OVERVIEWS

United States

2000s

R - Z

Richelson, Jeffrey T. Spying on the Bomb: American Nuclear Intelligence from Nazi Germany to Iran and North Korea. New York: Norton, 2006.

Peake, Studies 50.3 (Sep. 2006) and Intelligencer 15.2 (Fall-Winter 2006-2007), finds that the author "reviews the Intelligence Community's track record for monitoring the nuclear programs of 11 other nations, beginning with Nazi Germany." He is, in effect, asking whether the IC's "historical experience is prologue to predicting the outcome of future programs. Overall, the results are mixed; the story is fascinating." Brown, I&NS 23.4 (Aug. 2008), sees this as "an excellent and well-researched work" the "primary flaw" of which is "the usage of highly technical jargon concerning nuclear physics and collection methods."

For Graczewski, DIJ 15.2 (2006), Richelson's "book is an outstanding open-source reference manual on the IC's 50-year history of tracking the nuclear activities and intentions of over a dozen nations." However, the author offers no "assessments or lessons learned from the half century of American engagement in nuclear espionage." Freedman, FA 86.2 (Mar.-Apr. 2007), comments that the author "has a gift for following clues and picking up disparate pieces of information from a variety of sources and pulling them together to form an account that makes sense even while acknowledging what remains unknown."

Jakola, Military Review (Jul.-Aug. 2008), sees this "exceptionally well researched and documented history" providing a "straightforward text" that "transforms deep technical details of atomic weapons manufacture into easily comprehensible language." The work "achieves its greatest value by collecting virtually all publicly available information on America's atomic spying in one concise location." To Mattox, Parameters 37.1 (Spring 2007), the author "fills a huge gap in our understanding of the dynamics of the Cold War with this monumental work." This work "is essential reading for anyone concerned with perhaps the most challenging security issue of our time."

In his review, Katz, IJI&C 20.3 (Fall 2007), is not so much negative about Spying on the Bomb as wishing that a physicist with a background in intelligence had written it. He believes that the text lacks "the nuance and insight that inside experience would give." The author "makes no major mistakes, but his book is short on the technical background necessary to put intelligence in context."

Steele, Robert David. Information Operations: All Information, All Languages, All the Time -- The New Semantics of War & Peace, Wealth and Democracy. Oakton, VA: OSS Internaitonal Press, 2006.

According to Steele, IJI&C 2.1 (Spring 2007), 173/fn.1, a "50-slide briefing on th[is] book, with words in Notes format, is at http://www.oss.net/IO."

Steele, Robert David. "The New Craft of Intelligence: Reconstruction & Globalization." Sep. 2000. [http://www.oss.net]

Steele, Robert David. On Intelligence: Spies and Secrecy in an Open World. Fairfax, VA: AFCEA International Press, 2000.

From "Publisher's Foreword": "[T]his compendium of material on understanding the power of open sources [is offered] in the hope it will help chart the new course -- a new model -- for the future of intelligence."

Clark comment: This work brings together many of the thoughts on the state of U.S. intelligence and proposals for reform that have animated Steele's activities for the past decade. The author's hypothetical Senate Bill S.2001 makes hamburger of many sacred cows, but Congress has refused to act on much less radical measures. A terminology quibble: While I fully understand the need for breaking old molds, the title Director-General (as in, Director-General of National Intelligence) sounds more French than American.

While acknowledging that the author and his views remain controversial, Jonkers, AFIO WIN 19-00 (12 May 2000), finds that Steele's book "contains ideas to which we should pay attention. His vision, leading up to the 'virtual intelligence community' is worth consideration." Bath, NIPQ 18.1, finds that Steele's "plan for reorganization of U.S. intelligence ... is certainly worth a look, at least in its basics, in any intelligence overhaul efforts."

Braumandl, JIH 2.1, comments that "Steele’s work is truly a new practical approach to the art of intelligence and to open sources available to security studies. Scholars of Intelligence Studies can call his approach 'New Intelligence,' meaning a new intelligence paradigm for the post Cold War era.... [R]eading this book requires sound knowledge about intelligence theories and methods to understand its thematic value."

