CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY

Overviews

1990s

T - Z

Thomas, Stafford T. "A Political Theory of the CIA." International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 11, no. 1 (Spring 1998): 57-72.

The author presents a theoretical framework for analysis of the CIA built around three areas of analysis: "the international political arena, the political world of Washington, and the bureaucratic level."

Weber, Ralph E., ed. Spymasters: Ten CIA Officers in Their Own Words. Wilmington, DE: Scholarly Resources, 1999.

Jonkers, AFIO WIN (14 Dec. 1998), gives this "superb book" a "highly recommended" notation. The work consists of "interviews with ten senior CIA officers ... cover[ing] a wide range of intelligence activity, describing not only a number of critical events, but also the relationships between the agency's directors and the presidents they served.... It is interesting, and often fascinating reading, and important for all who seek to provide context for their understanding of the inner workings of the agency and intelligence operations."

For Kruh, Cryptologia 23.4, this is a "fascinating collection of oral histories" that "shed light on some of the most sensitive issues and activities" of the CIA "during the hottest period of the Cold War." Wiant, Studies 46.2 (2002), notes that Weber "introduces Spymasters with a brief, well-researched history of intelligence in the United States up to the formation of the CIA. The interviews pick up the subsequent story. While they lack the clear narrative line of a history, they offer recollections ... that combine the essence of our past with important lessons for the present."

Paseman, Intelligencer 10.3, calls Spymasters "a welcome and valuable addition to any collection on the history of intelligence." The work is enhanced by the collection and editing of these oral histories by "a scholar who understands both history and the intelligence business." On the other hand, Immerman, Choice, Jun. 1999, comments that Weber's interviews "add little to the extant record. They are uniformly superficial, and Weber chose not to annote them or provide context or critical analysis. The CIA's responsibilities for intelligence and analysis receive short shrift."

Weiner, Tim. "The Real C.I.A." http://www.nytimes.com/library/national/index-cia.html.

This item appears as a special section on the New York Times Web site. It is based on the Showtime documentary, first aired on 29 November 1998, entitled, "The Real C.I.A.: Enemies, Secrets and Spies." The text on the Website was written by Weiner who also narrated the TV documentary. The section includes articles from the New York Times archives about the events covered in the report.

Westerfield, H. Bradford, ed. Inside CIA's Private World: Declassified Articles from the Agency's Internal Journal, 1955-1992. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1995.

Clark comment: Studies in Intelligence has been the CIA's in-house quasi-academic journal for over 40 years. The editor has chosen his 32 selections well. A number of well-known names appear as authors, and some of the articles qualify as "classics" in the field. Westerfield provides a 16-page introduction that includes a short history of the CIA, comments on process and criteria in selecting the articles for publication, and the organizational outline into which the articles have been placed. The introductory history is reasonably balanced and will be useful to those coming to the book without an extensive background in intelligence. However, Westerfield goes to slightly annoying lengths to prove that he was not coopted by the Agency during his association with the project. Click for a full-length review.

For Chambers, Westerfield's introduction "includes what must be the best nutshell history of the CIA ever written." The articles themselves "are written to a high standard by experienced professionals still active in their fields when they wrote. They give insights into practicalities and problems, into the challenges of collection and analysis, on how to keep up with demanding consumers in a way that no other open-source material ever has before. Every article will repay reading by anyone who is serious about intelligence, and anybody who is serious about their study of intelligence should read this book." Click for Chambers' full-length review.

Cohen, FA 75.3 (May-Jun. 1996), calls Inside CIA's Private World "engrossing and fascinating. The articles include some of the best treatments of intelligence issues ever written.... Westerfield's commentary is spare, precise, and penetrating, his editorial judgment acute."

For Warren, Surveillant 4.2, Westerfield has made "excellent selections" that "run the gamut of the intelligence collection cycle with a fair and balanced representation.... [T]his is a book that should be in the library of every intelligence officer." Jonkers, AIJ, 17.3/4, also remarks on Westerfield's "outstanding selection" of articles that address intelligence issues "in a thoughtful and intelligent manner" and his "excellent introduction." This "is a book for the contemplative and intellectual professional."

Zegart, Amy B. Flawed By Design: The Evolution of the CIA, JCS, and NSC. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1999.

Robert David Steele provides the following comments: "This is a very worthy and thoughtful book. It breaks new ground in understanding the bureaucratic and political realities that surrounded the emergence of the National Security Council, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Central Intelligence Agency. The CIA was weak by design, strongly opposed by the military services from the beginning. Its covert activities emerged as a Presidential prerogative, unopposed by others in part because it kept CIA from being effective at coordinated analysis, for which it had neither the power nor the talent. Most usefully, the book presents a new institutionalist theory of bureaucracy that gives full weight to the original design, the political players including the bureaucrats themselves, and external events. Unlike domestic agencies that have strong interest groups, open information, legislative domain, and unconnected bureaucracies, the author finds that national security agencies, being characterized by weak interest groups, secrecy, executive domain, and connected bureaucracies, evolve differently from other bureaucracies, and are much harder to reform."

For Richelson, IJI&C 13.4, "Zegart frequently oversimplifies the history and issues involved in ways that lead to questionable judgments on her part.... Oversimplification and a lack of understanding of the issues involved are particularly evident in Dr. Zegart's treatment of the CIA.... Flawed By Design is itself flawed. One [flaw] is inadequate research." Steele (positive) and Richelson (negative) exchange barbs over their conflicting assessments of Zegart's work in "Reader's Forum," IJI&C 14.2.

To Warner, Studies 11 (Fall-Winter 2001), Zegart's "narrative has a shaky grasp of the historical facts of the Agency's origins. Flawed By Design thus builds some worthy insights on a wobbly foundation."

Ratnesar, Washington Monthly, Jan.-Feb. 2000, finds Flawed By Design to be "incisive and revealing." The author "is particularly thorough in describing the bureaucratic horse-trading that preceded the drafting of 1947's National Security Act.... Zegart reserves her harshest judgments for the design of the JCS and the CIA.... The CIA ... was created without the authority to coordinate 'intelligence from the rest of the community....' It was only after ... the Goldwater-Nicholson [sic] Act of 1986 that the JCS evolved into anything other than an ineffective and ultimately dangerous forum for interservice rivalry." The author argues "convincingly ... that U.S. interests have been compromised ... by the institutional design of national security agencies."

Zepezauer, Mark. The CIA's Greatest Hits: The Real Story Series. Tucson, AZ: Odonian Press, 1994.

Surveillant 3.6: "A brief [96 pages] anti-CIA sweep through history, chronicling what this author deems forty-two of the CIA's biggest crimes.... Brief, two-page summaries, each accompanied by a cartoon."

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