Teaching Intelligence: Getting Started

by John Macartney

American University & AFIO 28 March 1999
[email protected]

Originally prepared for the 1999 Convention of the International Studies Association (ISA), held in Washington, DC, Feb 17-20, 1999. Condensed and updated for the Joint Military Intelligence College sponsored Conference on the Teaching of Intelligence, 18 June 1999.

Copyright 1999 by John Macartney

Contents of This Paper


College courses on the CIA and/or intelligence were non-existent when I was an undergraduate back in the 1950's, and the same was true when I went to graduate school in the 1970's. Today, however, courses on the CIA and intelligence abound in this country and, to a lesser extent, abroad. Since most of us in today's professorate never took courses on intelligence as students, there is some question of where to start. That's the subject of this paper.

Why Study Intelligence?

Intelligence plays a critical support role in everything this country does in foreign affairs. Unless one understands intelligence one cannot under- stand US foreign policy. Moreover, because the US is such a colossus on the world stage, it is difficult to understand international relations C how the world works C without a general knowledge of how the US foreign policy community, and therefore US intelligence, works. Also, as intelligence has become integral to the function of the UN, UNSCOM, NATO, the IAEA and other IGO's it becomes important to understand the intelligence business if one is to comprehend how international institutions work. What is Intelligence? In the United States, intelligence information is collected, analyzed and disseminated for just one purpose ?to support US foreign policy. That is, intelligence is information about foreign affairs which is supplied to policymakers so they better understand the world and make better informed decisions regarding US policy. Supplied by our intelligence agencies with information, it is up to our policymakers (not intelligence officers), to deal with the world. Intelligence is a very important input to foreign policy, but intelligence officers and agencies do not themselves make or even weigh-in on policy decisions. Spy novels, Hollywood movies and sensational headlines have given most a distorted picture. Stripped of its James Bond/Rogue Elephant mystique,

Intelligence is a dedicated and usually tailored foreign information support service for government policymakers, planners and implementers.

That's my definition, which is shorter than but nevertheless very much in synch with the definition used other scholars and by the CIA itself:

Reduced to its simplest terms, intelligence is knowledge and foreknowledge of the world around us the prelude to decision and action by US policymakers. Intelligence organizations provide this information in a fashion that helps consumers, either civilian leaders or military commanders, to consider alternative options and outcomes. The intelligence process involves the painstaking  and generally tedious  collection of facts, their analysis, quick and clear evaluations, production of intelligence assessments, and their timely dissemination to consumers. Above all, the analytical process must be rigorous, timely, and relevant to policy needs and concerns.

In short, intelligence is the processing of information. Functionally, intelligence is similar to journalism and academic research. Unlike the media, think tanks and other information producers, however, intelligence deals only in foreign information, providing it to a restricted government clientele, and often tailors its products (briefings, maps, reports, digitized data, etc) to specific policymakers. Moreover, intelligence has its own dedicated and sometimes exotic information sources, including secret agents and elaborate systems of high tech sensors. And, of course, intelligence focuses primarily on foreign political, economic and military information that foreign governments, firms or NGO's may conceal and distort.

What About Covert Action?

In addition, to supplying information and analysis to policymakers, the primary role for intelligence agencies, there are two related missions, covert action and counterintelligence. Although a small part of the intelligence business, these two provoke firestorms of controversy and are frankly, sexy and fascinating subjects. Either could be addressed by an entire course, and both should be included in any course on intelligence. But they should be kept in perspective as intelligence related endeavors that occupy only about one percent of intelligence funds and personnel.

Can a A Secret Subject be Studied?

Until the 1980's it really could not. There just was not enough information available. Today, however, there is a rich literature  indeed, we are awash in intelligence memoirs, studies, textbooks, government documents, web sites, professional and academic journals, newsletters, symposia and the like. More than 200 American colleges and universities now have regular courses about intelligence while many more address this subject with occasional offerings. Furthermore, many of the thousands of courses offered on foreign policy include a lesson or lessons on intelligence as do increasing numbers of business courses, especially courses on international business.

Approaches to Teaching Intelligence

Teaching intelligence at the college has two major connotations and several variants.

Full Courses and Subsets.

There are courses like the one I teach at American University devoted entirely to intelligence, two or three hundred nationwide, and then there are the many thousands of courses on foreign policy or the Cold War which include one lesson or perhaps several lessons on intelligence. I address the latter in Attachment B.

Historians, Political Scientists, Foreign Intelligence and “X-Files”. Three variants of teaching intelligence are worth noting. One is the dichotomy between the historian and the political scientist. While this paper will be of interest to those who teach from an historical perspective, my own approach takes a political science, or process, approach. That is, how is US intelligence organized, what does it do, and what difference does it make? A second variant is another dichotomy between US intelligence and intelligence in the generic, comparative, or foreign, sense. I primarily address US intelligence and, along with that, the US foreign and defense policymaking milieu. Another variant, I am afraid, are the few professors out there who approach (and teach) intelligence from what might be called an X-Files or Oliver Stone-type perspective. I would like to open their eyes, but in my experience, conspiracy mavens are not interested facts, and they will find scant utility or comfort in my suggestions.

