FBI's Vindication Is Coming

(Bloomberg View) -- Jack Devine, former director of operations at the CIA and this week’s guest on Masters in Business, makes a reassuring observation: Although the standoff between the Federal Bureau of Investigation and President Donald Trump may be a “firestorm,” in the end he thinks the agency will be vindicated.

Devine, a 32-year CIA veteran, says that contrary to one prominent narratives, the agents in the CIA and the FBI don't take politics into account when doing official business. Allowing any sort of partisan debate is considered unprofessional, and his experience with various investigative and law enforcement agencies is that they operate free of bias and political agendas.

He is outspoken about other issues such as the use of drones to take out terrorists (favors it); enhanced interrogation techniques (opposes it); legalization of marijuana (it takes revenue away from the black market but is fraught with risks).

Among other things, Devine headed the CIA’s counter-narcotics division, helping to bring down drug kingpin Pablo Escobar. Devine also served as head of the CIA’s Afghan task force (discussed in the film “Charlie Wilson’s War”), and was involved in helping to provide the mujahedeen with Stinger antiaircraft missiles in their fight against the Russians in the 1980s. He is the author of “Good Hunting: An American Spymaster’s Story.”

Some of his favorite books are cited here; the conversation transcript is here.

You can stream/download the full conversation, including the podcast extras, on Bloomberg, iTunes and Overcast. Our earlier podcasts can be found on iTunesOvercast and Bloomberg.

Next week, we speak with Kathryn Minshew, chief executive officer and co-founder of The Muse. She was named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 in Media list, and the Inc. list of 15 Women to Watch in Tech.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.

Barry Ritholtz is a Bloomberg View columnist. He founded Ritholtz Wealth Management and was chief executive and director of equity research at FusionIQ, a quantitative research firm. He blogs at the Big Picture and is the author of “Bailout Nation: How Greed and Easy Money Corrupted Wall Street and Shook the World Economy.”

To contact the author of this story: Barry Ritholtz at britholtz3@bloomberg.net.

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