Loch Johnson



Johnson, Loch K. "The CIA and the Media." Intelligence and National Security 1, no. 2 (May 1986): 143-169.


Johnson, Loch K. "CIA Needs Vigilant Oversight, but It Won't Always Work." Washington Post, 30 Aug. 2009. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

"[H]igh-profile investigations will not transform human nature, turning intelligence officials -- or the presidents and White House aides who direct them -- into angels, unsusceptible to zeal and folly.... We will launch new investigations and introduce new reforms, but sometimes all we can do is clean up the messes after the fact. So let's get used to it."

[CIA/00s/09; Oversight/00s]

Johnson, Loch K. "The CIA and the Question of Accountability." Intelligence and National Security 12, no. 1 (Jan. 1997): 178-200.

Clark comment: Johnson is arguably the foremost academic writer on the subject of intelligence accountability. His views, however, have been irreducibly influenced by his service on the Church Committee staff. While this gives his work a sameness of tone and viewpoint, it does not diminish the value of his thoughts. His basic argument here is that the investigations of 1975 and the reforms that flowed from them have made the CIA "a part of the government's usual checks and balances," that the resulting increase in accountability is a good thing, and that Congress remains a necessary -- and clearly, constitutionally mandated -- part of maintaining democratic oversight of intelligence activities.

See Stephen Knott's counterargument: "Executive Power and the Control of American Intelligence," Intelligence and National Security 13, no. 2 (Summer 1998): 171-176. Johnson responds in, "Intelligence and the Challenge of Collaborative Government," Intelligence and National Security 13, no. 2 (Summer 1998): 177-182.

[Oversight/90s; Overviews/Legal/Gen][c]

Johnson, Loch. “The CIA’s Weakest Link.” Washington Monthly, Jul.-Aug. 2001, 9-14.

“[T]he nation's spy agencies are still relying on a technological edge to keep the country abreast of looming international crises, and are giving short shrift to the people who synthesize and interpret the mounds of intelligence pouring in from around the globe…. America's analytic depth is uncomfortably shallow. Imagery analysis in particular has suffered from inadequate attention.”



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