In sum, this paper is addressed to professors who teach or would teach about intelligence, whether as a whole course or part of a course. It will focus on US intelligence and take a political science approach C regarding intelligence as a part of the larger US foreign policy process

Getting Up to Speed Yourself. If you are new to the study of intelligence, you may want to look at Attachment C for some suggested books and web pages that will help get you up to speed. The sources listed in that attachment, by the way, also make good course materials.

Ignorance, Conspiracies & James Bond

Ignorance. Any course or discussion of intelligence must overcome two monumental barriers: ignorance & conspiracy theories. No other government function is so widely misunderstood. Americans know very little about their Intelligence Community and what it does. What is worse, instead of just lacking knowledge, many have wildly distorted views they have picked up from James Bond movies, Oliver Stone fantasies, or the “X-Files.” Furthermore, that general ignorance is shared by many elite's and opinion makers who should know better  journalists and professors. And, surprisingly, by many government officials as well. Here are some common misconceptions:

Intelligence is not policy. US intelligence officers do not make or comment on US policy. Instead, their job is to provide information to the policymakers who do make, plan and carry out US policy.

Intelligence is not covert action. Some equate intelligence with covert action, although covert action is less, much less, than one percent of the US intelligence business as measured by funds and/or personnel. That is, 99+ percent of the US intelligence effort has nothing to do with “dirty tricks” – instead, it is about research  that is, collecting and analyzing information and delivering it to government policymakers.

Intelligence is not just CIA. Many students, like most Americans, equate the CIA with US intelligence when the CIA is only one part, less that 15 percent, of the larger US Intelligence Community.

Intelligence is not law enforcement. While the Nazi Gestapo and the Soviet KGB were domestic police agencies first and foremost with an additional mission of foreign intelligence, the same is not true of American (or British) intelligence services which have no law enforcement function. Although many students think otherwise, the CIA has no arrest, law enforcement or police authority, and CIA officers seldom if ever carry firearms.

Conspiracy theories are another problem. They are the misguided notion that sinister, behind the scenes forces control important events, or rule the whole world. Although conspiracy bunk presents a troublesome problem for the legitimacy of all institutions, it is particularly damaging for US intelligence in general and the CIA in particular. That's partly because of government secrecy, but also because Hollywood has made a cottage industry of churning out fictional stories of outrageous CIA treachery. Oliver Stone's movie, JFK, which advanced the preposterous notion that the 1963 assassination of President Kennedy was part of a secret take-over of the US government by the Pentagon and the CIA who then controlled President Lyndon Johnson and, presumably, all subsequent presidents, including Bill Clinton, is the best example. But there are many others including television's X-Files and movies such as Three Days of the Condor, Men in Black, Conspiracy Theory, Enemy of the State, Area 51" and so on.

James Bond. Heroic caricatures of incredible James Bond or Jack Ryan derring-do are another problem. Those noble Hollywood images are also false and equally misleading. Neither the heroic image fostered by Tom Clancy, nor the treacherous beast of Oliver Stone's fantasies, have any relation to reality. Those distortions make it very difficult to carry out a rational discussion of intelligence matters. Overcoming wild conspiracy theories and James Bond or Oliver Stone type caricatures, as well as misconceptions about covert action, is integral to any course on intelligence. Somehow, professors have to tackle these misguided notions head on  not an easy task. Indeed, some of these lunatic ideas are so deeply ingrained that a few students never seem to grasp the truth.

Topics to Cover

What topics should a course on intelligence cover? Well, here's what I cover in my 14 week graduate course at American University:

I start with US foreign policy and the policy process because that is the arena where intelligence operates, and, while most of my students are international relations or political science majors, some come from journalism, business, economics or other disciplines and may not be up to speed on the Washington policy process machine. See Attachment A for more info on my course.

Other Topics that might be addressed: Several of the topics above, like history, collection, analysis, counterintelligence, covert action and oversight could easily be expanded into entire courses or broadened into two or three lessons of a general course. Possible additional topics:

Books and Other Course Materials

The bad news is that there is not a good, up-to-date, overall text available at this time. The good news is that one is in the offing, while there are numerous excellent books on the history of intelligence and various aspects of the intelligence business, such as collection, analysis, covert action counterintelligence and so on. Also, the internet is especially rich in intelligence documents and materials   so rich that it would be possible to offer a full course using only on line readings. Also, intelligence is frequently the subject of TV documentaries, and some of these are very good. Additionally, there are a number of excellent case studies. Finally, there are many retired intelligence officers who are willing to come into college classrooms and talk about their experiences. In some cases, the CIA will send active duty personnel to speak in classrooms, and the Agency itself is open to a limited number of class visits. Let's take those matters up one at a time

Basic Textbook. I see it, there are six choices currently on the market and all have drawbacks.

