Comment: Mr. Bamford's study created quite a stir when it was first published. It details the workings of the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Signals Intelligence Community. It provides a history of signals intelligence and of the NSA, purporting to detail the inner workings of this highly secretive agency. Some experts have questioned the accuracy of the book, but the fact NSA tried to stop publication suggests it is pertinent.
Comment: David Kahn's history of secret signals intelligence (SIGNIT) continues to be the most comprehensive and complete work available. Beginning with ancient times, Kahn brings this historical survey of cryptology up to the 1960's. Although more current works such as Bamford's Puzzle Palace fill in some of the more recent gaps, Kahn's work is still an important compendium.
Comment: This book details British and American efforts to decode high level German traffic during World War II. It describes the British acquisition of an "enigma" coding machine and efforts at decoding the volumes of traffic being passed. It explains how early machine encryptions were defeated. The book is based on declassified documents and interviews with participants.
Comment: Schecter is a former diplomatic editor of Time magazine, former Moscow bureau chief and author of several books. Deriabin is a former KGB counterintelligence officer, author and consultant to the U.S. Army and the CIA. This book is based on interviews with former CIA and British intelligence officers. It focuses on the wealth of information received from Oleg Penkovsky at a crucial time in Cold War history. The book takes the reader from the initial contact to Penkovsky's death. It illustrates the problems of human intelligence (HUMINT) operations in the Soviet Union.
Comment: This work is a general handbook for recruiting and training spies. The authors have excellent notes and the bibliography will satisfy most readers desiring further information on this HUMINT activity. The work covers the recruitment, and running of spies. It is highly informative for anyone not familiar with these concepts, and detailed enough for those seeking more information on this topic.
Comment: Gordievsky, formerly with the KGB, provided the insider's view for this work. Andrew co-authored this book which purports to be based on top secret KGB documents. It provides a fascinating look at KGB operations and outlines the KGB's global priorities, discusses agent recruitment and the running of illegals. It shows the focus of the KGB vis-a-vis its principle adversaries in the United States, Europe and China.
Comment: This slightly fictionalized work deals with the CIA's handling of Pytor Popov who was a GRU agent. He was one of the first important Soviet agents the CIA recruited and managed. The author's first-hand experience with the case helps make this account quite dramatic and interesting.
Comment: Burrows' work provides a very good look at imagery intelligence (IMINT). The author describes several systems based on open source materials. A brief tribute is paid to IMINT history but the meat of this text deals with 1980's technology and capabilities. While the details take time to absorb, the work reads well overall.
Comment: Richelson's America's Secret Eyes in Space provides an historical and somewhat technical history of the U.S. satellite reconnaissance program. The author describes the individuals and organizations involved, as well as the technology and its applications. However, most importantly, the author discusses the impact the U.S. program has had on U.S. national security policy- making. The book contains exhaustive Notes and Sources sections.
Comment: The author of this book helped establish the National Photographic Interpretation Center (NPIC) and bases his book on this experience. The book discusses the use of the U-2 aircraft and examines the Cuban Missile Crisis. It shows the role imagery played during this crisis as well as its value at other critical times.
Comment: Mr. Beschloss, an adjunct historian at the Smithsonian Institution, provides an in-depth historical analysis of the U-2 affair in 1960. The author, using previously unavailable diaries, correspondence and documents, provides an indispensable account of one of the Cold War's most memorable episodes. The author's thesis is that the irrational impulses which drove the policy of both superpowers was considerably more dangerous than mere superpower rivalry. The work has extensive notes and sources sections.
Comment: This valuable compendium draws on the works of several book authors. Its value lies not so much in the particular items it discusses (the Soviet Union is mentioned quite often) but rather on the countervailing philosophies encountered in the intelligence community. It is divided into the following five sections: intelligence for the 1990's; collection; analysis; counter-intelligence; and covert action. The work provides unique insights on intelligence issues at the national level.
Comment: Although Treverton's book is academic in nature, it benefits from his experiences working for the Church Committee in the 1970's and for the White House. The book is a discussion of four decades of American covert action. The author uses case studies to discuss the political culture of covert action, problems in the oversight and the political outcomes of covert actions. He also includes an excellent section the paradox of secret operations in an open and democratic society.
Comment: The title tells it all. Wright does a creditable job listing accomplishments and disappointments of the British counterintelligence (CI) organization known as MI-5. In particular, he relates how the process of "spy catching" can paralyze an intelligence organization with deception and paranoia. It is an excellent discussion of the cult of counter-espionage.
Comment: J.C. Masterman was an academic who was "drafted" into Britain's MI-5 and subsequently put to work as a case officer for double agents. Masterman puts forth an operations manual which describes both the theory and practice of the double-cross system; that is, the running of double agents behind enemy lines. The author contends the success of the British operations were not due to a superior British intellect, but rather to British integrity. The book provides a rare look into double agent operations as well as the rational of running them.
Comment: Wilderness of Mirrors chronicles the fascinating CI operations of the CIA. The cases of George Blake, Donald McClean, Guy Burgess and Kim Philby are discussed. Also, the author describes Bill Harvey and James Jesus Angleton, who dominated CI at the CIA. The great "mole hunt" Angleton pressed until his dismissal in the late 1970's ends this work.
Comment: This 180-page book provides a useful introduction to strategic intelligence. The notes are particularly valuable for those who wish to read further on the subject. Berkowitz and Goodman's work updates and compliments Sherman Kent's Strategic Intelligence, detailing how strategic intelligence is currently produced. As well, it provides a useful critique of the process.
Comment: Kent's book has been the primer for strategic intelligence since its first printing in 1949. It describes what intelligence is, (knowledge and the organization and methods to obtain such knowledge) at the strategic level. Kent's introduction to the 1965 printing attempts to distinguish the Soviet view of intelligence from that of the U.S. Kent indicates that it was probably the ability of the U.S. to rigorously analyze data that led us to the correct choices during the Cuban Missile Crisis, rather than the insights of one single spy or secret document. Those familiar with the information derived from Oleg Penkovsky at that time might dispute Kent's evaluation. Nonetheless, the book remains a classic despite criticisms of it being somewhat dated.
Comment: Dr. Ford brings a wealth of knowledge at the strategic estimative intelligence level to this short book. He served in the CIA's Office of National Estimates, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and the National Intelligence Council. He also served as a CIA Chief of Station, National Intelligence officer and a professor at the Defense Intelligence College. The reader should note the book is primarily related to estimating at the highest level. The reader will find very little relating to work below the national intelligence level. It begins by delineating the history and applicable lessons of Pearl Harbor; then discusses the present potential and limitations of the national system. The author concludes with recommendations for expanding national intelligence and looks to the needs of the future.
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