Burn before Reading: Presidents, CIA Directors, and Central Intelligence

By Grassey, Tom | Naval War College Review, Autumn 2006 | Go to article overview

Burn before Reading: Presidents, CIA Directors, and Central Intelligence


Grassey, Tom, Naval War College Review


Turner, Stansfield. Burn before Reading: Presidents, CIA Directors, and Central Intelligence. New York: Hyperion, 2005. 319pp. $23.95

Presumably Stansfield Turner did not devise the nonsensical title of this history of the DCI's (Director, Central Intelligence) relationship with the president of the United States.

In twelve chapters on chief executives from Franklin D. Roosevelt through George W. Bush, Turner discusses the nineteen men who headed America's intelligence organization. "Within six months of Pearl Harbor, FDR's enthusiasm for 'Wild Bill' [Donovan's] 'innovative thinking' had evaporated," Turner writes, noting that Donovan was never given access to the ULTRA/MAGIC code-breaking program, and he regularly lost struggles with the Joint Chiefs of Staff and J. Edgar Hoover.

In January 1946, Harry Truman created the Central Intelligence Group and appointed Sidney Souers as the first director of central intelligence, with simple expectations: "to keep him personally well-informed of all that was going on in the outside world." By September 1949, however, the CIA had not been privy to Atomic Energy Commission information, so the day after Truman learned that the Soviet Union had exploded its first atomic bomb, he read Intelligence Memorandum 225: "The earliest possible date by which the USSR might be expected to produce an atomic bomb is mid-1950 and the most probable date is mid-1953."

Turner recounts subsequent intelligence failures, but because the manuscript was submitted to the CIA for security review, few readers should be surprised by this history.

While most facts are familiar, Turner's thesis is that the director of Central Intelligence serves the president in two capacities: leading the CIA in providing unbiased intelligence; and heading the intelligence community, "fifteen federal agencies, offices, and bureaus within the executive branch. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Burn before Reading: Presidents, CIA Directors, and Central Intelligence
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.