Bruce Berkowitz, Allan Goodman, STRATEGIC INTELLIGENCE FOR AMERICAN NATIONAL SECURITY, Princeton U Press, paperback, 1989, 183pp. [Excellent and concise, but out of date. Also, rather dry reading. The authors are professors who once served in the CIA]

Jeffrey Richelson, THE US INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY, 4th ed, Westview Press, 1999, 526pp. [This is a gold mine of up-to-date information, and many professors use it as a basic course text. I do not primarily because it is an almost encyclopedic source  it makes a better reference book than a text book. I recommend it to my students for that purpose and many choose to buy it]

Michael Herman, INTELLIGENCE POWER IN PEACE AND WAR, Cambridge U paperback, 1996, 385pp. [Written by a retired senior British intelligence officer, this is a very good book, but it is about British intelligence, or generic intelligence, as well as US intelligence. Also, because it had to cope with Britain's Official Secrets Act, it is rather less revealing than comparable books by American authors]

Loch Johnson, AMERICA'S SECRET POWER, Oxford U paperback, 1989, 271pp. [A very good book, but out of date. Johnson, now a professor at the University of Georgia, served on the Church Committee and the later congressional oversight committee staffs  as a result there is a certain distrusting inspector flavor to this book. On the other hand, it is especially good about congressional oversight]

Ronald Kessler, INSIDE THE CIA, Pocket Books, 1992, 253pp. [Excellent and concise, but it is becoming dated, is only about the CIA and is somewhat of a journalistic puff piece. On the other hand, it is especially readable and inexpensive   students like it. I use it every semester, but not as my basic text]

CIA, CONSUMER'S GUIDE TO INTELLIGENCE, PB-95-928008, 64pp, $25.50 from NTIS, the National Technical Information Service, (703) 605-6000 / http://www.ntis.gov/. [Although I have not seen this CIA document, it is an update of an excellent, unclassified, 43 page 1994 publication that was produced to educate government policymakers about the CIA and US intelligence. I have used that older version myself as a class reading and have been trying to persuade CIA officials to put the current version up on the internet for academic use. They will do so, I am told, when they have an updated, 1999 version.]

Forthcoming. Dr. Mark Lowenthal has written a basic text on intelligence that should be available from CQ Press by spring semester 2000, if not sooner. [Now the Director of OSS and a former Staff Director of the House intelligence committee, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence, and former Chief of CRS's international affairs division, Mark teaches an intelligence course at Boston. He has written several books and numerous articles on intelligence. All were excellent, and this book will probably become the definitive textbook on intelligence.]

In addition, I wrote an introduction to intelligence 12 years ago for my National War College students which was later published in updated versions as an ISA paper [1987], journal article [International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence, Winter 1988] and an AFIO monograph [AFIO #7, 1991]. I've continued to update that piece and have also added a glossary for my students at Syracuse and American Universities. I hope to publish it as an introductory text, perhaps next year. Together with the glossary, it runs about 100 pages and the December 1998 version entitled, The CIA & US Intelligence: A Primer, is available at a nominal charge from AFIO.*

Books on the History of Intelligence.

Christopher Andrew, FOR THE PRESIDENT'S EYES ONLY: SECRET INTELLIGENCE AND THE AMERICAN PRESIDENCY FROM WASHINGTON TO BUSH, Harperperennial paperback, 1995, 544pp. [I did a 1998 survey of books being used in intelligence courses for AFIO, and for those professors who responded, this was the most widely used book. It is excellent.]

Nathan Miller, SPYING FOR AMERICA, Marlowe, 1989, paper, 449pp. [A bit out of date and perhaps less authoritative and Academic than the Andrew, Richelson or O'Toole histories, the Miller book is an especially good read C students like it, and for that reason I strongly recommend it.]

Jeffrey Richelson, A CENTURY OF SPIES, Oxford U paperback, 1997, 431pp.

GJA O'Toole, HONORABLE TREACHERY, Atlantic Monthly paperback, 1991, 494pp.

Government & Think Tank Documents.

Since government documents are not copyrighted, they may be reprinted freely as student handouts or Packet readings. Also, many are posted on the internet  making reproduction unnecessary. The best of these come from several reform commissions that were active in 1996 as well as congressional documents. And the CIA http://www.odci.gov/cia/publications/pubs.html and especially its Center for the Study of Intelligence (CSI) http://www.odci.gov/csi/index.html have published a number of useful papers and monographs about intelligence. Of particular note, the CIA/CSI web page has four volumes of declassified articles from STUDIES IN INTELLIGENCE, the CIA's excellent in-house academic journal.

CIA & NSA DOCUMENTS. A visit to the CIA web page will lead to a number of monographs and books as well as congressional testimony and speeches available on line. Among the noteworthy:

L Britt Snyder, SHARING SECRETS WITH LAWMAKERS: CONGRESS AS A USER OF INTELLIGENCE, monograph, CIA Center for the Study of Intelligence, February 1997, p 29-48.

