CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY

Overviews

1990s

A - S

Baclawski, Joseph A. "A Basic Intelligence Need: The Best Map of Moscow." Studies in Intelligence (1997): 111-114.

"This is the story of how the CIA developed [the best unclassified general reference] map [of Moscow] to fill a basic intelligence gap."

Gup, Ted.

1. "Star Agents." Washington Post Magazine, 7 Sep. 1997, 6-13, 22-23. "Over the Years, Terrorists' Bombs, Machine-Gun Fire, Snipers' Bullets, Plane Crashes, Land Mines and Torture Have All Added Stars to the Book of Honor." Washington Post Magazine, 7 Sep. 1997. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

The author's rather silly emphasis on the relationship between the unnamed stars on the CIA's Wall of Honor and the continued existence of some "culture of secrecy" is more than minimally annoying. However, when the seemingly mandatory anti-CIA guff is stripped away, the stories told of six of the individuals whose names are not among those openly listed in the Book of Honor are worth reading for a glimpse at ordinary and extraordinary people who gave the last full measure in the service of their country.

2. "CIA Officer's Name to Be Added To Honored Dead After 32 Years." Washington Post, 8 Sep. 1997, A6.

"The CIA [on 5 September 1997] informed the family of a covert officer killed in action 32 years ago that his name will be added to the agency's Book of Honor, the public registry of clandestine employees who gave their lives in service to the nation.

"The officer, Mike Maloney, was one of 41 CIA casualties memorialized only by an anonymous star in the book, which is on permanent display in the lobby of CIA headquarters and which was the subject of an article in [the 7 September 1997] Washington Post Magazine. Maloney, 25, died Oct. 12, 1965, when the helicopter in which he was a passenger crashed in the jungles of Laos."

Haines, Gerald K. "The CIA's Role in the Study of UFOs, 1947-90." Studies in Intelligence (Semiannual ed. 1, 1997): 67-84. Reprinted as "A Die-Hard Issue: CIA's Role in the Study of UFOs, 1947-90." Intelligence and National Security 14, no. 2 (Summer 1999): 26-49.

"The idea that CIA has secretly concealed its research into UFOs has been a major theme of UFO buffs since the modern UFO phenomena emerged in the late 1940s.... [Nevertheless,] while Agency concern over UFOs was substantial until the early 1950s, CIA has since paid only limited and peripheral attention to the phenomena." [footnote omitted]

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."

Hulnick, Arthur S. "Openness: Being Public About Secret Intelligence." International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 12, no. 4 (Winter 1999): 463-483.

"[T]he American intelligence system has become the most open of any in the industrialized world."

Kessler, Ronald. Inside the CIA: Revealing the Secrets of the World's Most Powerful Spy Agency. New York: Pocket Books, 1992. [pb]

Clark comment: Kessler's Inside the CIA is divided into five parts, one each for the four directorates and a fifth covering the Office of the DCI. Kessler makes clear, both in the obligatory "Acknowledgements" and an "Author's Note," that DCI William Webster afforded him "limited cooperation" (pp. xi, xviii) in preparing the book.

For Surveillant 2.6, there is "considerable regurgitation of old offenses some of which are supported, others not." There is a "good chapter on the Career Training Program." Although it contains "many undocumented assertions..., Inside the CIA does make an interesting and valuable contribution; but "it falls far short of the expectations raised by the advertising copywriters."

Macartney, Intelligencer 10.1, says this "is an easy read with a lot of information, history, trade craft, and so on." However, it "is getting out of date." Bates, NIPQ 9.2, says he "found nothing new or startling," but thinks Kessler is "fairly supportive of the CIA." Fein, FILS 12.1, notes that Kessler tends to "make uninformed judgments of the agency ... on issues worthy of more serious discussion." Many of Kessler's "verdicts are either groundless or seriously arguable" and the book's "analytical and factual errors ... are serious barriers to sophisticated understanding."

According to Peake, AIJ 14.1, "[n]o secrets are exposed.... Ranelagh's book provides more on what was done" even though "Kessler is ... several years more current." Nevertheless, this is the "well-written product of an enterprising journalist who has provided a good overview of the functional organization sprinkled with interesting anecdotal material." The author's "statement that the security guards carry machine guns and wear park ranger hats will bring chuckles to those performing security duties." In addition, the book is an "unabashed tribute to the Judge ... [and] has enough factual errors to convince most readers to be weary [sic] of undocumented claims."

