OVERVIEWS

United States

2000s

J - K

Jeffreys-Jones, Rhodri. Cloak and Dollar: A History of American Secret Intelligence. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2002.

Jonkers, AFIO WIN 1-03 (7 Jan 2003), notes that Jeffreys-Jones "presents a thesis of an American Intelligence Community possessed by a 'Confidence Man' mentality that developed during the Cold War.... The culminating chapter ... is a wholly critical treatment of 1991 to the present." The author "manages to describe every major occurrence and every key player in virtually every field of intelligence with a critical slant that is relentless."

For Peake, IJI&C 15.3, this is the author's "latest assault on American intelligence." It contains "[p]rovocative but misleading, if not deceptive, analysis," and is a "distorted, unbalanced assessment." For Roades, Intelligencer 13.2, this book is worth reading "[i]f readers can recognize the fact that here is a very talented author providing a vast range of information with a pervasive personal critical bias."

Schwab, IJI&C 16.1, comments that while the author's earlier CIA and American Democracy (1989) was "a penetrating and dispassionate study," his latest work "generally lacks both of these attributes.... [M]any of Jeffreys-Jones's criticisms ... are either undocumented or poorly substantiated.... [E]vidence and analysis ... are largely absent from Cloak and Dollar, which often reads like 'yellow journalism.'"

To Hanyok, I&NS 17.4, the author's thesis of a conspiracy of spies "does not hold together very well.... It is too bad that Jeffreys-Jones chose this approach by which to organize his history, because it detracts from the rest of his work that, on the whole, contains some fair assessments of American intelligence over the last 150 years.... [However,] there are nagging factual errors in the book."

Robarge, Studies 46.4, finds that "Cloak and Dollar is a provoking, sometimes insightful, but ultimately overblown and unsatisfying book." The "clever-sounding idea" of intelligence officer as "confidence man" "probably could support a magazine piece or journal article, but it is too weak to carry an entire book." However, the book "has some strong points. The chapters on the late 19th and early 20th centuries offer a good case study of Americans' ambivalence toward spying.... The discussion of the Department of State's centralized intelligence element between the world wars -- U-1 -- is enlightening.... The book's description of how politics distorted historical analyses of Pearl Harbor is well done, and its treatment of the CIA's 'time of troubles' in the 1970s is even-handed."

While the reviewer for Publisher's Weekly, 25 Mar. 2002, finds that this book "is more balanced in its content than the author's rhetoric might lead you to believe," Haines, Diplomatic History 28.3, was "sadly disappointed" by this book. It "is not only bad history, full of errors and distortions, but [the author's] main concept ... is not only wrong, but silly.... Jeffrey-Jones's con man theory ... is irritating; [and] his large number of factual errors and sweeping generalizations, with no supporting evidence, can grind."

Jeffreys-Jones, Rhodri. "US Intelligence and Cult of the Confidence Man" The Chronicle Review 22 Mar. 2002, B12.

Johnson, Loch K. Bombs, Bugs, Drugs, and Thugs: Intelligence and America's Quest for Security. New York and London: New York University Press, 2000. 2002. [pb]

For Chapman, IJI&C 15.1, this work "is often puzzling"; but, "all things considered, there is much of value" here. "[A]nyone concerned about the current state of the American intelligence services should read it." The author "exposes many significant problems threatening the U.S. security system." Turner, IJI&C 15.2, says that this is "a neat, insightful, and readable volume written by an eminently qualified and knowledgeable expert in the field." Although the title might imply a wider subject area, the CIA is the real centerpiece in the author's study. Johnson's "principal message is that U.S. Intelligence needs to focus less on gadgets and more on Human Intelligence."

Johnson, Loch, ed. Handbook of Intelligence Studies. London: Routledge, 2007.

Peake, Studies 51.2 (2007), finds that this work provides "broad, authoritative coverage of the subject.... Johnson has assembled 26 articles from 27 academics and professionals that discuss aspects of the literature, history, and the intelligence cycle." However, to the reviewer, the treatments of open source intelligence and counterintelligence leave much to be desired. Access to the book may be limited by its "hefty, $170, price tag." Clark comment: Picking up on Peake's comment on access to this work, Routledge's paperback is priced at $48.95, not great but much better.

Johnson, Loch K. "Harry Howe Ransom and American Intelligence Studies." Intelligence and National Security 22, no. 3 (Jun. 2007): 402-428.

