Eyes in the Sky: Eisenhower, the CIA, and Cold War Aerial Espionage

By Rouland, Michael R. | Air & Space Power Journal, March/April 2014 | Go to article overview

Eyes in the Sky: Eisenhower, the CIA, and Cold War Aerial Espionage


Rouland, Michael R., Air & Space Power Journal


Eyes in the Sky: Eisenhower, the CIA, and Cold War Aerial Espionage by Dino A. Brugioni. Naval Institute Press (http://www.usni .org/navalinstitutepress), 291 Wood Road, Annapolis, Maryland 21402, 2010, 572 pages, $36.95 (hardcover), ISBN 978-1-59114-082-5.

During the fateful days of the Cuban missile crisis, Dino Brugioni was working at the National Photographic Interpretation Center with the first images of Soviet SS-4 medium-range ballistic missiles in the Sierra del Rosario. He and a team of imagery analysts prepared the first images for President John F. Kennedy, and the rest, as they say, is history. IWo decades ago, Brugioni wrote Eyeball to Eyeball: The Inside Story of the Cuban Missile Crisis (New York: Random House, 1991) as a comprehensive insider's account of the crisis and a historical survey of US photo reconnaissance.

Brugioni's recent book Eyes in the Sky offers a deeper study of US photo reconnaissance. He is well positioned to do this since he has been an expert "eye in the sky" since the mid-1950s, interpreting the first U-2, SR-71, and Corona satellite photos. Using newly declassified documents, Brugioni provides detailed, firsthand knowledge of an exhaustive collection of classified programs and an important resource for students and scholars of Cold War intelligence.

The strengths of the book include new insights into President Dwight D. Eisenhower's interest in aerial reconnaissance during the early Cold War. In 1955 Eisenhower proposed "mutual aerial observation" to Soviet premier Nikolai Bulganin, but the Soviets immediately rejected this proposal. Undeterred, Eisenhower tasked the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to evaluate Soviet military and nuclear capabilities unilaterally. …

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