Douglas J. MacEachin, CIA ASSESSMENTS OF THE SOVIET UNION: THE RECORD VERSUS THE CHARGES, CIA Center for the Study of Intelligence (undated)


PERSONAL EXPERIENCES on the CIA/DI web page is useful to give students a word picture of what goes on at CIA and what it would be like to work there.

1996 Reform Studies. [I regard the first three studies, below, as indispensable.]

IC21: THE INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY IN THE 21ST CENTURY, Staff Study, Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, US House of Representatives, 104th Congress, Apr 6, 1996. [Superb readings on the various “INT’s” and other aspects of intelligence. Available from the Committee on-line at: http://www.access.gpo.gov/congress/house/intel/ic21/ic21_toc.html

PREPARING FOR THE 21ST CENTURY: AN APPRAISAL OF US INTELLIGENCE, Report of the Commission on the Roles and Capabilities of the US Intelligence Community. GPO, Mar 1, 1996 [Aspin / Brown Commission] Available from GPO or on-line: http://www.access.gpo.gov/congress/house/intel/ic21/ic21_toc.html

Alexander George and Jane Holl, THE WARNING-RESPONSE PROBLEM AND MISSED OPPORTUNITIES IN PREVENTIVE DIPLOMACY, A Report to the Carnegie Commission on Preventing Deadly Conflict, May 1997. http://wwics.si.edu/subsites/ccpdc/pubs/warn/warn.htm

THE FUTURE OF THE CIA, Panel Report of the Council on Foreign Relations, 18 Feb1997. http://www.foreignrelations.org/studies/transcripts/970218.html

Case Studies. There are books and articles available on many episodes of intelligence analysis as well as counterintelligence and covert action which make good fodder for case studies. In addition, the Case Study Program of the JFK School at Harvard [617/495-9523] offers 18 cases explicitly about intelligence. See Attachments A & D for more on cases. http://www.ksgcase.harvard.edu/plist.asp?Search_Type=TOPIC&Topic=Intelligence+Assessment

Videotapes. There have been some excellent TV documentaries on intelligence and there will certainly be more in the years to come. “NOVA” often broadcasts intelligence documentaries, and the Discovery Channel has a spytek series they rebroadcast from time to time. Your college library probably has some of these and catalogues with others. The Showtime premium movie channel broadcast an excellent documentary last November, The Real CIA, by Tim Weiner, the NY Times reporter who specializes in intelligence matters. The Times has a web site on the subject: http://www.nytimes.com/library/national/cia-invismain.html

Guest Speakers. Here in the Washington, DC area, it is easy to bring in guest speakers who have experience as intelligence officers, congressional overseers, or journalists who cover intelligence. Indeed, panels of such experts can be assembled for college classes. While it is not so easy to do that Outside the beltway, it is easier than you may think  and it does not hurt to ask. AFIO, the Association of Former Intelligence Officers, runs an academic outreach program that helps to locate retired intelligence officers who are available to speak throughout the country. Likewise, the CIA itself will provide guest speakers when possible.

Visits & Field Trips Don't laugh. I have taken several of my foreign policy classes to the CIA. If you are anywhere in the mid-Atlantic region, you might want to try this. Call the CIA and see if they can accommodate you, Another great place to take your class (also in the DC area) is the National Cryptologic Museum http://www.nsa.gov/museum/   which is located near the Baltimore- Washington International Airport (BWI).

Lessons Learned

I offered my first course on intelligence at the National War College in Washington, DC in 1988 – I was then an Air Force colonel assigned by DIA to the war college as its first “Professor of Military Intelligence.” Those students were mid-career military and State Department Foreign Service Officers and the course was at the top secret codeword level. From 1989 through 1995 and again this year (spring 1999), I have offered a graduate class on intelligence at American University also in Washington. (Attachment A), which is, of course, unclassified.

Course Popularity. Intelligence courses are immensely popular. Several times, including this semester, my AU class has filled up (30 students) the first hour of the first day of advance registration. This is a subject students want, partly because it seems “sexy” and partly because many of them are international relations majors thinking about jobs with intelligence agencies.

Faculty Hostility? Friends and colleagues in and out of academe have asked me if I have experienced any resistance to having a “CIA course” on campus. The answer is no. (I am not only a former intelligence officer, by the way, but also a fighter pilot and Vietnam veteran.) Nevertheless, I and my course have been welcomed – indeed, several of those very professors one who might have expected to be hostile (leftist ideologues, pacifists, etc) have instead befriended me, sent students to confer with me, and invited me to speak in their classrooms – and I have reciprocated.

Professionals. Every one of my classes at AU has had at least one professional intelligence officer enrolled – a surprise to me. This semester, for example, there is a young woman who is both a full time graduate student as well as a DIA analyst. In addition, there is another student who has worked, she says, two summers at CIA . There is also an active duty Army officer and a former Green Beret both Desert Storm veterans. In past years, there have been analysts from CIA, DIA and NSA, a Marine Corps intelligence officer who commuted from Quantico and two CIA clandestine service officers in training (that I know of). In 1995, I had a Washington Post reporter who was covering the Aldrich Ames trial. Except for the clandestine officers, who mostly remained silent in front of their classmates, these students have provided real world reality checks and first hand stories.

