Richelson, Jeffrey T. America's Secret Eyes in Space: The U.S. Keyhole Spy Satellite Program. New York: HarperCollins, 1990.
Writing in 2004, Day, IJI&C 17.4/746 (Winter 2004-2005), says that this work "remains the most comprehensive account of satellite intelligence to date." According to Peake, AIJ 15.2, Richelson "had official access to classified material." This book "amounts to an update of the Klass volume and is worth reading to obtain an indication of the overall progress made since 1971.... The coverage of NPIC ... is particularly interesting.... The documentation provided includes ... a good bibliography."
Surveillant 1.1 says that you can read America's Secret Eyes in Space and "know as much about US spy satellite programs as those with a clutch of compartmented clearances." Rip, I&NS 7.4, notes that the focus is "exclusively on the historical development and deployment of U.S. photographic and electro-optical imaging reconnaissance satellites." Although the limitations of satellite imagery are "not given a thorough treatment," the work is "relatively well organized, thoroughly researched and informative."
To Fettig, IJI&C 4.4, this is a "crucial book" for persons interested in intelligence policy. It is an "impressive effort to reveal in detail one segment of the black world of satellite intelligence. As always, Richelson's sources are impressive and his scholarship exemplary." On the other hand, Lowenthal views the book as tending to "overemphasize technical capabilities without assessing the role and limits of 'photint' (photo intelligence) in the policy process." Hoover, APSR 85.2, sees this as "an informative, interesting, and very readable book" that is "an excellent source for the reader interested in a general introduction to the arcane world of satellite intelligence."
Richelson, Jeffrey T. America's Space Sentinels: DSP Satellites and National Security. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 1999. America's Space Sentinels: The History of the DSP and SBIRS Satellite Systems. 2d ed. expanded. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 2012.
From publisher: "For this new edition, Jeffrey Richelson covers significant developments during the last dozen years..., especially the struggles to develop and launch the follow-on Space-Based Infrared System (SBIRS), beginning in the late 1990s and continuing up to the present.... SBIRS, like its aging but still functioning predecessor, has been designed primarily to provide instant early warning of missile launches from around the globe ... through the infra-red sensors carried on each satellite. But the new system -- beset by hardware, software, fiscal, and political problems -- has only managed to move forward in fits and starts.
Jonkers, AFIO WIN 19-99 (14 May 1999), notes that the DSP (Defense Support Program) satellites "were a series of infrared sensors orbiting 22,000 miles above the earth" They "provided Cold War warning of missile firings -- and still play a role in monitoring missile programs of China, India, etc." In this book, the author "provides a first comprehensive history of the DSP program from the 1950's until the present ... in easy-reading prose. Highly recommended."
For Seamon, Proceedings 125.9 (Sep. 1999), this book seems over-loaded with acronyms, although a list of definitions is included. However, these are "only minor distractions from this scholarly history." Thompson, NWCR (Summer 2000), calls this "a thoroughly researched and comprehensive history of the development, fielding, operation, and evolution" of the DSP. Richelson also deals with present and future needs, arguing that "DSP is past being optimized and that a more capable system is needed, and soon."
Dino Brugioni, "Information from Above," International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 13, no. 2 (Summer 2000), 236-242, provides an excellent brief history of the DSP. He notes that the author tells "the technical, substantive, and political story of a vital U.S. national defense effort." But, beyond that, Richelson "recognizes the sustained, dedicated, and, for so long, unheralded efforts" of those "who labored in the development of these satellites despite the frustrations of bickerings, budget battles, and service rivalries."
Leary, Choice (Dec. 1999), finds that the author has drawn on an "impressive collection of public sources and documents" in providing "a richly detailed examination of the creation and evolution of what became the Defense Support Program (DSP) satellite system.... Richelson expertly combines the technical, political, and foreign policy aspects of this highly secret ... program in an outstanding study of Cold War national security policy."
To Rich, Aerospace Power Journal (Fall 2000), the author "provides informative insight into the development and use of infrared (IR) satellite platforms and the lasting impact they continue to have on American national security. Readers ... will find the more than 50 pages of endnotes and three appendices of data ... an invaluable baseline for further research on space-related topics.
Richelson, Jeffrey T. United States Strategic Reconnaissance: Photographic/Imaging Satellites. ACIS Working Paper No. 38. Los Angeles: University of California, Center for International and Strategic Affairs, May 1983.
Richelson, Jeffrey T. The Wizards of Langley: Inside the CIA's Directorate of Science and Technology. Boulder, CO: Westview, 2002.
Clark comment: This book is enormously informative about a major player in the development of U.S. intelligence from the 1960s into the 1990s. It is packed with details about the DS&T's many technical accomplishments (and some failures and misdirections), and it accurately portrays the long-standing and eventually losing bureaucratic struggle with the Defense Department for primacy in the development and operation of space-based reconnaissance. Although the DS&T was pushed organizationally to the sidelines in the 1990s, the manner in which it responded to President Eisenhower's trust and foresight in placing the development of CORONA (and follow-on systems) with the CIA is marvelously retold by the author. Although he certainly has not played down the bureaucratic and personal animosities involved over the years, Richelson either did not pick up or decided not to focus on the very real antagonisms between senior DS&T and NSA managers, which by the mid-1980s had a distinctly personal flavor. The Wizards of Langley is not light reading, but repays the effort with a wealth of information about and insight into a critical aspect of America's intelligence arsenal.
Although displeased by the author's excessive use of acronyms, Seamon, Proceedings 128.1 (Jan. 2002), still finds this to be "a thoroughly researched tale of political infighting, personal animosities, and interservice and interagency bickering." Still, the DS&T turned out many "impressive successes," and "[t]he variety of its failures also testifies to its unfettered energy."
Mazzafro, I&NS 17.3, also refers to Richelson's "acronym-laden story," but adds that this is "a well-documented though antiseptic narrative of Cold War history." The work provides "a compact history of how technology effected and affected the practice of intelligence in the last 50 years of the twentieth century, that serious students of both technology and intelligence will want to be familiar with." For Bath, NIPQ 18.2/3, this "book is timely, well organized, and shows impeccable scholarship." However, the reviewer found the author's "coverage of the bureaucratic history of CIA's Directorate of Science & Technology" to be somewhat heavy on detail.
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