.), former Director of the CIA
  • The Recruiter is the most important book about the CIA in years. London warns that the core mission of espionage—gathering intelligence through the recruitment of foreign agents—has been swamped by counterterrorism and paramilitary missions. That constitutes a clear and present danger to the United States.”—Tim Weiner, author of The Folly and the Glory: America, Russia, and Political Warfare, 1945–2020
  • "Recommended for all espionage enthusiasts."—Alma Katsu, author of The Hunger and The Deep
  • The Recruiter is one of the most interesting spy memoirs in a long time, filled with fascinating insights into a life convincing people to betray their country. Also an unflinching critique of the unsavory side of CIA culture.”—Ken Dilanian, NBC News
  • "[A] great new book.” –Laura Coates, CNN—Laura Coates, CNN
  • “Always read about spies written by spies.”—Tom Nichols, contributing writer at The Atlantic and author of the Peacefield newsletter
  • “Riveting…London has written a scorching portrait of what he sees as decades of CIA mismanagement, from a failure to prevent terrorist attacks on Americans abroad and at home, to not foreseeing the so-called Arab Spring or the rise of the Islamic State terrorist group until it was too late.  He describes how some of these senior officials made serious mistakes.”—SpyTalk
  • “A rich and candid look at the lives of CIA Operations Officers… providing also a critique of the current state of the Agency….London’s book provides a much needed, if complicated, look at what it takes to live and operate forever in the shadows….The Recruiter weaves together a number of fascinating threads to form a tapestry of human intelligence today….That London was able to get this book through the Agency’s review board is a miracle in and of itself. From the hiring and vetting of a potential professional trainee, through to their time on the “Farm” (the Agency’s Virginia training location) and onto their first overseas rotations, London offers the reader rich anecdotes from his own time as a new hire….The richness of London’s book is in these stories, which are raw and real, and highlight both the highs and lows of the life of an Operations Officer. It is rare that one sees the latter or hears about the challenges of a life abroad undercover….[I]nteresting core arguments about the state of the Agency at a policy-level, arguments which fully form by the end of the book….On finishing The Recruiter one can’t help but feel as though they’ve been recruited, in a way.”
     —The Diplomatic Courier
  • “Many of us have wondered what it would be like to be a real spy….There could possibly be no better book to take us deep into this world than the latest release by Douglas London, titled The Recruiter: Spying and the Lost Art of American Intelligence….London… shares highly personal and courageous details in this memoir, which makes for such a fascinating read.”—Robert Amsterdam, “Departures” podcast
  • "Broad-ranging, thoughtful, [London's] reflected on his career and the changes the agency [he] worked for has [gone] through."—SpyCraft podcast, The Spy Museum
  • "The Recruiter reads like a very well crafted memoir."
     —"The San Francisco Experience" podcast
  • "Thoroughly enjoyed The Recruiter by Douglas London. Fascinating insights into life of [a] CIA
    case officer from ground up--surveillance detection, cover, agent handling, liaison relationships, raising a family in a clandestine life, and how to persuade someone to betray their country."—First Casualty: The Untold Story of the CIA Mission to Avenge 9/11
  • “Fascinating detail about life inside CIA, and the challenges—and thrill—of HUMINT [human intelligence] work.”—Zach Dorman, national security supporter
  • “Douglas London’s The Recruiter is a rare treat, a book that captures the essence of intelligence work….The rewards of London’s career do not blind him to the reality of the world in which he moved. He can see his own agency with a clear eye, and his worm’s-eye view of the CIA post-9/11 makes for a sobering read….London is a smart, persuasive, and charming guide to what, for most people, is a hidden world.”—The Jewish Review of Books
  • “As juicy as CIA censors would allow.”—The Jewish Independent

On Sale
Sep 28, 2021
Page Count
272 pages
Hachette Books

Douglas London

About the Author

Douglas London is a retired Senior CIA Operations Officer, an Adjunct Associate Professor at Georgetown University's Center for Security Studies, and a Non-resident fellow at the Middle East Institute.  He served predominantly in the Middle East, South and Central Asia, and Africa, including three assignments as a Chief of Station, the President’s senior intelligence officer at post, and Chief of Base in a conflict zone. Assignments at CIA Headquarters included executive positions at CIA's Counterterrorism Center, Information Operations Center, and Near East and South Asia Division. London was decorated with the CIA’s Career Intelligence Medal, the McCone Award, and multiple unit and individual citations.

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