Jobs and careers in intelligence are very much on the minds of my students. To respond to that, I address the matter directly   sometimes devoting a whole lesson to job prospects and bringing in as a guest speaker, when I can, a young person who has recently gone to work for one of the Agencies and can talk about job prospects, what it's like, give advice, etc. Several of my past students, by the way, have gone on to work at intelligence agencies, while a couple of others are now working for contractors who specialize in business with the CIA or other agencies.

“The Grassy Knoll and Other Conspiracies.” Unfortunately, there are always a few students who start the semester with wild conspiracy notions (the CIA was on the grassy knoll in Dallas in 1963, or they're hiding flying saucers and aliens at Area 51, or flying around in black helicopters, and so on) and gross misunderstanding of what intelligence is about. It is worth noting, by the way, that a few of the mid-career military and State Department officials in my war college classes shared these misguided notions. I find it best to deal with this head on – I devote at least one class hour to conspiracy fallacies and have a couple readings on the matter. That I have been able, for the most part, to dispel such nonsense I count as one of my life’s little victories.

Vocabulary. The foreign policy community has its own vocabulary and scores of confusing acronyms that are little known outside the beltway. The Intelligence Community, a subset of that bureaucracy, has even more. Well, one cannot function in Washington foreign policy circles unless you speak the language, so I believe it is necessary to stress the language of foreign policy, and I do. The 50+ page glossary in my Packet, and my vocabulary quizzes, address this matter.

Guest Speakers. Students really appreciate guest speakers, and I try to have two or more each semester – retired case officers, journalists, congressional staffers, etc. When I began this course the Cold War was still underway, and I brought in a KGB defector each semester. That no longer seems relevant.

E-Mail & Internet. I send one or more broadcast e-mails to my students each week C reminding of them what will be happening at next Monday's class, assigning URL's of additional recommended readings, usually current events involving intelligence. Additionally, students communicate with me, and me with them, about their book reports, paper topics and to make office appointments.

Course Papers, for the most part, have been good. At my direction, most of the students manage to get interviews with retired intelligence officers, journalists, congressional staffers or others in the Washington area who can provide primary source material. Several of my students have managed to get interviews with former DCI's, with KGB defectors, and other interesting notables. One student who interviewed a former CIA officer among others, put together the best piece on current Japanese intelligence that I know of. Another young woman who later went to work at DIA wrote a superb Masters thesis for me on the history of that agency.

Attachment A --  My Course at American University

My own course at AU's School of International Service, The CIA and Foreign Policy, got underway in January 1999, and is an outgrowth of a similar course I taught at AU from 1988 through 1995.

Books. After gathering data about what others were using through the survey I did for AFIO, and going through my own library and the offerings of various publishers, I discovered there was not much available now that wasn’t there in 1995 when I last offered the course. That being the case, the books I am using in 1999 are the same ones I used in fall 1995:

Required Books:

Abram Shulsky, SILENT WARFARE: UNDERSTANDING INTELLIGENCE, 2nd Ed revised, Brassey's, 1993, 197pp. [out of print]

Seymour Hersh, THE TARGET IS DESTROYED,@ Vintage paper, 1986, 355pp. [out of print]

Ronald Kessler, INSIDE THE CIA, Pocket Books 1992, 253pp.

Goodman, Allan E. & Bruce D. Berkowitz (eds), THE NEED TO KNOW: TASK FORCE REPORT ON COVERT ACTION, Twentieth Century Fund (paper, distributed by Brookings), 1992, 86pp.

PACKET. In addition, I have an AU produced Packet, which is the heart of this course. I personally write or assemble its 394 pages, and it is then reprinted and sold to students for $23 as a spiral bound book by the AU Campus Store. See table of contents, at page 13, below. It has a lesson plan for each of the 14 weeks in the course as well as some public domain readings I have gleaned from government documents   especially the 1996 Aspin/Brown Commission and the House intelligence committee's IC21 reform studies. Although the AU Campus Store will go after copyright permissions, they are a bother, and I do not use copyrighted material.

Other public domain readings in my Packet include the super CIA monograph by L Britt Snyder, Sharing Secrets with Lawmakers, a Dept of Justice IG report on Aldrich Ames, and several articles from the unclassified annual editions of the CIA professional journal, STUDIES IN INTELLIGENCE. The centerpiece of the Packet is my own 53- page AFIO monograph (updated in 1998) and its accompanying 54 page glossary of intelligence acronyms and terms. The latter is important because I stress vocabulary throughout the course. There are also reproductions of overhead slides I use to illustrate lectures as well as reprints of several A+ student papers and book reports from past semesters  which honor the efforts of those students and provides guidance on what I am looking for and the level of my expectations to current students.

