U.S. Intelligence: Evolution and Anatomy

By Mark M. Lowenthal | Go to book overview
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In the past three decades, intelligence has become a frequent topic of public discourse. Scholars dissect its history and publish journals on it. Newspapers advise on how best to use -- or not use -- intelligence agencies. Television documentaries about spies are commonplace, and intelligence is certainly no longer the closely held secret of government it once was. Moreover, the Central Intelligence Agency is famous; probably more people recognize "CIA" than"IRS."

The end of the cold war has intensified this trend. It has raised the most fundamental question of all: Should the United States even have an intelligence establishment? Although only a few would urge its abolition, many wonder how big an organization it has to be in a world with no perceived threat to U.S. power. They also debate the functions it should perform: gathering information on terrorists or drug lords seems reasonable, but disseminating business intelligence may create more difficulties than the task is worth.

This continuing public interest in intelligence, together with the changes in the U.S. intelligence organization since the first edition of Mark Lowenthal's exemplary book was published in 1984, explains the need for and the value of this second edition. Intended, like the first, to improve pub


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