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John D. Marks is a former officer of the United States Department of State who co-authored the 1974 controversial non-fiction political book The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence with Victor Marchetti.

Marks worked for five years with the State Department as an analyst and staff assistant to the Director of the Bureau of Intelligence and Research. After leaving the State Department he worked with Marchetti on a book about the need to reform the Central Intelligence Agency. The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence was completed in 1973. CIA officials read the manuscript and told Marchetti and Marks that they had to remove 399 passages, nearly a fifth of the book. After long negotiations the CIA yielded on 171 items. That left 168 censored passages. The publisher, Alfred A. Knopf, decided to go ahead and publish the book with blanks for those passages, and with the sections that the CIA had originally cut but then restored printed in boldface. The publication of Marchetti's censored book raised concerns about the way the CIA was censoring information. It led to investigative reports by Seymour Hersh in The New York Times and the decision by Frank Church to establish the United States Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities in 1975. The report, Foreign and Military Intelligence, was published in 1976.

His 1979 book, The Search for the Manchurian Candidate describes a wide range of CIA activities during the Cold War including unethical drug experiments in the context of a mind-control and chemical interrogation research program. The book is based on many interviews including those with retired members of the psychological division of the CIA, and the book describes some of the work of psychologists in this effort with a whole chapter on the Personality Assessment System.

Marks later became a fellow of the Harvard Institute of Politics and an associate of the Harvard Negotiation Project and director of the Nuclear Network in Washington.

In 1982, Mr. Marks founded a non-profit organization called Search for Common Ground in Washington, DC.


  • The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence (1973)
  • "How to Spot a Spook", in Washington Monthly (November 1974)
  • The CIA File (1976)
  • The Search for the Manchurian Candidate (Copyright 1979, Norton Paperback edition 1991)
  • Our Context (2002)


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