William J. Daugherty


Daugherty, William J. "Approval and Review of Covert Action Programs since Reagan." International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 17, no. 1 (Spring 2004): 62-80.

"Since the Reagan years, the covert action approval and review processes have been such that (a) there is no possibility of a 'rogue' operation by the CIA, and (b) lawyers are present at every stage to insure that constitutional requirements, federal statutes, executive orders, and internal agency regulations are fully complied with."

[CA; Oversight/00s]

Daugherty, William J. "Argo/Our Man in Tehran." International Journal of Intelligence and CounterIntelligence 28, no. 1 (Spring 2015): 156-165.

Daugherty, who spent 444 days in captivity in Tehran, tells here the engaging story of his involvement not in Argo-The Operation but in Robert Wrght's "definitive book on the rescue operation," the movie (his stand-in in the movie had no lines), and a Canadian documentary based on Wright's book. A fun read!


Daugherty, William J. "Behind the Intelligence Failure in Iran." International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 14, no. 4 (Winter 2001-2002): 449-484.

This article reflects an excellent understanding of both high-level policy concerns and policy-executing actions in Washington and Tehran, and is recommended reading for anyone wanting a no-frills look at what went wrong (and why) for the United States in Iran in 1978-1979. Daugherty finds that the roots of Washington's problems lie "in reasons reflective of previous policy decisions, routine bureaucratic actions having nothing to do with Iran per se, and the inherent difficulty of understanding the crisis itself. Nonetheless, even when these external causes are dissected, the final result remains unchanged: The intelligence community did not serve the President well."


Daugherty, William J. Executive Secrets: Covert Action and the Presidency. Lexington, KY: University Press of Kentucky, 2004.

Clark comment: Although the author works much too hard in making his point that covert action is a tool of U.S. Presidents, not just of the CIA, this is a fine book of great value to any future discussion of the role of covert action in the making and implementing of American national security policy. It is, however, terribly thin on discussion of the Presidents since Reagan, an effect no doubt of the fact that Daugherty knew too much for the CIA to clear any references to unacknowledged actions. If I were teaching a national security or intelligence-related course at this time, Executive Secrets would be of great assistance.

Periscope 26.1 (2004), notes that the author "provides an overview of the nature and proper use of covert action as a tool of presidential statecraft and discusses its role in transforming presidential foreign policy into reality." For Brown, I&NS 20.4 (Dec. 2005), the author's "approach is logical and lucid." He argues that covert action operations represent "viable foreign policy options" undertaken at the direction of the President. This "is a very timely and useful examination of a controversial, but necessary[,] aspect of foreign policy."

Peake, Studies 50.2 (2006), notes that in examining "covert action policies and operations in each administration from Truman to Clinton," the author "shows that the level of activity varied more with international turmoil of the moment than with the party in power." Daugherty argues that covert action will "continue as an instrument of presidential policy when conventional methods short of war are unsuccessful," and he "provides ample justification for this position while illuminating this contentious topic with facts. This is a fine textbook and a valuable contribution."

[CA/00s & Begin; GenPostwar/Policy/00s]

Daugherty, William J. "A First Tour Like No Other." Studies in Intelligence, Spring 1998, 1-45. Studies in Intelligence: 45th Anniversary Special Edition, Fall 2000.

The author was a first-tour CIA Directorate of Operations officer who was among those taken hostage at the U.S. Embassy in Teheran. This is a highly readable account of Daugherty's 444 days of captivity, most of it in solitary confinement. If you care about the human side of the hostage situation, this is a good place to begin.


Daugherty, William J. In the Shadow of the Ayatollah: A CIA Hostage in Iran. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2001.

According to Bath, NIPQ 18.1, most of this work "deals with Daugherty's 444-day incarceration, much of which was in solitary confinement, and his intensive interrogation." However, the author opens with some stagesetting chapters, including one entitled "Intelligence Failure." He "finds that the problems lay more in policies in Washington than failures in the field.... Washington's lack of concern was made clear by the low priority it assigned to collection on Iran."

Stempel, American Diplomacy 8.3 (2003), says that this "book is well-written, well-organized, and concise. The author's balanced account is informative, direct, and clear. Though one often wishes for more depth on certain points, the book is not a definitive history of the hostage crisis, but rather an excellent individual effort to put the crisis into the context of American life at the time."


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