CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY

Overviews

To 1989

J - O

Jeffers, H. Paul. The CIA: A Close Look at the CIA. New York: Lion Press, 1970. [Petersen]

Jeffreys-Jones, Rhodri. "The Historiography of the CIA." Historical Journal 23 (Jun. 1980): 489-496. [Petersen]

Johnson, Loch K. America's Secret Power: The CIA in a Democratic Society. New York: Oxford University Press, 1989. 1991. [pb]

Clark comment: Much has happened in the world of intelligence since Loch Johnson brought out America's Secret Power. However, the book remains solid for the period it covers (from the CIA's creation in 1947 through the 1987 Iran-Contra hearings). Well into the 1990s, it could still serve as the text for an introductory political science course on national security policy. Johnson's balanced approach may not please those who would prefer more pointed (sensational?) criticism, but his judgments rarely exceed the reach of his research.

Surveillant 1.6 sees Johnson providing a "study of the balance between the genuine needs of national security and the protection of individual liberties." America's Secret Power "examines the CIA and its relations with other American institutions including Congress and the White House." Johnson is "critical of the CIA's use of journalists and academics to gather intelligence"; and he "reveals how the best intelligence reports can be distorted or ignored, and how covert action can spin out of control."

According to the FA 68.5 (Sep.-Oct. 1988) reviewer, the book "is imbued throughout with good sense about how secret intelligence and democratic society can be made to coexist." Jackson, I&NS 5.3, refers to Johnson's "thoroughness and grasp of detail" and his "scholarly and straightforward approach." Nevertheless, the author "could dig deeper" in looking at the relationships within the intelligence world.

Mulcahy, IJI&C 4.1 calls America's Secret Power a "magisterial study" with "wide appeal to both practitioners and students." Johnson exercises "balanced judgment" and provides "meticulous documentation." The book is "definitive in its intellectual rigor and informed judgment." Johnson is the "rightful heir to the mantle of Harry Howe Ransom as the premier scholar of American intelligence policy."

Theoharis, PSQ 105.1, writes that the book is a "fairly comprehensive survey" of the CIA's history but "offers little new information." Only with regard to the Iran-Contra hearings does Johnson go beyond the documentary record of the congressional committees of 1975-1976. On the other hand, Goodman, APSR 84.4, asserts that Johnson has broken "new theoretical ground for students of both national security and the ethics of foreign policy.... The chapters on covert action operations and executive and legislative oversight are particularly good and well documented."

Karalekas, Anne. History of the Central Intelligence Agency. Laguna Hills, CA: Aegean Park Press, 1977.

Clark comment: This is a reprint from Book IV, Supplementary Detailed Staff Reports on Intelligence and Military Intelligence, of the Church Committee Report. This reprint has itself been reprinted, with an additional documentary appendix: William M. Leary, ed., The Central Intelligence Agency: History and Documents (University, AL: University of Alabama Press, 1984).

For Constantinides, the Karalekas history is "a well-researched study that reflects the author's training as a scholar, her knowledge of U.S. history and government, and her grasp of intelligence work.... Good as it is, however, it is not flawless, particularly where judgments are made." Pforzheimer comments that while it is "somewhat biased and uneven ... on the role of clandestine collection and covert action, this 'History' is probably the best text publicly available on the history of the CIA."

Kim, Young Hum, ed. The Central Intelligence Agency: Problems of Secrecy in a Democracy. Lexington, MA: Heath, 1968.

Constantinides notes that this relatively brief (108 pages) compendium contains items written between 1947 and 1967. The items included "vary in quality," but the work does allow "for a balanced participation of points of view."

Kirkpatrick, Lyman B. Jr. The Real CIA. New York: Macmillan, 1968.

Clark comment: Kirkpatrick describes his career in OSS and CIA. Among other positions, he served as the Agency's Inspector General and Executive Director- Comptroller (then the third ranking job in the CIA). He left the CIA in 1965 to teach political science at Brown University. Because of the senior positions he held, Kirkpatrick's account of events in the CIA's first 18 years are worth reading. Lyman Kirkpatrick died 27 February 1995. His obituary appears in the New York Times, 6 Mar. 1995, A16 (N).

In his comments on the book, Constantinides finds Kirkpatrick selective in what he chose to write about. He also identifies some dated material in the book, but notes that that there is much here of "historical value." Lowenthal finds Kirkpatrick's work to be a "useful and sometimes critical insider's memoir, with insights on several key events and developments through 1965."

Leary, William M., ed. The Central Intelligence Agency: History and Documents. University, AL: University of Alabama Press, 1984.

This is a reprint of the Karalekas study with the addition of a documentary appendix.

Marchetti, Victor, and John D. Marks. The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence. New York: Knopf, 1974. London: Jonathan Cape, 1974. Revised ed. New York: Dell, 1980. [pb]

Petersen calls this book a "well-researched attack on CIA by two former mid-level intelligence officers. Informative, but to be used with caution." To Pforzheimer, the work is "marked by its heavy attacks on CIA's Clandestine Services ... and covert operations.... It is an uneven book whose polemics tend to unbalance what valid material it may contain." Constantinides argues that, despite the authors' tendency to mix fact and opinion, "the amount of accurate material that is divulged is enormous." The 1980 edition contains passages previously deleted.

It is the opinion of the NameBase reviewer that "[a]long with Philip Agee's 'Inside the Company: CIA Diary,' this was one of the most important works on the CIA to appear in the 1970s. While Agee's book is a detailed look at one officer's activities in several Latin American countries, Marchetti and Marks give an overview of the CIA's administrative structure and operational history."

Tovar, IJI&C 13.2/224, reminds us that while "Marchetti has been touted over the years as a senior Agency officer, an authority on virtually everything," he was in actuality neither of these. "As an assistant to the Deputy Director, he served in much the same capacity as a general's aide...-- a good paper-pusher, knowledgeable on many topics, but not a key personage and certainly not privy to all that he claims to know about."

Munves, James. The FBI and the CIA: Secret Agents and American Democracy. New York: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1975.

From publisher: "Presents cases involving the FBI and CIA from the Depression years to the Watergate burglary and discusses the role of these two agencies in government and in the lives of ordinary citizens."

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