Mark M. Lowenthal

J - Z


Lowenthal, Mark M. "Keep James Bond Out of GM." The International Economy, Jul.-Aug. 1992, 52-54.

Lowenthal sees significant problems in the idea that the U.S. Intelligence Community might play a more active and direct role with regard to U.S. business.


Lowenthal, Mark. "Open Source Intelligence: New Myths, New Realities." [] Intelligencer 10, no. 1 (Feb. 1999): 7-9.

Clark comment: This is an excellent analysis of the problems surrounding the collection and use of open-source intelligence in the information world of today. Lowenthal argues that the the Community Open Source Program Office (COSPO), "the IC's attempt to arrive at a more coherent approach to the open source issues, both technology and content," failed to achieve its mission. The reasons for that failure can be found in an "in-grained" Intelligence Community "prejudice ... against open sources," and an overemphasis on "finding an ever elusive technology that would solve the open source problem of multiple and diverse sources."


Lowenthal, Mark M. "The Real Intelligence Failure? Spineless Spies." Washington Post, 25 May 2008, B1. []

In a stringent commentary, the author argues that U.S. intelligence "has failed ... not because of 9/11, or Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction.... We have failed because we have not explained ourselves adequately and comprehensibly to the public -- describing our role, the limits within which we work and our view of what can be reasonably expected from us. We have failed because we have allowed ourselves to be caricatured, vilified and misrepresented by people who do not know us, do not like us and do not understand us -- or simply see us as convenient fall guys.... [T]he net result has been a misguided restructuring of the entire intelligence community based on faulty premises."


Lowenthal, Mark M. "Searching for National Intelligence: U.S. Intelligence and Policy Before the Second World War." Intelligence and National Security 6, no. 4 (Oct. 1991): 736-749.

Lowenthal describes this article as assessing COI and OSS analytical efforts, "arguing that there was little historic continuity between this fairly unimportant output and the analytical role eventually assumed by the CIA."

[Analysis/Historical; WWII/OSS/R&A]

Lowenthal, Mark M. "Towards a Reasonable Standard for Analysis: How Right, How Often on Which Issues?" Intelligence and National Security 23, no. 3 (Jun. 2008): 303-315.

The author suggests that there is a need for "a recalibrating of expectations or ... a lowering of expectations of what intelligence can do.... [This] means accepting the fallibility of intelligence and -- when considering the terrorists' war against us -- the fact that we will suffer losses on occasion not because intelligence is flawed but because it is human and it is difficult."


Lowenthal, Mark M. "Transforming Intelligence: From What, to What?" American Intelligence Journal 29, no. 1 (2011): 5-11.

The author sees the 9/11 Commission Report as "one of the most archly political commission reports ever published." He also notes that the IRTPA "went through a greatly abbreviated legislative process." All the talk about "transforming" intelligence "leads to a more important question: How much of what the Intelligence Community does is truly susceptible to transformative change? I would argue that the answer is 'Not much.' ... [T]he most glaring problem is the woeful misunderstanding of what it is that the Intelligence Community does." Lowenthal calls for "[g]etting back to basics in a serious, Community-wide way."

[Analysis/Gen; Reform/10s]

Lowenthal, Mark M. "Tribal Tongues: Intelligence Consumers, Intelligence Producers." Washington Quarterly 15, no. 1 (Winter 1992): 157-168.

Looks at the producer-consumer relationship and the misunderstandings that can occur in both directions.


Lowenthal, Mark M. The U.S. Intelligence Community: An Annotated Bibliography. New York & London: Garland, 1994.

Clark comment: This work consists of 225 entries, divided into five main topic areas: Intelligence Theory and Practice (subdivided into General, Analysis, and Operations); History and Organization (General, CIA, Other Agencies, Analysis, and Operations); Intelligence Oversight; Compilations of Documents; and Bibliographies. Lowenthal also supplies the text of the National Security Act (as amended through June 8, 1993), other relevant legislation and Executive Orders, a list of the Directors of Central Intelligence, and an organizational chart of the Intelligence Community.

The author's annotations are brief (usually 2-4 lines) but focused and generally on the mark. Lowenthal provides neither the depth of comment of either Constantinides or Pforzheimer (but is more current) nor the scope of coverage of Petersen (but is more insightful regarding the individual entries). These comparisons are, in a sense, unfair in that Lowenthal does not set out to compete with the other compilers. His focus is on a bibliography covering "the specific roles that intelligence plays in the national security policy process, and the strengths and weaknesses of intelligence's contribution to that process." (p. 5) This is a useful work, but does not replace any of the broader-based bibliographies.

Johnson, AIJ 16.1/43, refers to Lowenthal's work as "a thorough bibliography." Johnson also wrote the foreword for this volume; there, he offers the judgment that Lowenthal's bibliography "displays an admirable fairness by offering a range of normative views on the proper uses of the intelligence agencies."


Lowenthal, Mark M., with a Foreword by David Kahn. U.S. Intelligence: Evolution and Anatomy. 2d ed. Published with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Washington, D.C., "The Washington Papers Series/157." Westport, CT: Praeger, 1992.

Clark Comment: Back last century, I used this concise overview of the development and organization of the U.S. intelligence community as one of the texts in "POLS 320: National Security Issues," Muskingum University. At the time, when looking for a "nuts-and- bolts," organization-oriented text for an intelligence course, the choice was between Lowenthal and Jeffrey Richelson's The U.S. Intelligence Community (3d ed., 1995). The former provides a better outline for teaching, but the latter is richer in detail.

Sharman, NSLR 15.8, sees this as "two books ... within the same binder." One is a "history of the American intelligence community since World War II," and the other is a description of "the roles of the various intelligence offices and agencies, as well as oversight bodies in the legislative and executive branches." The author "served in [INR] ... and his historical and descriptive discussions occasionally betray a State Department bias. The favoritism is minimal, however."

For Surveillant 2.6, Lowenthal's work is a "concise guide to the changes [in the intelligence community] especially for the layperson.... Overall it is a good primer well balanced and documented with good primary and secondary sources." Ford, FILS 11.5, says the book is "to be commended"; it is a "useful source book" and an "easily digested overview of U.S. intelligence."


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