Good Hunting

Jack Devine ran Charlie Wilson’s War in Afghanistan. It was the largest covert action of the Cold War, and it was Devine who put the brand-new Stinger missile into the hands of the mujahideen during their war with the Soviets, paving the way to a decisive victory against the Russians. He also pushed the CIA’s effort to run down the narcotics trafficker Pablo Escobar in Colombia. He tried to warn the director of central intelligence, George Tenet, that there was a bullet coming from Iraq with his name on it. He was in Chile when Allende fell, and he had too much to do with Iran-Contra for his own taste, though he tried to stop it. And he tangled with Rick Ames, the KGB spy inside the CIA, and hunted Robert Hanssen, the mole in the FBI.

Good Hunting: An American Spymaster’s Story is the spellbinding memoir of Devine’s time in the Central Intelligence Agency, where he served for more than thirty years, rising to become the acting deputy director of operations, responsible for all of the CIA’s spying operations. This is a story of intrigue and high-stakes maneuvering, all the more gripping when the fate of our geopolitical order hangs in the balance. But this book also sounds a warning to our nation’s decision makers: covert operations, not costly and devastating full-scale interventions, are the best safeguard of America’s interests worldwide.

Part memoir, part historical redress, Good Hunting debunks outright some of the myths surrounding the Agency and cautions against its misuses. Beneath the exotic allure—living abroad with his wife and six children, running operations in seven countries, and serving successive presidents from Nixon to Clinton—this is a realist, gimlet-eyed account of the Agency. Now, as Devine sees it, the CIA is trapped within a larger bureaucracy, losing swaths of turf to the military, and, most ominous of all, is becoming overly weighted toward paramilitary operations after a decade of war. Its capacity to do what it does best—spying and covert action—has been seriously degraded. Good Hunting sheds light on some of the CIA’s deepest secrets and spans an illustrious tenure—and never before has an acting deputy director of operations come forth with such an account. With the historical acumen of Steve Coll’s Ghost Wars and gripping scenarios that evoke the novels of John le Carré even as they hew closely to the facts on the ground, Devine offers a master class in spycraft.

Reviews of Good Hunting

Well-written and engaging, studded with insights and opinions that are thoughtful. . . The most fascinating revelations in this close-to-the-chest memoir give the reader a glance inside the compartmentalized mind of a man who led this twin life with surefooted adeptness.​
The Boston Globe
A refresher course on the breadth of America's covert campaigns against the spread of Soviet influence and ideology. . . Mr. Devine's remarkable 32-year career is a microcosm of the secret thrust and counterthrust that defined those years.​
The Wall Street Journal
An entertaining chronicle of [Devine's] decades at the agency and a persuasive case for its continued relevance.
The Washington Post
A spine-tingling, utterly compelling book.​
Houston Chronicle
A vivid insider's view, Devine's is an engaging account for the espionage set.​
Devine's attention to detail translates into a finely delineated memoir of his selective undercover tradecraft.​
The insights derived from a long and varied career make this a top-line addition to the proliferating body of "insider" memoirs from the years when the Cold War gave way to the "war on terrorism," and the rules began to change.​
Publishers Weekly
Jack Devine's Good Hunting gives readers an inside look at CIA--the good and the bad-- from someone who rose from the bottom of the Agency to the top, during some of its most turbulent times. There are new insights into covert operations from Chile to Afghanistan to Iran-Contra and the lessons that should be drawn from them by government leaders and the public at large. Beyond that, it's just a good read.​
Walter Pincus
columnist for The Washington Post
Good Hunting, like Jack Devine himself, is straightforward, clear, patriotic, fascinating, and at the center of decades of key events. Tired of angry or self-serving stereotypes about the CIA? Turn to Jack Devine. I did, and it was a great call.​
Ambassador R. James Woolsey
former director of central intelligence, CIA
Jack Devine has the intelligence officer's essential gift: the willingness to say no to bad ideas. Devine recounts the recurring pressure to do dumb things--from Central America to Afghanistan to Iran-Contra--which he usually was able to resist. His compelling memoir illustrates why the CIA is most successful when it sticks to the basics of ‘good hunting' in espionage and covert action operations.​
David Ignatius
columnist for The Washington Post and author of The Director
A fascinating--and highly instructive--insider's memoir of four decades in foreign intelligence, insightfully described by an iconic pro's pro.​​
Steve Friedman
Jack Devine's unusually detailed accounting of, and insight into, intelligence operations from the height of the Cold War through the global war on terrorism puts a bright light on the intrigue of the inner workings of the CIA. Most important, though, are his principles for covert action. Our clandestine service officers and national leadership alike would do well to read and understand Devine's words and wisdom in this critical area.​
Vice Admiral Thomas R. Wilson
U.S. Navy (Ret), former director, Defense Intelligence Agency
The world of CIA clandestine operations and technologies is complex, tough, and often arcane and unforgiving, but also consummately professional and necessary. Jack Devine is a larger-than-life character who served a long and distinguished career, in the field and in headquarters, spanning important periods in CIA history. If you want a better understanding of the CIA; its complex, differentiated, and noble people; and its missions, this well-written book is for you.​
Admiral William O. Studeman
U.S. Navy (Ret)
Jack Devine's personal narrative as a CIA case officer weaves through some of the most contentious pages of recent history: Iran-Contra, aid to the Afghan mujahideen, the coup against Chile's Salvador Allende, the murderous drug kingpin Pablo Escobar, the traitorous Aldrich Ames. And Devine tells these tales with a case officer's candor, busting popular myths as he goes. Read this book and learn why the nation still needs the CIA.​
General Michael Hayden
former director, CIA and NSA