CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY

Overviews

2010s

Aldrich, Richard J. "'A Profoundly Disruptive Force': The CIA, Historiography and the Perils of Globalization." Intelligence and National Security 26, no. 2 & 3 (Apr.-Jun. 2011): 139-158.

The CIA "is fundamentally unsuited to address many of the new security problems which are transnational, messy, networked and violent. Admittedly, this is an organizational problem of a meta kind, but one that bureaucratic reform alone cannot fix."

Clark, J. Ransom. "Central Intelligence Agency." In Encyclopedia of U.S. Political History, Volume Six: Postwar Consensus to Social Unrest, 1946 to 1975, ed. Thomas S. Langston, 78-82. Washington DC: CQ Press, 2010.

Dujmovic, Nicholas. "Getting CIA History Right: The Informal Partnership Between Agency Historians and Outside Scholars." Intelligence and National Security 26, no. 2 & 3 (Apr.-Jun. 2011): 228-245.

The author contends that "the truth about CIA history is knowable even if every truth is not." He offers the argument that "CIA historians on the inside and outside intelligence scholars can together, but only together in [an] informal partnership, determine and make available for public knowledge true CIA history." Clark comment: Everyone wishing to write on the CIA should read this article before they begin.

Helgerson, John.

1. Getting to Know the President: CIA Briefings of Presidential Candidates, 1952-1992. Washington, DC: Center for the Study of Intelligence, Central Intelligence Agency, 1996. [https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/csi-publications/books-and-monographs/cia-briefings-of-presidential-candidates/index.htm]

In his "Foreword," Andrew calls this "an important and original book.... Helgerson provides the first detailed account of the way in which Agency briefers have attempted, with varying success, to adapt briefings to the different experience, priorities, and working patterns of successive presidents." Surveillant 4.4/5 exclaims, "Never before has the Agency disclosed much about the briefing of these presidents." Jonkers, AIJ 17.1/2, calls the work "[i]lluminating, interesting and recommended."

Clark comment: The book's importance may be arguable, but at a minimum it is original and, even more, it is certainly interesting. In light of all the uproar that would occur in later years over the hostage issue, it is worthy of note that the subject never came up in either the preelection or transition briefings of Reagan.

2. Getting to Know the President, Second Edition: Intelligence Briefings of Presidential Candidates, 1952-2004. Washington, DC: Center for the Study of Intelligence, Central Intelligence Agency, 2012. [https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/csi-publications/books-and-monographs/getting-to-know-the-president/index.html]

Peake, Studies 57.1 (Mar. 2013), and Intelligencer 20.1 (Spring-Summer 2013), notes that this version updates the original edition to include George W. Bush. It "is a historical treasure for those interested in intelligence and the presidency."

Jenkins, Tricia. The CIA in Hollywood: How the Agency Shapes Film and Television. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 2012.

The most interesting thing about the review by Peake, Studies 57.1 (Mar. 2013), is how hard he tries not to make fun of the author's work. After noting that Jenkins's "preference for 'Oliver Stone history' shines through," he concludes somewhat lamely that the book "is an interesting account of one author's point of view."

Prados, John. The Family Jewels: The CIA, Secrecy, and Presidential Power. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 2013.

Peake, Studies 58.1 (Mar. 2014), and Intelligencer 20.3 (Spring-Summer 2014), sees this work as "a critical examination of disturbing historical and contemporary events.... The patterns he develops are subjectively, not objectively linked."

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