LACONIA — The Laconia Putnam Fund will present John Rizzo, author of ''The Company Man',' on Saturday, Oct. 11 at 7 p.m. at the Laconia High School Auditorium.
Tickets to the event, which is free, will be available at the door on a first-come, first-served basis.
Former CIA Director George Tenet once described the agency's first course of action during a crisis: "You don't call in the tough guys; you call in the lawyers." For more than three decades, the CIA called in John Rizzo, whom the Los Angeles Times dubbed "the most influential career lawyer in CIA history."
As an Agency lawyer from 1976 to 2009—and its top lawyer for seven years in 9/11's wake—John Rizzo made sweeping legal calls on virtually every major CIA issue of the past thirty years, from rules governing waterboarding and drones to answering for the Iran Contra scandal. In COMPANY MAN: Thirty Years of Controversy and Crisis in the CIA, Rizzo provides the most comprehensive insider's history of the CIA ever written.
In 1975, fresh out of law school and working a numbing job at the Treasury Department, John Rizzo took "a total shot in the dark" and sent his résumé to the Central Intelligence Agency. He had no notion that more than thirty years later, after serving under eleven CIA directors and seven presidents, he would become a notorious public figure—a symbol and a victim of the toxic winds swirling in post-9/11 Washington. From serving as the point person answering for the Iran-contra scandal to approving the rules that govern waterboarding and other "enhanced interrogation techniques," John Rizzo witnessed and participated in virtually all of the significant operations of the CIA's modern history. In Company Man, Rizzo re-visits and reflects on those operations and his involvement in them, revealing shocking, controversial, and sometimes amusing insider stories and details along the way.
The narrative of Rizzo's career, climbing from junior lawyer to chief legal counsel, parallels the transformation of the CIA itself: from cloak-and-dagger Cold War bureaucracy to a multi-faceted anti-terrorism enterprise—an agency exposed to new laws, rules, and a seemingly never-ending string of public controversies. Spanning more than three decades, Company Man is the most authoritative insider account of the CIA ever written—a groundbreaking, timely, and remarkably candid history of American intelligence, and as Booklist praised in an early review, "about as close-up as you can get."
John Rizzo had a thirty-four-year career as a lawyer at CIA, culminating with seven years as the Agency's chief legal officer. In the post-9/11 era, he helped create and implement the full spectrum of aggressive counterterrorist operations against Al Qaeda, including the so-called "enhanced interrogation program" and lethal strikes against the Al Qaeda leadership. Since retiring from the CIA, he has served as senior counsel at a Washington, D.C., law firm and is a visiting scholar at the Hoover Institution. He is a graduate of Brown University and George Washington University Law School.