No major twentieth-century power has so short a history of
national intelligence agencies or activities as does the United
States, and few have been as public or as tumultuous. A major
debate has now opened over the future structure, size, and role of
U.S. intelligence in the aftermath of the cold war. This unique and
fully updated book is a history of the U.S. intelligence
community--as well as a detailed description of the organization
and function of the major components of the community as they
existed at the beginning of 1992. A welcome and timely update of
one of the most concise and objective guides to the history and
structure of U.S. intelligence. "Representative Dave McCurdy,
Chairman, Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, U.S. House of
The history of the intelligence community can be divided into
three distinct periods. From its creation in 1947 until the
revelations and investigations of 1974-1975, the intelligence
community operated under fairly broad grants of authority based on
trust. After the Nixon administration, a previously dormant
Congress was galvanized to write new oversight provisions and also
took on a greater role as a shaper and consumer of intelligence.
With the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the cold war
in 1991, the intelligence community found its role and even its
necessity questioned due to the sudden absence of its major target.
Lowenthal emphasizes that a competent and challenged intelligence
capability is an essential part of the U.S. national security
structure, despite the status of external events or threats. The
major requirement of this structure, he says, is providing timely,
objective, and pointed analysis to policymakers across a wide range
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