NameBase finds that "[w]hile Ronald Kessler is not a critic of U.S. intelligence agencies, neither is he an unqualified booster. The strength of this book is that he's the first outsider to be allowed inside for a tour of CIA headquarters, and granted interviews with present and former CIA officials, for the specific purpose of writing it.... He blends a bit of historical context (including some dirty laundry) with a description of day-to-day operations, and the result is worthwhile even for those ... who have read dozens of books about the CIA."

Murphy, David E., Sergei A. Kondrashev, and George Bailey. Battleground Berlin: CIA vs. KGB in the Cold War. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1997.

Clark comment: Murphy is a former chief of the CIA Berlin Base and later headed Soviet operations at CIA Headquarters. Kondrashev is a retired KGB lieutenant general and headed the KGB's German Department. Bailey is a journalist and former director of Radio Liberty. Is this the final word on the Cold War as fought over, around, and in Berlin? Probably not, but we are unlikely to get a view from a more intimate standpoint. There are 57 pages of notes that bear out a conclusion that these are more than the meanderings of two old Cold Warriors.

From the "Preface": "Our goal has ... been ambitious: to provide never-before-seen documentary evidence of what each side knew during the crises, and to give readers a sense of what it was like to face off with an intelligence foe in Cold War Berlin."

Cohen, FA 76.6 (Nov.-Dec. 1997), notes that Battleground Berlin "covers primarily the grim glory days of the Cold War in Berlin -- the period up to the building of the Berlin Wall." Although this "is a major contribution to the intelligence history of the Cold War," the book has a number of gaps; and "Bailey's efforts to reconcile his coauthors' views of reality do not always succeed."

McGehee, in cloaks-and-daggers@maelstrom.stjohns.edu, says that "the book is laden with details that are difficult to follow as they swing from the CIA operational stories to the KGBers focus on political intelligence about postwar Germany. The authors unsuccessfully juxtaposition their stories, adding to the difficulties in comprehension and interest." In addition, the claims advanced as to the value of the Berlin Tunnel "seem overblown but a definitive appraisal is impossible."

The Publishers Weekly, 21 Jul. 1997, reviewer calls the book "a crucial addition to filling an important gap in our understanding of the Cold War. The book is not only authoritative, it is also well written and possesses the qualities of a very engaging espionage novel." In the same vein, Friend, History 26.3, calls Battleground Berlin "sober, authoritative, unsensational, documented, and revelatory."

For Bates, NIPQ, 14.3, a downside of the book "is the massive amount of detail." Nevertheless, the narrative fleshes out the history of the Cold War in Berlin "with a mass of heretofore-untold facts.... Another plus for Battleground Berlin is the detailed discussion of CIA and KGB tradecraft." Adams, IJI&C 12.1, sees this as "an unusual and very important volume ... [that] is illuminating on a number of levels."

The review by Jeffreys-Jones, I&NS 13.4, reads a bit haughty for my taste. Although he grants that they provide "balanced accounts of some significant episodes,... some interesting details ... [and l]ittle glimpses ... of characters," the reviewer takes the authors to task for being "historical amateurs." He finds particular fault with the absence in the book of "historical context" for the events they are relating. Welcome to the real world, Jeffreys-Jones.

Powers, NYRB (23 Oct. 1997) and Intelligence Wars (2004), 141-158, sees Battleground Berlin as "a fascinating and important account of the opening campaigns of the secret cold war waged by the CIA and the KGB.... Anyone interested in just how complex a counterintelligence case can become should read the fourteen pages in which Battleground Berlin lays out the intricate web of what was known to whom, through which channels," as the KGB closed in on Col. Pyotr Popov. See also, William Drozdiak, "Rival Spies Relive Thrills of Cold War," Washington Post, 21 Oct. 1997, A16.

Ranelagh, John. C.I.A. London: BBC Books, 1992.

Surveillant 2:4: This is a "compact, slightly changed edition" of author's 1987 book The Agency. It contains new photos and new material on some CIA figures. The book "tracks a BBC series on CIA."

Sorley, Lewis. The Central Intelligence Agency: An Overview. Intelligence Profession Series. McLean, VA: Association of Former Intelligence Officers, 1990.

Stockwell, John. After the Cold War: The CIA and the National Security State. Boston: South End Press, 1990.

Is this the same book noted in an advertisement? The Praetorian Guard: The U.S. Role in the New World Order (Boston: South End Press). From advertisement: "Ex-CIA agent John Stockwell analyzes the CIA and other institutional forces shaping U.S. domestic and foreign policy. Includes a selected bibliography on the national security state."

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