OVERVIEWS

United States

2000s

A - C

Alder, Ken. The Lie Detectors: The History of an American Obsession. New York: Free Press, 2007.

According to Peake, Studies 51.4 (2007), the author tells the story of the development of the polygraph and "describes the initial applications by the government, law enforcement, and industry.... [He] cites a number of scientific studies that judge the polygraph 'does not pass scientific muster,' but ... ignores contrary evidence of its current reliability and benefits when used properly." [footnote omitted]

Berkowitz, Bruce D., and Allan E. Goodman. Best Truth: Intelligence in the Information Age. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2000. New York: Free Press, 2002. [pb]

According to Jonkers, AFIO WIN 19-00 (12 May 2000), the authors focus on the need for "a fundamental re-thinking of what intelligence and an intelligence organization is supposed to do." The book "is written in explanatory fashion for the general public, contributing to understanding of national intelligence issues and challenges."

Robert David Steele provides the following comments: "This book dedicates itself entirely to fixing the underlying process of intelligence. The authors place intelligence in the larger context of information, and draw a plethora of useful comparisons with emerging private sector capabilities and standards. They place strong emphasis on the emerging issues (not necessarily threats) related to ethnic, religious, and geopolitical confrontation, and are acutely sensitive to the new power of non-governmental organizations and non-state actors. The heart of their book is captured in three guidelines for the new process: focus on understanding the consumer's priorities; minimize the investment in fixed hardware and personnel; and create a system that can draw freely on commercial capabilities where applicable (as they often will be). Their chapter on the failure of the bureaucratic model for intelligence, and the need to adopt the virtual model -- one that permits analysts to draw at will on diverse open sources -- is well presented and compelling. Their concluding three chapters on analysis, covert action, and secrecy are solid professional-level discussions of where we must go in the future."

Bath, NIPQ, Summer 2001, calls this work "a thought-provoking discussion of how the intelligence community needs to reform to operate in the atmosphere of ... the asymmetric threat." For Russell, Studies, Winter-Spring 2001, "[t]he authors, while sympathetic to the demands of intelligence, [have] marshal[ed] a critical analysis of the IC in the hopes of sparking reform, which they persuasively argue is essential to the future efficacy of the IC in supporting American statecraft."

Berkowitz, Peter, ed. The Future of American Intelligence. Stanford, CA: Hoover Institution Press, 2005.

Contibutors and topics: Richard H. Shultz Jr., "The Era of Armed Groups"; Gary J. Schmitt, "Truth to Power? Rethinking Intelligence Analysis"; Gordon Nathaniel Lederman, "Restructuring the Intelligence Community"; Reuel Marc Gerecht, "A New Clandestine Service: The Case for Creative Destruction"; Kevin M. O’Connell, "The Role of Science and Technology in Transforming American Intelligence."

DKR, AFIO WIN 40-05 (17 Oct. 2005), calls this "a thoughtful addition to the current debate on how to improve the intelligence picture but one some readers are likely to find controversial." For Peake, Studies 50.3 (Sep. 2006) and Intelligencer 15.2 (Fall-Winter 2006-2007), the result from these five essays "is mixed." Nevertheless, the book "should prove valuable in introductory courses on intelligence."

Betts, Richard K. Enemies of Intelligence: Knowledge and Power in American National Security. New York: Columbia University Press, 2007.

Dujmovic, Studies 51.4 (2007), finds that the author "addresses what too often has been lacking in the national debate about intelligence and its reform since the attacks of 11 September 2001: a sober and realistic assessment of what intelligence can be expected to do and, more importantly, what it cannot reasonably be expected to do because of its built-in, and therefore unavoidable, limitations.... Whether one agrees with all of Betts's conclusions, this illuminating discussion of intelligence in the post-Cold War age is necessary reading for the intelligence professional, and for those served by the profession. I would also recommend its use in academic courses dealing with intelligence and reform."

To Liaropoulos, IJI&C 21.2 (Summer 2008), this is "a deep and well researched study of the challenges that the U.S. Intelligence Community is facing." By grouping the factors that lead to intelligence failure into three working categories (the "enemies"), Betts "provides a conceptual framework for understanding the complexities of the intelligence enterprise." However, the work "lacks a detailed discussion on safeguards and mechanisms for avoiding government abuses."

Chapman, IJI&C 21.3 (Fall 2008), finds that this book "is at times a difficult read." The author "focuses on the better use of intelligence analysis." But if he believes the analyst can "input knowledge into the decisionmaker's brain to influence the right decision," such "will never happen." Additionally, "[c]onstitutional rights go one way and [Betts'] demand for intelligence goes another."

For Nolte, AIJ 25.2 (Winter 2007-2008), this is a "sober and valuable contribution to the literature." Readers may find the author's "effort to establish context, not to mention complexity and ambiguity,... a heavy reading experience. But intelligence is largely about complexity and ambiguity and Professor Betts never lets the reader lose sight of those important aspects of context."

Hulnick, Perspectives on Politics 6.3 (Sep. 2008): "For those of us who teach about intelligence at the university level, the book is probably too advanced for undergraduates who are just being introduced to strategic intelligence as a function of government. For graduate students, however, or for those who study intelligence at professional schools, the work is ideally suited for more advanced debate and discussion."