About the Books Listed Above:

The Shulsky book is the best text we have. Nevertheless, it has problems. Number one, of course, is that is is out of print. (The AU Campus Bookstore had almost enough used copies to supply my students.) Then, there's the problem that it is six years old. Which means it misses such developments as Aldrich Ames, the big increase in support to the UN and other international organizations by US intelligence, growing use of UAV's, increased importance of MASINT, the decline of SIGINT (due to technology), InteLink, information warfare, NIMA, and so on. In short, it is rather far out of date. Second, it has what I see as a serious distortion. That is, it tries to be two things: One of those is a text; the other is an argument for a particular view of what intelligence should be. Well, whether or not one agrees with the prescription, it is not and never has been how the US Intelligence Community works. Students inevitably get confused with descriptions of what is intermingled with what Shulsky believes ought to be.

The Seymour Hersh book, which relates the story of the 1983 Soviet shoot down of Korean Airlines Flight 007 and how that episode played out within the US intelligence and policy communities is, in my view, one of the best books ever written on intelligence. It is particularly good on SIGINT, the culture within the Intelligence Community, Cold War attitudes, and, most useful, the nexus between intelligence information and policy outcomes. A great read, it was a best seller and sold a huge number of copies as a $5 paperback. I used it every semester in my AU course from 1988 through 1995. In the early 1990's, as the book became hard to find, I bought some of my students used paperbacks  paying them the same $2 that the Campus Store then offered. I accumulated 20 copies that way which I have since used and am using again this semester. I place half of my horde on 3-day reserve in the campus library and loan the others out, one week at a time, directly to students.

The Kessler book, Inside the CIA, is good and it's cheap   only $5.59 from amazon.com. And it is an easy read with a lot of information, history, tradecraft and so on. Published in 1992, it too is getting out of date.

The Goodman and Berkowitz book is a report of a task force on the subject of covert action. The report itself is only 23 pages long and recommends keeping covert action  with dissenting views by Theodore Sorenson and Hodding Carter. Then there is a 53 page essay by Professors Goodman and Berkowitz (Goodman served on the staff of DCI Stansfield Turner and the two have written several books and articles about intelligence.) Their essay defines covert action, traces it's bureaucratic history, summarizes arguments for and against, reviews the legal status, outlines the planning and approval process in both the Executive Branch and Congress. Appendices summarize all publicly known covert actions since WWII, contain applicable Executive Orders and Legislation and reprint an actual finding.

Recommended Books: (not required for the course, or for purchase)

Norman Polmar & Thomas B Allen, SPY BOOK: THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF ESPIONAGE, updated & revised edition, Random House, 1998, paper. (An excellent reference and only $15)


Jeffrey Richelson, THE US INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY, 4th ed, Westview Press, 1999, 526pp.

Spy Books Book Reports. One of my 14 class sessions is devoted to students giving book reports, written and verbal, on intelligence books of their choice. From past experience, I know this is a useful and interesting session and books reported on run the gamut  Pearl Harbor, Bay of Pigs, Aldrich Ames, business intelligence and so on. Each student thus reads an additional book and hears from classmate reports about another dozen or so, while the class as a whole touches on a number of issues not formally part of the syllabus.

Case Studies. We do case studies on (1) the fall of the Shah of Iran in 1979, (2) Desert Shield / Storm and (3) the shoot down of KAL007. The latter is covered in the Seymour Hersh book, while readings for the first two are reprinted in the packet and come from government documents:

E-mail Assigned Web Pages. The readings above are supplemented each week by an e-mail message I broadcast to all students that provides reminders for the next week's class meeting and assigns additional recommended and, sometimes, required readings. 

American University  Spring 1999 Dr. John Macartney

The CIA & Foreign Policy

SIS 33.596.16 Prepared 25 Nov 1998

Packet Contents


Attachment B

Putting Intelligence Into Your Foreign Policy Course

by John Macartney

Even when not teaching courses devoted to intelligence, I always include intelligence as a part of all my international relations, foreign and defense policy courses – one or two lessons. Also, colleagues sometimes ask me to lecture on intelligence in their classrooms. So I have developed what amounts to a one lesson intelligence course – and sometimes I stretch it to two with a guest speaker or a field trip.

In addition to that session or sessions, I often bring up and explain intelligence-related current events, while some guest speakers touch on intelligence. For example, there is a young Maxwell School graduate at the Pentagon who usually spoke to my Syracuse University Semester-in-Washington seminars – talking about life after college. Since Cathryn is now a civilian intelligence analyst on the Army staff, her presentations also touched on intelligence. Being an intelligence analyst, she would tell students just three or four years younger that herself, is a lot like being a grad student at Maxwell  you do research all day long and write innumerable papers.

Readings. Often there is a chapter on intelligence in the course text, be it on US foreign policy or international relations. Nevertheless, I prefer to assign my own monograph, The CIA & US Intelligence: A Primer, but it is some 50 pages long without the glossary – so I usually skip it for undergraduates. Whether I assign that monograph or not, I also have a handout, “Intelligence and the CIA,” (page 18, below) that makes the key points I want to leave with students.

