OVERVIEWS

United States

1990s

C - J

Cline, Ray S.

1. "Intelligence." In Encyclopedia of the American Military, 1297-1338. New York: Scribner's, 1994.

2. "Intelligence Activities Across the Board." Foreign Intelligence Literary Scene 9, no. 4 (1990): 7.

Codevilla, Angelo. Informing Statecraft: Intelligence for a New Century. New York: The Free Press, 1992.

Clark comment: Codevilla returns us to many of the positions advocated by the Reagan Administration's "transition team" of late 1980-early 1981. That group's right-wing views did not carry the day then, and I fail to find the overall thrust of Codevilla's arguments any more persuasive now that the Soviet Union is no longer the center of attention of U.S. national security policy. Nevertheless, Informing Statecraft does go far in identifying many of the issues that will be discussed -- and some acted upon -- in the years to come. Whether you agree with Codevilla's criticisms and "solutions" is not the point; the book is still important in the discussion of what intelligence is and needs to be in the future.

Campbell, AIJ 14.2/3, says Codevilla "finds the Agency's performance over the years to be marred by serious mistakes, both analytic and operational." Allen, DIJ 1.2, views this "outstanding book [as] the next major installment ... in the formulation of a concept of strategic intelligence." According to Rich, FILS 12.3, Informing Statecraft is "both a critique of American intelligence as it is today and an exhaustive guide to principles for intelligence policymakers in the future." Codevilla is "thoroughly up-to-date" in his sources, but is "unconvincing ... when he attempts to lay some blame" for the state of intelligence affairs "on 'the CIA's American Liberal culture.'"

In his review, Glynn, Commentary, Dec. 1992, concludes that "[t]he value of Codevilla's account is to connect the CIA's chronic failures ... with its corporate or bureaucratic culture.... Where the book is weaker is in regard to ... comprehensiveness[] and applicability to the future." Lowenthal also notes that Codevilla is "[s]tronger on criticisms than on possible solutions."

While basically pleased that American intelligence is being criticized, the NameBase reviewer seems unhappy with why those criticisms are being made: "Codevilla ... presents the conservative argument for major reform of the U.S. intelligence community. It's not because he has ethical objections to spying or covert action.... It's just that the taxpayers are not getting much more than incompetence and a self-serving bureaucracy for their $31 billion per year.... Over half of this budget figure is for expensive snooper satellites, many of which are focused so narrowly that they produce little that's useful."

The quality of a review in Economist, 6 Jun. 1992, is illustrated by the following example of complete ignorance of U.S. intelligence: "[I]t was only when John Walker's wife told the CIA that her husband was a spy that the agency realised that its naval codes had been read as clearly as if written in Russian." The CIA naval codes?

Wirtz, IJI&C 10.2, refers to Codevilla's "finely crafted and scholarly argument," but also finds Codevilla inconsistent in the manner in which he criticizes both American efforts at clandestine collection when they are discovered and American security when similar foreign activities are discovered. In addition, the author's "effort to interpret dozens of well-known incidents in U.S. intelligence folklore from an ultra-conservative perspective[] detracts from his presentation."

Herman, Michael.

1. "Governmental Intelligence: Its Evolution and Role." Journal of Economic and Social Intelligence 2, no. 2 (1992): 91-113.

2. "The Development of National Intelligence." Foreign Intelligence Literary Scene 12, no. 3 (1993): 3-4.

Excerpts from above article. With the Cold War, "[c]landestine collection became established as a substantial peacetime activity," and there was a "a trend toward central intelligence organizations." The influence of intelligence "is still greatest when assessing force and threats of force."

Holt, Pat M. Secret Intelligence and Public Policy: A Dilemma of Democracy. Washington, DC: CQ Press, 1995. JK468I6H64

In its day, this was a potential text for a course in U.S. intelligence. Despite the polemic that the title may imply to some, this is a reasonably balanced overview of U.S. intelligence activities and structure, but with a focus on the dilemma that secrecy poses for democratic ideals.

Hulnick, Arthur S. Fixing the Spy Machine: Preparing American Intelligence for the Twenty-First Century. Westport, CT: Praeger, 1999.

Clark comment: Despite its title, this book is not focused on reform issues; it is, instead, a contender for adoption as a text for a college course in intelligence or as a supplemental text in a broader national security course. Despite the qualms expressed about the work by CIA critics, it fulfills the textbook need admirably.

Robert David Steele provides the following comments: "This book has two good features -- the author really does understand the personnel issues, and hence one can read between the lines for added value; and the book is as good an 'insider' tour of the waterfront as one could ask for. How the book treats the CIA-FBI relationship, for example, is probably representative of how most CIA insiders feel. The book does not reflect a deep understanding of open sources and tends to accept the common wisdom across the intelligence bureaucracy, that all is 'generally okay' and just a bit of change on the margin is necessary. In this respect, it is a good benchmark against which the more daring reformist books may be measured."

Melvin Goodman, Washington Monthly, Mar. 2000, 54-55, can find little good to say about Hulnick's work: "Hulnick ... spent 28 years in the CIA and his new book reads very much like he's still in it"; "the reader confronts a generally out-of-date review of the various functions of the CIA and the intelligence community in America"; and "systemic problems receive little scrutiny from Hulnick and he leaves major issues unaddressed."

Wirtz, IJI&C 13.2, has a more positive view of Fixing the Spy Machine. He sees the work as a "lively overview of the workings" of the U.S. Intelligence Community and "a highly accessible and balanced assessment of the dilemmas created by the presence of secret organizations in American democracy." Wirtz does suggest, however, that the "information revolution" is confronting the CIA with "a deeper crisis than Mr. Hulnick recognizes."

Johnson, Loch K. Secret Agencies: U.S. Intelligence in a Hostile World. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1996.

According to Jonkers, AIJ 17.1/2, Johnson "provides guidelines for post-Cold War era activities, including clandestine operations and economic intelligence, and for ethical constraints and controls." This is a "[b]alanced, useful discussion." Friedman, Parameters, Summer 1997, says this is a "slim, tightly written, but thorough examination of contemporary U.S. intelligence."

Macartney, Intelligencer 8.1, calls Secret Agencies "noteworthy" and "refreshingly concise." Particularly useful are chapters 1 ("an excellent and brief descriptive overview of the intelligence business"), 5 ("which compares US intelligence with that function in other countries"), 6 (on economic intelligence), and 7 (an "overall assessment of US intelligence performance"). Barrett, APSR 91.4, finds that the author "has done an admirable job of description and both emprical and normative analysis.... The depth of research and the thoughtfulness of his analysis" present potential critics of his conclusions "with no easy target for criticism and debate."

On the other hand, Breckinridge, WIR 16.1, finds Johnson's overview "very general, often almost impressionistic," and some of his comments on individual agencies "merely bare-bones." Johnson's only insightful thoughts on the future concern "new dimensions of economic intelligence." Overall, there are sufficient "factual flaws" in the book to raise doubts about reliability, which "compromise[s] ... the foundation on which the author builds his present perceptions."

For Hulnick, IJI&C 10.1, Secret Agencies "is a more balanced and more thorough investigation and critique of intelligence" than Johnson's earlier works. Although "[p]racticioners may argue with some of his judgments," Johnson "provides a point of departure for discussions of the issues." Writing in Annals of the American Academy of Political & Social Science, Jan. 1998, Hulnick opines that "Johnson is both a tough critic and a fair judge of American intelligence." The reviewer believes that this book would be "a useful text for the growing number of courses in intelligence taught at universities around the country."

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