Interview conducted on 23 September 2006. Johnson provides a detailed introduction to the interview.

Johnson, Loch K., ed. Strategic Intelligence, 5 vols. Westport, CT: Praeger Security International, 2006.

Volume 1: Understanding the Hidden Side of Government

Volume 2: The Intelligence Cycle: The Flow of Secret Information from Overseas to the Highest Councils of Government

Volume 3: Covert Action: Behind the Veils of Secret Foreign Policy

Volume 4: Counterintelligence and Counterterrorism: Defending the Nation Against Hostile Forces

Volume 5: Intelligence and Accountability: Safeguards Against the Abuse of Secret Power

Peake, Studies 51.3 (2007), finds that these "volumes draw on the past to offer a broad view of the role intelligence is supposed to play in today's world and the realities of its challenging existence. The conscientious reader will learn of the myriad problems while developing an understanding of the difficult solutions required."

For Winn, Parameters 38.1 (Spring 2008), this "comprehensive survey" provides "unique insight into a world built on the collection, analysis, and dissemination of information.... The five volumes present empirical inquiries, historical views, theoretical frameworks, memoirs, case studies, interviews, legal analyses, comparative essays, and ethical assessments. The authors come from varying backgrounds" and each "has different personal experiences and writes from his or her own perspective. The books provide an excellent reference for students of the military, political affairs, foreign policy, or strategic planning. The supporting notes at the end of each chapter are especially helpful."

Laurent, IN&S 25.2 (Apr. 2010), says that these volumes offer "an innovative overview of the most illuminating and state-of-the-art research on intelligence. There is no doubt that these five volumes represent a landmark in the field of intelligence studies." However, "this excellent collection is focused implicitly on the Anglo-Saxon case and on the Anglo-Saxon way of studying intelligence."

Kennedy, Robert. Of Knowledge and Power: The Complexities of National Intelligence. Westport, CT: Praeger, 2008.

Peake, Studies 53.4 (Dec. 2009), says that the author has provided what is essentially "a primer for management or people new to the problems of intelligence." This work "clearly identifies the problems facing the Intelligence Community.... The exception, is counterintelligence, a topic he doesn't mention. Nevertheless, for an overview of what intelligence management faces, it is a good start."

For McCarthy, IN&S 25.2 (Apr. 2010), there are no "startling revelations" in this book. However, it does give readers "a nuanced view of the elusive intelligence cycle." The reviewer would have preferred to have seen the author use "a wider range of sources. For instance, he is far too reliant on Stansfield Turner's Burn Before Reading when describing the views and motivations of former CIA directors."

Kinzer, Stephen. Overthrow: America's Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq. New York: Times Books, 2006. 2007. [pb]

Clark comment: The author is a journalist who has previously writtem on the U.S.-supported coups in Iran (1953) and Guatemala (1954). Here, he begins in the late 19th century, sweeps across the 20th century, and covers the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq in the beginning of the 21st century. Kinzer's speculation, following each case he presents, about what might have been without U.S. "intervention" eventually gets quite tiresome.

According to Sweig, Washington Post, 16 Apr. 2006, the author argues that "the United States has deployed its power to gain access to natural resources, stifle dissent and control the nationalism of newly independent states or political movements.... [His] narrative abounds with unusual anecdotes, vivid description and fine detail." However, the book "stumbles when its tone shifts from lively storytelling to World Book Encyclopedia entry." Nor does Overthrow "tell us enough about the domestic environments that shaped the perspectives of those leaders whom the United States was busy overthrowing, isolating or provoking."

Ikenberry, FA 86.2 (Mar.-Apr. 2007), finds the author's account to be "fascinating history ... recounted in lively and colorful detail." Kinzer "offers a useful portrait of the presidents who have influenced the exercise of U.S. power and the interesting judgment that interventions have often succeeded in their immediate goals but failed to advance U.S. interests in the long term." Lieven, NYT Book Review, 16 Apr. 2006, who clearly supports the argument that U.S. interventions have fueled anti-Americanism around the world, refers to this work as a "fine book," "detailed, passionate and convincing," and "meticulously reported."

On the other hand, Peake, Studies 50.4 (2006) and Intelligencer 15.2 (Fall-Winter 2006-2007), finds that while "[n]o one can argue that the events Kinzer cites did not take place," the book has "a barely latent malevolence" to it. The author clearly "doesn't approve of covert action but despite his best efforts, he has not succeeded in justifying its demise."

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