Reshaping National Intelligence for an Age of Information

By Gregory F. Treverton | Go to book overview

5
Spying, looking, and catching criminals

As a young Senate staffer I was once briefed by Ted Shackley, then the head of the East Asia division of the Directorate of Operations (DO) and later deputy director for operations (and still later under suspicion for questionable arms dealings once he'd retired from the CIA). It was 1976, and we were sitting in a room at CIA headquarters in Langley with a combination lock on the door. Shackley began by saying: “I'm in the business of producing spies. If I wanted to produce widgets, I'd be in private industry.” At the time I was mightily impressed. I had studied at a school of management, and most of my reading about and experience of foreign affairs had left me with the impression that its practitioners didn't think they produced anything. In contrast, Shackley did. He knew what he produced.

It was only later that I realized I was wrong and so was Shackley. He didn't produce spies. He didn't even produce information. What he really produced, or sought to, was useful insights in the heads of policymakers who needed to act. Spies were only a way station to those insights. So was information. Yet the culture of the DO treats producing spies as the goal, not the way station.

It is not easy for outsiders to write about spying. But if war is too important to be left to the generals, espionage is too sensitive to be left to the spymasters. All of America's foreign policy institutions had their worlds upended by the end of the Cold War, but the change was sharpest for America's clandestine service, the CIA's DO. It is now shambling about without a mission, many of its best young officers leaving and its morale reeling from the aftershocks of discovering

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Reshaping National Intelligence for an Age of Information
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Reshaping National Intelligence for an Age of Information i
  • Rand Studies in Policy Analysis iii
  • Title Page v
  • Contents vii
  • Foreword xi
  • Preface xiii
  • Note on Sources xvii
  • 1: The Imperative of Reshaping 1
  • 2: The World of Intelligence Beyond 2010 20
  • 3: The Militarization of Intelligence 62
  • 4: Designated Readers: the Open Source Revolution 93
  • 5: Spying, Looking, and Catching Criminals 136
  • 6: The Intelligence of Policy 177
  • 7: A Reshaped Intelligence 216
  • Index 257
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