Trust but Verify: Imagery Analysis in the Cold War

Article excerpt

TRUST BUT VERIFY: Imagery Analysis in the Cold War, David T. Lindgren, Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, MD, 2000, 248 pages, $32.95.

David T. Lindgen's book, Trust but Verify, charts a concise but complete history of America's strategic surveillance capabilities. However, Lindgren has not simply brought to the forefront a historical record of what transpired, he dramatically illustrates numerous salient points. For example, he shows that in the early days of strategic surveillance, between 60 and 90 percent of all usable intelligence came from aerial photography. During that time, also, President Dwight D. Eisenhower's strict fiscal policy led indirectly to the development of sophisticated photo-reconnaissance systems. And, far from being a casualty-free Cold War, over 30 aircraft and 150 aircrewmen were lost while performing their missions. The field of imagery analysis truly came of age at that time.

Technological changes and improvements were a direct result of the enormous demands for information placed on the intelligence community and the nation's leadership, which in turn, were brought about by the strategic threat the United States faced from strategic nuclear weapons. …