Secret Agencies: U.S. Intelligence in a Hostile World (Revised)

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Secret Agencies: U.S. Intelligence in a Hostile World (Revised)
How has the end of the Cold War affected America's intelligence agencies? When are aggressive clandestine operations justifiable, and who should be responsible for deciding to proceed with them? Should the United States engage in more aggressive economic espionage? These are just a few of the issues Loch Johnson examines in this thoughtful assessment of strategic intelligence and its vital role in modern governments.

Johnson draws on historical data, more than five hundred interviews, and his own experience working for Congressional committees on intelligence. He begins by defining the functions of intelligence: espionage, counterintelligence, and covert action. He then provides an overview of America's secret operations abroad, assesses the moral implications of clandestine operations, and offers guidelines for a more ethical approach to the use of secret power. Johnson explores the question of intelligence accountability, looking closely at how well intelligence agencies have been monitored through the forum of Congressional hearings. He compares America's approach to intelligence with that of other nations, discusses the degree to which intelligence agencies should provide information about foreign businesses, and evaluates how well the U.S. intelligence agencies fared during the Cold War against the USSR. Secret agencies have the capacity not only to safeguard democracy but also to subvert it, says Johnson. As such, they deserve both our support and our scrutiny.

Publication Date: 
October 11, 1998