Melvin Goodman


Goodman, Melvin A. "The CIA Must Come Clean.", 10 Feb. 2000. []

The author comments on the Deutch security violations, DCI George Tenet's role in the Deutch investigation, and recent failings in the CIA's intelligence.

[CIA/00/Gen; CIA/DCIs/Deutch]

Goodman, Melvin A. "The C.I.A.'s Reason for Living." New York Times, 15 Mar. 1996, A15.

The "Presidential commission has recently recommended steps that would ... weaken [the CIA] as an independent and objective interpreter of foreign events." Among the recommendations is one that would turn over analysis of satellite photography to the military; there are "major risks" in this. The new "partnership" envisaged by the commission between the CIA's collection and analytical elements offers the prospect of policy advocacy hampering the flow of intelligence information.


Goodman, Melvin A. "Ending the CIA's Cold War Legacy." Foreign Policy 106 (Spring 1997): 128-143.

The author continues to beat the dull drum of how the next director needs to address the Agency's failure to predict the fall of the Soviet Union.

[CIA/90s; Reform/90s/CIA]

Goodman, Melvin A. Failure of Intelligence: The Decline and Fall of the CIA. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2008.

Luria, Intelligencer 16.1 (Spring 2008), comments that "it is clear that most of [the author's] experience has been on the analytical and not operational side." While Goodman "very accurately captures the political winds that buffet America's intelligence output," he "has covered only a part of the territory."

For Peake, Studies 52.4 (Dec. 2008) and Intelligencer 17.1 (Winter-Spring 2009), the author's "litany of so-called failures ... is not new" and most of his suggestions for change "are familiar." However, "[i]f the reader is not fooled by outrageous, undocumentable charges ... and is willing to make the effort," this work is "a good summary of the problems facing the CIA and the Intelligence Community today, though that may have been an unintended consequence."


Goodman, Melvin A. "India Fallout: Embarrassingly Missed Signals. U.S. Intelligence Failure Shows Need for Reform." Christian Science Monitor, 18 May 1998. [http://www.csmonitor. com]

"The Indian fiasco has exposed the three major deficiencies evident at the CIA for the past several years: politicization, bureaucratization, and a fundamental misunderstanding of the proper interaction between intelligence and policymaking....

"The CIA has ... been victimized by its efforts to be 'relevant' to the policy community in Washington. The Aspin-Brown Commission on Intelligence in 1996 encouraged the CIA to identify 'relevant customers ... by position' and to consult them 'with respect to the type of intelligence support they prefer.' As a result, intelligence analysis has lost much of its objectivity and, in the case of India, CIA analysts missed numerous political and scientific signals that pointed to the likelihood of nuclear tests....

"Another recommendation of the Aspin-Brown commission, the consolidation of all analysis of satellite imagery in the newly-created National Imagery and Mapping Agency, also contributed to the intelligence failure.... If the Pentagon continues to dominate the analysis of satellite photography..., we can expect additional intelligence failures that will adversely affect US national security....

"CIA Director George Tenet ... himself has set the wrong tone at the CIA.... Tenet and his immediate predecessors have severely limited research and the production of national intelligence estimates, transferred military intelligence to the Pentagon, and returned economic intelligence to the Commerce Department and the Department of Energy....

"It is time to create a separate analytical agency outside the policy process in order to return to Harry Truman's raison d'être for the CIA: producing objective and incisive intelligence reports."

[CIA/90s/98/IndiaNukes; Reform/90s/CIA]

Goodman, Melvin A. National Insecurity: The Cost of American Militarism. San Francisco, CA: City Lights, 2013.

Lutz, Chronicle (San Francisco), 18 Jan. 2013, finds that "militarization" is the author's "shorthand for our growing investment in the belief that military force is the best tool for providing national security and that foreign policy is best pursued by the Pentagon." For Kirkus Review, 15 Dec. 2012, this book is "[e]ngaging reading for those interested in foreign policy and military spending." Schaefer, New York Journal of Books, 15 Jan. 2013, views National Insecurity as "a well written, damning book of an out-of-control defense budget, military driven diplomacy, and instances of presidential abuse of power."


