CIA OVERVIEWS

Eternal Vigilance?

Jeffreys-Jones, Rhodri, and Christopher Andrew, eds.

A. "Special Issue on 'Eternal Vigilance? 50 Years of the CIA.'" Intelligence and National Security 12, no. 1 (Jan. 1997): entire issue.

1. Bradley F. Smith, "The American Road to Central Intelligence," 1-20.

Smith sweeps through the ups and downs of U.S. intelligence from 1861 to 1942. With the establishment of OSS in June 1942 and the development of British-American intelligence cooperation over the following year, the United States had "a large and sophisticated intelligence system comparable to that of the other great powers."

2. Rhodri Jeffreys-Jones, "Why Was the CIA Established in 1947?" 21-40.

The author tackles the debate between those who see the CIA as a child of the Cold War and those who find the Agency's origins rooted in the Pearl Harbor debacle. His conclusion: Yes. The most interesting line of thought pursued here is that in seeking to single out the "major causes of the CIA's establishment, it is necessary to distinguish between the executive and Congress." Jeffreys-Jones argues that President Truman and those around him were focused on the Soviet threat. On the other hand, "Pearl Harbor was the burning issue" for the members of Congress.

3. Bob De Graaff and Cees Wiebes, "Intelligence and the Cold War behind the Dikes: The Relationship between the American and Dutch Intelligence Communities, 1946-1994," 41-58.

The article focuses on the now-defunct (since 1994) Dutch Foreign Intelligence Service (IDB), the Internal Security Service (BVD), and Military Intelligence Division (MID). The Dutch Navy's COMINT/SIGINT unit (TIVC) is also mentioned. The authors conclude that CIA ties with the BVD were closer and drew greater respect than the relationship with the IDB. The Dutch military preferred to work with their U.S. military counterparts. I hope the authors are aware that some of us are not impressed -- in terms of either scholarship or accuracy -- by footnotes stating "Interview with former [CIA or IDB] officers."

4. Ronald E. Doel and Allan A. Needell, "Science, Scientists, and the CIA: Balancing International Ideals, National Needs, and Professional Opportunities," 59-81.

The authors judge the early post-World War II development of scientific intelligence in the CIA to have been "at best a mixed success." Nonetheless, there were successes, and the groundwork was laid for the later consolidation of scientific resources in the Directorate of Science and Technology.

5. Jeffrey T. Richelson, "The Wizards of Langley: The CIA's Directorate of Science and Technology," 82-103.

Richelson traces the "history" of the Directorate of Science and Technology (DS&T) from Richard Bissell's Development Projects Staff, to the formation of the Directorate of Research in 1962, to the establishment of the DS&T under Albert (Bud) Wheelon in 1963, to the present day. He touches on the organization's evolution, collection systems development, collection operations, analysis and processing, and research and development. He suggests that the Directorate's role is changing, that its influence is on the wane, and that the DS&T's future may be in "scientific breakthroughs that can be applied to intelligence collection and analysis performed by other organizations."

The importance of Donald E. Welzenbach's groundbreaking article to understanding the early history of the DS&T, "Science and Technology: Origins of a Directorate," Studies in Intelligence 30, no. 2 (Summer 1986), 13-26, is illustrated by Richelson's numerous references to it (17 of the first 28 footnotes).

6. Helen Laville, "The Committee of Correspondence: CIA Funding of Women's Groups, 1952-1967," 104-121.

This is a well-conceived article on a little-researched topic. The author sees CIA financial assistance to the New York-based women's group, the Committee of Correspondence, as part of the Eisenhower administration's effort "to devolve a large part of the responsibility for overseas propaganda on to the private sector." Her conclusion that "the relationship between the government and the Committee was based on shared goals and an understanding by government that the members of the Committee were the experts in the field" is on the mark. The greatest wrong note sounded by Laville is her refusal in the face of all evidence to the contrary to give up on the idea that the CIA in some way "controlled" the Committee's activities.

7. Lawrence Freedman, "The CIA and the Soviet Threat: The Politicization of Estimates. 1966-1977," 122-142.

Freedman surveys the background of National Intelligence Estimates on the Soviet strategic threat up to the Team A/Team B exercise. He believes that the importance of the latter "was mainly to confirm the loss of authority of the national estimates on the most crucial question they were asked to address.... The problem was that a fragmented intelligence community was struggling to produce an estimate that was subject to inherent uncertainties at a time when great political issues appeared to turn on its content."

8. Michael Donovan, "National Intelligence and the Iranian Revolution," 143-163.

The author argues that "there was accurate and, in part, timely intelligence at the disposal of [U.S.] policy makers, but the availability of this information did not redirect the long-standing policy predispositions in Washington." It was "the nature of the US-Iranian relationship and bureaucratic maneuvering [that] limited Washington's policy options, not a lack of intelligence."

9. Philip Zelikow, "American Economic Intelligence: Past Practice and Future Principles," 164-177.

Zelikov gives a brief survey of the organization of economic intelligence gathering from 1776 to the present, with the focus on how that activity has been organized and carried out within the CIA since 1949. He recommends that the government "should take full advantage of the enlarged, more sophisticated flow of outside information and avoid duplicating tasks already performed adequately by others." At the same time, the author recognizes that "the government does have some unique responsibilities in the collection and preparation of economic intelligence."

10. Loch K. Johnson, "The CIA and the Question of Accountability," 178-200.

Johnson is arguably the foremost academic writer on the subject of intelligence accountability. His views, however, have been irreducibly influenced by his service on the Church Committee staff. While this gives his work a sameness of tone and viewpoint, it does not diminish the value of his thoughts. His basic argument here is that the investigations of 1975 and the reforms that flowed from them have made the CIA "a part of the government's usual checks and balances," that the resulting increase in accountability is a good thing, and that Congress remains a necessary -- and clearly, constitutionally mandated -- part of maintaining democratic oversight of intelligence activities.

11. Gerald Haines, "The CIA's Own Effort to Understand and Document Its Past: A Brief History of the CIA History Program, 1950-1995," 201-223.

Individuals with limited or narrow experience in the federal bureaucracy often make silly errors of emphasis in their comments on government activities. Haines stumbles in this way in what is overall a useful survey of the ups and downs of the CIA's effort to record its own history. It is not that he has gotten his facts wrong, but, rather, that he deploys them in ways that just miss the mark. His naivete shows in his first 10 words with a reference to "the vast CIA bureaucracy." As federal bureaucracies go, the CIA does not even qualify as "large," much less "vast." In addition, the author too often misjudges the motives of the Agency's top decision makers and has cast his net so narrowly that he does not even mention the name of Walter Pforzheimer.

12. Christopher Andrew, "Conclusion: An Agenda for Future Research," 224-233.

Andrew concludes that in addition to the topics covered here, there are at least two other aspects of U.S. intelligence history "which represent major priorities for future research": Signals intelligence and the influence of intelligence on policy.

B. Eternal Vigilance? 50 Years of the CIA. London: Frank Cass, 1997.

This volume publishes in book form the articles of the above-detailed special issue of the journal Intelligence and National Security, vol 12, no. 1 (Jan. 1997). Beyond the well-known names, contributors include a number of (as identified in the Editor's Preface) "young researchers at the beginning of their academic careers." This is not an integrated work, and the essays range from the significant and topical to lesser work.

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