The Wrong Man

Margaret Guroff in Johns Hopkins Magazine:

ScreenHunter_02 Sep. 18 12.12 Today, Glen Carle is a recognized expert on antiterrorism. Retired from the CIA since 2007, he writes essays and appears on panels organized by think tanks such as the New America Foundation on the nature and reach of al-Qaida. In May, when headlines trumpeted Osama bin Laden’s killing, the New York Times was among the news outlets that turned to Carle for comment.

Then in July, Carle made headlines of his own, publishing The Interrogator: An Education (Nation Books), a damning memoir of his involvement in the CAPTUS case. Unusually candid in its portrayal of the CIA’s internal workings—and the toll the agency’s moral gray zones take on its operatives—Carle’s book sparked a new discussion on the excesses of the global war on terror. Though the agency has made no formal response to the charges raised in the book, some loyalists have mounted a whispering campaign claiming that Carle is misinformed about the CAPTUS case—or, worse, that he’s lying. Then, too, Carle also faces criticism from opponents of the CIA’s actions: that his confessional memoir is too little, too late.

As an agent, Carle was sworn to secrecy about whom he met and what he did. Everything he ever writes about the CIA must pass through an agency board of censors, who slashed about 40 percent of his original manuscript for The Interrogator, excising whole chapters and leaving scenes largely blacked out. To a lay reader, the book is baffling in places; one reviewer called it “by far one of the most frustrating books I have attempted to read in years.” But despite the challenges and criticism, Carle says, he felt he had to come forward. “I worked in, and know about, significant issues of national concern,” he says. “The public should know what we are doing—and most particularly, what we have done to ourselves.”

More here.