Richelson, I&NS 24.3 (Jun. 2009), concludes that "by the time a reader has finished Enemies of Intelligence he or she should acquire an enhanced understanding of the limitations on intelligence success, an improved ability to identify real from imagined failures and real from imagined solutions, and the tradeoffs associated with future proposed reorganization and reform efforts -- for it is enevitable that there will be failures followed by proposed solutions."

Clark, J. Ransom. Intelligence and National Security: A Reference Handbook. Westport, CT: Praeger Security International Reference, 2007.

From publisher: "Clark presents a brief history of the creation and development of the intelligence services in the United States. He centers his examination on the two main constants in the American way of gathering, processing, analyzing, and using intelligence -- change and a concern for the impact of secret activities on democratic government. Resolving the ever-growing need for informed decision making continues to put pressure on the country's ability to manage and provide oversight of intelligence. Clark assesses how those forces have resulted in ongoing changes to the intelligence apparatus in the United States. Consistent with other volumes in this series, Clark supplements his narrative with key documents and brief biographies of influential personalities within the intelligence community to further illustrate his conclusions.

"Clark provides a current, explanatory text and reference work that deals with what intelligence is, what it can and cannot do, how it functions, and why it matters within the context of furthering American national security. He describes the U.S. intelligence community prior to WWII, demonstrating that intelligence gathering and espionage have played a key role in national security and warfare since the inception of the Republic. Through their ubiquity, Clark establishes them as a necessary function of government and governmental decision making. Today, the intelligence apparatus encompasses numerous activities and organizations. They are all responsible for different parts of the practice of collecting, processing, analyzing, disseminating, and using intelligence. With the demise of the Soviet Union in 1991, significant stresses began to appear in the U.S. approach to the intelligence process; Clark concludes by chronicling those stresses and the attendant drive for change [both of which] were accelerated after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001."

The Bookwatch, Nov, 2007, says that this work "provides college-level and military collections with an excellent survey and analysis of what intelligence is and how it functions under the umbrella of American national security. From the initial creation of intelligence services and divisions within the US to the ways information is gathered and analyzed, Intelligence and National Security packs in a blend of history and military and social analysis, making it an excellent starting point for any discussion on the topic."

Peake, Studies 52.1 (Mar. 2008) and Intelligencer 16.1 (Spring 2008), finds that the author "has provided a sound basis for assessing the controversies surrounding intelligence today." This work "is a valuable contribution that should be very helpful to those studying or anticipating a future in the profession."

Clift, Arthur Denis.  Intelligence and the Nation's Security. Washington, DC: Joint Military Intelligence College, 2000. Clift Notes: Intelligence and National Security. 2d ed. Washington, DC: Joint Military Intelligence College, 2003.

Seymour: finds that this work "[o]ffers essays examining the 'origins, evolution, and structure of intelligence in America.'" With regard to the second edition, Peake, Studies 48.4 (2004), comments that the 22 essays here "are a mix of personal experience and history, each designed to make a point.... These essays are not editorials or think pieces. Each is anchored with references to the literature of intelligence.... There is a rich and interesting mix here, with value for all."

Clift, A. Denis. "The Play of Intelligence: With Presidents at the Summit." Defense Intelligence Journal 11, no. 1 (Winter 2002): 105-115.

Remarks by the President of the Joint Military Intelligence College at the University of Virginia's Miller Center, 30 April 2001.

Craughwell, Thomas J., with M. William Phelps. Failures of the Presidents: From the Whiskey Rebellion and War of 1812 to the Bay of Pigs and War in Iraq. Beverly, MA: Fair Winds, 2008.

The high production values found in this book are reflected in beautiful and interesting illustrations, many of which are full page. The authors (and the copyright page identifies more than the two listed on the title page) provide 20 chapters dealing with the "failures" of 18 presidents -- Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter get two chapters each. The early chapters (from the Whiskey Rebellion to the Pullman Strike) are the most interesting, informative, and fair minded in the book. The chapters dealing with the most recent events (from the Bay of Pigs to the Iraq War) are the most contentious, with several of the presentations heavily defined by a political viewpoint. None of the chapters focus explicitly on intelligence issues, although there are certainly intelligence overtones to the presentations on the Bay of Pigs, the Tonkin Gulf Resolution, Watergate, the Iranian Hostage Crisis, Iran-Contra, and the Iraq War.

The book has a handful of egregious errors of fact. For instance, Everett M. Dirksen was from Illinois, not Minnesota (p. 193); in November 1980, there were not 444 Americans being held captive in Iran (p. 245); and a Special National Intelligence Estimate from 1964 clearly was not authored by the Director of National Intelligence (p. 296). However, the book's greatest weakness is the total absence of the trappings of scholarship. Perhaps, the stories read more easily without the intervention of footnotes; but it is impossible to determine from where the authors are drawing their too-frequent errors of substance. For example, the assertion that, "There were more CIA agents in Iran [in 1978-1979] per capita than in any other nation on earth," (p. 238) begs for a reference to justify such an off-the-mark perception.

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