Goodman, Melvin A. "9/11: The Failure of Strategic Intelligence." Intelligence and National Security 18, no. 4 (Winter 2003): 59-71.

The author again manages to discuss his favorite topic, the "politicization" of intelligence by William Casey and Robert Gates; and, then, takes it one step further by accusing DCI George Tenet of "serving the policy interests of the Bush administration." Whether there is some truth in the latter accusation will probably be argued about into some distant future, although a simple assertion that it is true is hardly sufficient as proof.

[CIA/00s/03/Gen; Overviews/Gen/00s/I&NS]

Goodman, Melvin A. "Oldthink at the C.I.A.?" New York Times, 7 Jan. 1993, A23.


Goodman, Melvin A. "Reforming the CIA." Foreign Service Journal (Jun. 1993): 18-23.


Goodman, Melvin A. “Revamping the CIA.” Issues in Science and Technology 18, no. 2 (Winter 2001-2002): 59-65.

The author outlines the steps that he believes “are needed in order to design an intelligence infrastructure to deal effectively with the new and emerging national security problems”: (1) Demilitarize the intelligence community; (2) revive oversight; (3) reduce covert action; (4) separate operations and analysis; and (5) increase intelligence sharing.


Goodman, Melvin. "The Role of Intelligence in the War Against Terrorism.", 27 Aug. 1998. []

"[I]ntelligence has been less useful in anticipating acts of terrorism but very useful in the investigative process following ... terrorist attacks.... Unfortunately, the CIA has its own credibility problem in the war against terrorism because of its misuse of intelligence information." Clark comment: Here follows a standard Goodman litany about the politicization of intelligence by William Casey and Robert Gates.

"The CIA is good at pinpointing terrorists and describing terrorism, but the intentions of terrorists are more elusive, and it will be difficult to predict their next moves.... But this is no time to reverse a series of executive orders that prohibit U.S. officials from 'engaging in, or conspiring to engage in, political assassination'.... It is also no time to be making a greater economic investment in intelligence against terrorism. Sufficient collection platforms are already in place to target terrorist groups, as well as a sufficient number of intelligence analysts throughout the intelligence community."


Goodman, Melvin A. "Starting Over at the CIA.", 18 Jun. 1998. []

See Goodman's Christian Science Monitor article above (the words are different, but the thrust is the same).

[CIA/90s/98/IndiaNukes; Reform/90s/CIA]

Goodman, Melvin A. "We Need Two C.I.A.s?" New York Times, 21 Jul. 1994, A23.


Goodman, Melvin A. "Who Is the CIA Fooling? Only Itself." Washington Post, 19 Dec. 1999, B1. [] "Who Is the CIA Fooling?" Washington Post National Weekly Edition, 3 Jan. 2000, 22.

The former CIA analyst takes issue with the positive tone given the CIA's Soviet estimates at the Texas A&M University conference. He reiterates criticisms of previous occasions, pointing specifically to what he perceives as the politicization of intelligence under DCI Casey and DDI Gates (against whose appointment as DCI he testified in 1991) in the early to mid-1980s.

In an Op-Ed piece, President Bush's national security adviser Brent Scowcroft, "Intelligence Is Not a Crystal Ball," Washington Post, 12 Jan. 2000, 18, says that "[f]rom the perspective of the policymaker,... [Goodman] got it wrong." Scowcroft comments: "A principal policy goal of the Bush administration in the last days of the Cold War was to encourage liberalization in the Soviet Union, and especially in Eastern Europe, but at a rate that would not result in a crackdown by Soviet security forces. Our problem was, we did not know what rate of movement was sustainable. The CIA's analysis of the situation helped to keep our policy within sustainable bounds. Had there been an 'intelligence failure' in this case, we might still have a hostile Soviet Union facing us."


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