Your Freedom of Speech…

Be very thankful for your freedom of speech, don’t ever take it for granted.
Below is a book review that I wrote for Barry Meier’s book, Missing Man: The American Spy Who Vanished in Iran. As you can see, it has been heavily redacted by the CIA. While I realize I signed a secrecy agreement when I went to work for the Agency, at the time, at just twenty-nine years old, I never imagined that one day I would be writing books about my experience. It is obviously not ideal to have to send everything I write through the Publications Review Board at the CIA. It adds an extra hurdle to the writing and publishing process and stifles some of my creativity, not to mention it can be frustrating and time consuming. For the most part, I feel they have been pretty fair with me, though sometimes it seems like the criteria for what is considered “classified” changes depending on what day it is. There do not seem to be strict standards that apply to everyone, regardless of whether you are Hillary Clinton or Valerie Plame. I have not seen a lot of consistency in the process. Sometimes I struggle with the question of whether to make a fuss and try to appeal their decisions, but then possibly incurring the wrath of the people who work there, thereby affecting the publication of my future books. I have to believe that they have good reasons for redacting certain words. Even though a sentence itself may not be classified, I hope that the redaction of those words was done with the intention of protecting a life – in this case Bob Levinson, who disappeared from his wife and seven children in 2007.

Please note that the length of the black lines does not accurately reflect the amount of text that was removed from my original book review.

This is an excellent book about the disappearance of Bob Levinson, a retired FBI agent            . This story hits close to home for me, as I was working at the CIA when Mr. Levinson vanished. A lot of the details in the book bring back old memories,            . At the time, I was new to the office I was working in,            . Years later, while posted on a field assignment, I attended a meeting with Senator Bill Nelson. I watched as Senator Nelson asked the very puzzled group about Mr. Levinson. All of the officers in the group were completely bewildered by the inquiry,            . The meeting left me with a very bad taste in my mouth.
Reading this book left me saddened by the disgraceful way that Mr. Levinson’s case was handled by all of the agencies involved.            
The book reads like a spy thriller, including intricately woven webs of deceit and a cast of characters seemingly straight out of a Hollywood film.            
I also truly wish that the story had a happy ending.