Steele provides the following thoughts on his work: "With a foreword by Senator David L. Boren, sponsor of the 1992 intelligence reform legislation, and blurbs from Alvin Toffler, Bruce Sterling, former DDCI Dick Kerr, and flag officers from Russia, Germany and the United Kingdom, this book is unique in that it provides an itemized list of U.S. Intelligence Community budget cuts totalling $11.6 billion dollars a year; and completely outlines 14 major new initiatives for restructuring, enhancing, and considerably expanding our concept of 'national intelligence'. With a 50-page annotated bibliography that integrates Silicon Valley, Internet, management, and hacking books with the more traditional literature; a 62-page index; and 30 pages of proposed legislation, the National Security Act of 2001, this is a reference work."

Stevenson, Charles A. "Underlying Assumptions of the National Security Act of 1947." Joint Force Quarterly 48 (1st Quarter 2008): 129-133.

This well-done article points out that: "The National Security Act of 1947 was a compromise -- between advocates and opponents of a highly centralized military establishment, between supporters of a regularized process for interagency policymaking and defenders of Presidential prerogatives, and between an executive branch needing new legal authorities to deal with a postwar world and a Congress determined to maintain its special powers over the Armed Forces."

Treverton, Gregory F. Intelligence for an Age of Terror. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2009.

From publisher: "Contents: 1. Introduction; 2. The changed target; 3. The Cold War legacy; 4. The imperative of change; 5. The agenda ahead; 6. The special challenge of analysis; 7. Many customers, too many secrets; 8. Covert action: forward to the past?; 9. Rebuilding the social contract."

Freedman, FA 88.5 (Sep.-Oct. 2009), says that this rises above other works on the topic. The author's "conviction that something should really be done to sort out the intelligence community competes with a wearisome sense that it probably will not happen." For Peake, Studies 53.4 (Dec. 2009), Treverton's "is a top-down examination of the ... current environment, with an agenda for the future. Intelligence officers,... while agreeing with many of the issues raised, may well conclude that proposed changes must first be tempered with a view from the bottom up."

As an avid reader of reviews by Robert D. Chapman, IJI&C 23.2 (Summer 2010), I find that he can be both insightful and annoying, sometimes simultaneously. Here, he is at his best, opening his review of Treverton's book by noting that "[w]hat has happened to American intelligence since ... [9/11] is more incomprehensible to me than analytical geometry." He, then, adds the judgment that "[c]hanging age-old, tested intelligence systems won't change the world. But contemporary leaders in Washington are trying to do that.... Treverton is to be commended for ... revealing what American intelligence really is. [Treverton] points out what needs to be corrected and offers suggestions." Some of those suggestions are good, others less so. Overall, this work "contains much" and "should be read by everyone involved with Intelligence Community transitioning."

Capshaw, Joint Force Quarterly 59 (4th Quarter, Oct. 2010), views this as "an invaluable contribution to the discussion of the role of intelligence in the age of terror." The author "asks urgent questions about what needs to be changed to respond to a fundamentally different threat." For Gill, Perspectives on Politics 8.3 (Sep. 2010), "this is a thoughtful review" about "fixing" intelligence. Treverton offers "an invaluable perspective on an issue where fear has too often trumped analysis." Zimmerman, AIJ 28.2 (2010), sees this as "an outstanding read" that "deftly enumerates many of the challenges" faced by secret organizations in an open society.

To Daugherty, I&NS 27.3 (Jun. 2012), "[t]his is a thoughtful and thought-provoking volume that presumes the reader already possesses some degree of knowledge about intelligence and national security policy developments.... [R]eaders expecting a simplified overview of these issues neeed look elsewhere..... At times, though, the work veers into the world of the philosophical and theoretical, which upon occasion tends to obscure rather than enlighten."

Treverton, Gregory F. Reshaping National Intelligence for an Age of Information. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2001. 2003. [pb]

Berkowitz, IJI&C 15.1, notes that the author believes that "U.S. intelligence needs to make radical changes.... [T]he essence of Treverton's many arguments [is]: Focus government intelligence collection efforts on those targets only government agencies can penetrate."

Turner, Michael A. Why Secret Intelligence Fails. Dulles, VA: Potomac Books, 2005.

From publisher: The author "argues that the root causes of failures in American intelligence can be found in the way it is organized and in the intelligence process itself.... Rather than focusing on case studies, the book takes a holistic approach, beginning with structural issues and all dysfunctions that emanate from them." Peake, Studies 49.4 (2005), says that the author provides "a good summary of the elements of the intelligence profession and [raises] a number of issues that should stimulate thinking. But we never learn just why secret intelligence fails."

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