Lecture & Video. In my one-shot lectures on intelligence, I go over some key points and definition of terms. The handout, “Intelligence and the CIA,” more or less serves as an outline of my lecture. I also show them a 22 minute videotape, a 1994 Joan Linden A Visit Behind Closed Doors at the CIA.” I leave about 20 minutes for questions. By the end of an hour session, students usually have a fair understanding of intelligence, that is, they begin to see it as an information support service rather than a secret army or James Bond heroics.

Guest Lecture. If you are not yourself prepared to lecture on intelligence, this is a good place for a guest speaker. Nearly all of the big city dailies, such as the NY Times and the LA Times, have reporters who specialize in intelligence and they make good speakers. Also, there many retired intelligence officers these days who are willing to speak to student audiences. AFIO, the Association of Former Intelligence Officers, can supply speakers nearly anywhere in the country (contact Chuck Slack, by e-mail at [email protected]). The CIA itself tries to be as accommodating as possible. Sometimes they will provide speakers – it doesn’t hurt to ask. CIA Public Affairs .

Dr John Macartney [sample handout] Syracuse University, July 1997

Intelligence and the CIA

INTELLIGENCE is MISUNDERSTOOD. Forget James Bond. US Intelligence exists for just one purpose, to support US foreign policy. Basically, intelligence is an INFORMATION support service for government policymakers. (Similar to a news bureau or think tank ) more PhD's than cloaks and daggers). But unlike those others, intelligence deals only with foreign information, especially threats and other bad news. Also, intelligence tailors its products for specific customers.

Contrary to fictional caricatures in books and movies, the CIA does not fight against the KGB, or drug traffickers, or anyone else. Fighting America’s enemies is the job of US policymakers, diplomats and military personnel. The CIA’s job is to support those officials with information.

Within the US foreign policy process, intelligence plays a vital role. The intelligence officer is a “producer,” who supplies relevant information about foreign matters to “consumers,” the government policymakers, planners and operators who make, plan or carry out US foreign policy. Increasingly, US intelligence is also supporting international consumers at the UN, NATO, the IAEA and other IGO's.

Intelligence supports policymakers, but is not allowed to make (or even comment on) US policy

Two major divisions within the intelligence business are collection and analysis.

COLLECTORS specialize in either technical sensors, such as spy satellites, or in human intelligence, spies. The TECHINT collectors are mostly engineers and scientists. HUMINT collectors, on the other hand, have engaging personalities and are skilled in handling people. They serve, for the most part, overseas where they recruit and handle agents, or spies, the foreigners who provide information to the US government.

ANALYSTS are basically intellectuals, very much like a university or think tank faculty. Employment in the US Intelligence Community is very competitive, much like the State Department's Foreign Service. Thus, intelligence officers, especially CIA officers, tend to be sharp and very well educated.

Most intelligence information comes from open, unclassified sources, although secret agents and elaborate systems of high tech sensors play a very important role, especially when foreign governments or groups try to deceive us, or conceal hostile or illegal activity:

There are two categories of information, “secrets” and “mysteries.” A secret is an item of foreign information that exists, but has to be uncovered, or stolen. Example: Does North Korea have nuclear weapons? A mystery, on the other hand, is a question about the future, the answer does not now exist; it can only be estimated. Example: What will Mexico's inflation rate be next year? Policymakers need answers to both types of questions, and intelligence tries to provide both.

Intelligence serves three categories of consumers: national policymakers, planners and operators. National policymakers include the President and hundreds of senior government officials, most of whom are based in Washington, like the Secretaries, Under Secretaries, and Assistant Secretaries of State, Defense, Treasury and Commerce, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs and other Pentagon brass, the USTR, senators and congressmen, and the deputies and staffs (many of them junior) of all of the above. They need broad geopolitical information. Planners are those junior and midlevel government officials, mostly in the military, who write and maintain the hundreds of US contingency plans. Because they need so much detailed installation data (what is the refueling capacity at the Islamabad airport?), planners require by far the most intelligence support. Operators (or implementors) are the diplomats, trade negotiators, foreign aid officials, commercial attaches, immigration officials, attack pilots, soldiers and sailors who actually carry out US foreign policy. As a result of shortcomings highlighted during the Gulf War, ongoing reforms are designed to increase intelligence support to military operations, or SMO.

Again contrary to spy fiction, CIA officers do not themselves steal documents, crawl in windows, or break into safes. Instead, they recruit foreign “agents,” or spies, who do that. The relationship between an intelligence officer and his or her agent is very much like that between an investigative reporter and his or her “confidential sources.”

US intelligence officers are not policemen. They have no arrest authority, and they would very seldom, if ever, carry firearms (Exception: FBI counterintelligence agents)

Because the future is basically unknowable and intelligence analysts have no crystal ball, we should not place too much faith in intelligence estimates

Congress puts intelligence in two categories: intelligence (as an information support service) and intelligence related activities – counterintelligence and covert action.

Counterintelligence is protecting US government secrets from espionage, or leaks. It includes physical or procedural safeguards, like locks and security clearances. It also involves counterespionage, which is trying to defeat or penetrate foreign intelligence services. This is more law enforcement than intelligence and the FBI has overall responsibility.

