This review of the book by Chalmers Johnson, a former outside consultant for the CIA, does a good job of pointing out some of the highlights and arguing at the conclusion for the abolition of the CIA and letting the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research fill in for the foreign intelligence function.
Weiner's book points out how the CIA has been mismanaged since its creation from the ashes of the Office of Strategic Services, failing to come up with accurate information about major events of significance and leaving a wake of damage from failed covert ops designed to stop the spread of communism even where there was none. And it has regularly deceived presidents, massaged or fabricated intelligence information, and violated the laws of the United States. Johnson writes:
Nothing has done more to undercut the reputation of the United States than the CIA's "clandestine" (only in terms of the American people) murders of the presidents of South Vietnam and the Congo, its ravishing of the governments of Iran, Indonesia (three times), South Korea (twice), all of the Indochinese states, virtually every government in Latin America, and Lebanon, Afghanistan, and Iraq. The deaths from these armed assaults run into the millions. After 9/11, President Bush asked "Why do they hate us?" From Iran (1953) to Iraq (2003), the better question would be, "Who does not?"This paragraph understates the case--Johnson goes on to describe how the CIA provided funding for Japanese and Italian politicians. Weiner's book observes that the CIA helped a convicted war criminal become prime minister of Japan in 1957 and bribed the leading officials of the Liberal Democratic Party, which it helped maintain in power until the 1990s. CIA broadcasts from Radio Free Europe called for uprisings. To their surprise, former Hungarian prime minister Imre Nagy, who had been expelled from the Communist Party, announced on state radio a break with Russia, and within days formed a new coalition government in October 1956, but CIA Director Allen Dulles rejected him because he had been a communist and RFE attacked him. RFE broadcasts as much as promised U.S. assistance to Hungarian rebels, only to leave them to die on their own in November 1956 when the Soviets crushed the rebellion. Tens of thousands of people were killed and thousands shipped off to Siberia. Dulles lied to Eisenhower about the content of the broadcasts, transcripts of which only became available in English in 1996, and claimed the U.S. had done nothing to encourage the Hungarians.
I've still got much to read in the book (I'm only up to 1958), but so far it is eye-opening and appalling.
UPDATE (August 11, 2007): The CIA has issued a press release taking issue with Weiner's book for its bias.
UPDATE (December 16, 2009): The CIA has published a review critiquing the accuracy and reliability of Weiner's book.