Valuable Fiend is the first book to offer a full accounting of CIA’s paramilitary operation against Albania, the weakest and most isolated of Soviet satellites in 1949-1953. It goes beyond the simplistic view often taken on the subject that assigns the blame for the failure of the operation to Kim Philby, the most famous Soviet mole inside the British SIS.
The book is unique not only for its extensive use of primary sources, but also because it presents a multi-faceted view of the story, correlating and juxtaposing facts and elements of the operation reported by participants on the American side against those recounted by their opponents on the Communist side.
Valuable Fiend reveals the true factors that contributed to the ultimate failure of the operation, including:An atmosphere of competition and jealousy, rather than cooperation, between branches of the CIA and between the CIA and other friendly intelligence services.
Distracted and inexperienced CIA case officers outsmarted by operatives of a ruthless Stalinist regime determined to consolidate its power with no mercy for their opponents.
Conflicts and rivalries among the anti-Communist factions, exacerbated by the intrigues of King Zog, CIA’s colorful ally who was Europe’s only Muslim monarch, married to a Hungarian-American countess, and a member of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, all at the same time.
In addition, and perhaps most importantly, Valuable Fiend shows the imprint that the operation left on the planning and execution of other Cold War paramilitary actions that followed, including CIA’s coup d’états in Iran and Guatemala, and the Bay of Pigs invasion in Cuba.
Valuable Fiend provides a large amount of fresh and previously unpublished information for anyone:
Interested in the history of CIA in its early days, its attempts to roll back the Communist threat around the world, CIA-SIS and Anglo-American relations, Cold War, intelligence & espionage, and Kim Philby;
Wanting to understand the root of current challenges facing countries in Eastern Europe and in the Balkans, including Greece, Albania and former Yugoslavia; and
Looking to develop an objective view of the history of these countries after World War II, which, to a large extent, still remains untold.
About the Author
Albert Lulushi is an information technology entrepreneur and business executive with a successful career in managing enterprise-wide projects for global organizations, including Federal Government agencies and Fortune 500 companies.
Lulushi is a sought-after speaker and well-known author of technology publications, including several books on the design and development of enterprise information systems, published by Prentice Hall and Pearson Education.
Lulushi has provided translation and interpreting services to the Department of State for over 20 years, working with the most senior officials of the United State Government. In this capacity, Lulushi has been an eyewitness to the most important historic events in the relations between the United States, Albania and Kosovo since the fall of Communism.
There are currently no books dedicated to the CIA operations in Albania during the Cold War that would compete head-to-head with Valuable Fiend. A few books currently in print, which complement, or are complemented by, Valuable Fiend are listed below. These books devote anywhere between a few pages to a chapter to the subject are listed below:
A Short Course in the Secret War, by Christopher Felix, aka James McCargar (Madison Books; 4th Edition, 2001. ISBN-13 978-1568331799. Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #37,883 in Books). The book, in print since 1963, explains the theory and purpose of cloak-and-dagger work using real-life experiences of the author. McCargar was the first commander of the CIA operation described in Valuable Fiend and one of the few primary sources to have written about the subject, albeit in just a few pages (pp. 278-281). His CIA career was spent mostly working on Operation Fiend. The new details of his work described in Valuable Fiend complement what McCargar wrote in his book.
My Silent War The Autobiography of a Spy, by Kim Philby (Modern Library, 2002. ISBN-13 978- 0375759833. Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #216,364 in Books). Philby was the joint-commander of the operation described in Valuable Fiend while he was stationed in Washington. He, too, is among the few primary sources on the subject who described his experience in a few pages (pp. 153-157).
Safe for Democracy: The Secret Wars of the CIA, by John Prados (Ivan R. Dee, 2009. ISBN-13 978-I-56663-574-5. Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #233,336 in Books). The book provides a broad survey of CIA’s covert operations from the inception of the agency and up to mid-2000s. The operations in Albania are described in a few pages (pp. 58-64) based on secondary sources. Several facts and events in the timeline are not stated correctly.
Operation Rollback: America’s Secret War Behind the Iron Curtain, by Peter Grose (Houghton Mifflin Company, 2000. ISBN 0-395-51606-4. Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,367,757 in Books). This book covers the series of operations organized by the CIA against the Soviet Union and its satellites in the late 1940s and early 1950s. The Albanian operation is described in less than ten pages (pp. 154-163), using secondary sources.
MI6: Inside the Covert World of Her Majesty’s Secret Service, by Stephen Dorril (The Free Press/Simon & Schuster, 2000. ISBN 0-7432-0379-8. Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,165,799 in Books). This book contains a chapter, “The Musketeers in Albania,” (pp. 354-403) which is a summary of the British SIS operations against Albania. The CIA-related activities are described briefly using secondary sources.
The subject is covered in similarly in a few other publications that have appeared between 1983 and 1992, which are out of print today.
The only book written on the Albanian operation is The Great Betrayal, by Nicholas Bethel (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1984). It described the operation mostly from the British SIS perspective and was the first one to assign Philby an exaggerated role as the source of failure for the operation. This book is currently out of print.
The primary sources of information for the CIA Albanian operation are sparse. Two CIA officers who participated in the operation, James McCargar and E. Michael Burke, provided oblique references to the operation, heavily sanitized by the CIA due to the sensitivity of the operation when their memoirs were published (1963 and 1984, respectively). Kim Philby described his role in the operation in his 1968 memoir. Bethel interviewed some of the British officers who conducted the SIS operations and a few Albanian agents who survived the ordeal. A few declassified CIA documents were made available by the Truman Presidential Library. Most of books that have treated the subject have used and recycled these same primary sources over the years.
Valuable Fiend significantly expands the body of authentic and primary sources of information on the subject by referencing hundreds of CIA documents that have been declassified since 2007. In addition, it uses materials that have come out of Albania since the fall of Communism, including recollections of secret police officers assigned to counter the CIA operations. The cross-referencing and side-by-side presentation of the opposing perspectives offers a true and complete recounting of the story.