You can trash your space satellites, your wiretapping, and your e-mail filters — anyone who’s ever read a Tom Clancy thriller knows that the best intel comes from real human spies. So in his debut novel, veteran New York Times reporter Alex Berenson focuses on John Wells, the first CIA agent able to infiltrate al-Qaeda. Wells has lived with the terrorists for so long that he’s almost gone native, converting to Islam and attracting the suspicions of his handlers back in Langley. When al-Qaeda sends him to the U.S. to effectively carry out a terror attack, he doesn’t know who to trust. With its focus on post-9/11 bureaucratic politics, The Faithful Spy has large ambitions — too large for its potboiler plot to handle.