Aldrich Ames Case: Why didn't they catch him sooner? Because of malfeasance by Ames' supervisors plus a lax internal CIA culture, as well as an ingrained American tendency to not be a “snitch,” or “tattle tale.” Here's some things to keep in mind: The CIA is not a law enforcement agency, and there were legal protections that made it difficult for the CIA (or any government agency) to check up on any employee's personal finances. Spies are very difficult to convict and in order to make a solid case the Justice Department believed they needed to catch Ames in the act of communicating with, or passing documents to, his Russian handlers. But Ames was an expert in tradecraft and the FBI never did catch him at it, although they had him under physical and electronic surveillance for about eight months.

Post Cold War Spies? Is spying a problem in the United States today? In a word, yes. The Russians are as busy as the Soviets were, while China also has extensive espionage networks in this country. And our friends want to know what’s going on in the US government and business world too. In the last decade, spies have been apprehended that were working for a number of countries including China and Russia, of course, but also Britain, France, Japan, Egypt, Israel, India, Argentina, Greece, and others.

Covert action, the other “intelligence related activity,” is really policy rather than intelligence. One of six major foreign policy tools, CA is used by most governments, especially ours. Basically, covert action is one of the other tools, like diplomacy, public diplomacy, or foreign aid, done covertly.

Examples: Secret diplomatic contacts; causing favorable stories to appear in foreign press; smuggling money, fax machines, counterfeit documents or guns to foreign dissidents; foiling illegal arms transfers, and so on. Covert action gets a great deal of press and congressional attention but is less than 1% what US intelligence does.

- The hand of US government is not to be revealed or acknowledged, ever

- The CIA carries out but does not make CA policy. Senior policymakers do that. There is a formal review process and orders (findings) must be signed by the President and briefed to Congress

ORGANIZATION. The CIA is just one part of our “Intelligence Community,” which is headed (really coordinated) by the DCI. Each of the armed services has its own intelligence organization, as do the State, Energy and Treasury Departments. All together, intelligence reportedly costs about $29 billion a year and employs over 100 thousand military and civilian personnel, including many women. The CIA is believed to account for about 15% of those totals. Culturally, intelligence officers, especially the analysts, tend to be, like others in the “knowledge industry,” introspective, scholarly, tweedy, and often relatively liberal.

INTELLIGENCE OVERSIGHT. CIA officers are not above the law. They must obey all US laws, and they are usually very careful about doing so. (Their jobs, of course, may involve violation of foreign espionage laws.) Nevertheless, secret agencies are hard to watch and there can be (and have been) abuses. Since the 1970's, an elaborate array of oversight mechanisms has been in place including various Executive Branch legal counsels, inspectors general and review committees, as well as the very active Senate and House select committees. Then there is the unending scrutiny of the press.

Attachment C

Getting Yourself Up to Speed on Intelligence

Books, Journals & Web Pages. There are thousands of books on intelligence, several journals and numerous web pages. Some are conspiratorial fantasies, but many or good. For starters, I recommend:

What is Intelligence?

Goodman, Allan E. & Bruce D. Berkowitz (eds), the need to know: task force report on covert action, Twentieth Century Fund (paper, distributed by Brookings), 1992, 86pp.

Abram Shulsky, silent warfare: understanding intelligence, 2nd Ed revised, Brassey's, 1993, 197pp. [out of print]

Jeffrey Richelson, the us intelligence community, 4th ed, Westview Press, 1999, 526pp.

[This has a gold mine of information, and many professors use it as a basic course text. I do not primarily because it is an almost encyclopedic source  it makes a better reference book than a text book. I recommend it to my students for that purpose and many buy it.]

Seymour Hersh, the target is destroyed, Vintage paper, 1986, 355pp. [out of print]

Ronald Kessler, inside the cia, Pocket Books 1992, 253pp.

Michael Herman, intelligence power in peace and war, Cambridge U paperback, 1996, 385pp.)

Loch Johnson, america's secret power, Oxford U paperback, 1989, 271pp.

William Burrows, deep black, Random House, 1986.

History of Intelligence

Christopher Andrew, for the president's eyes only: secret intelligence and the american presidency from washington to bush, Harperperennial paperback, 1995, 544pp.

Nathan Miller, spying for america, Marlowe, 1989 & 1997paper, 449pp.

Jeffrey Richelson, a century of spies, Oxford U paperback, 1997, 431pp [out of print]

Evan Thomas, the very best men, Touchstone paperback, 1995, 341pp.

Mark Lowenthal, us intelligence: evolution & anatomy, Praeger, 1992, 145pp.


Intelligence Journals There are five academic journals devoted to intelligence. If you are serious, you need to subscribe or get your college library to subscribe.

international journal of intelligence and counterintelligence (IJICI), 47 Runway Road, Suite G, Leviitow3n, PA, 19057-4700; Quarterly, $50/year.

[In my view, this is the most useful of intelligence journals and the best place for intelligence scholars to publish.]

studies in intelligence, the CIA's in-house professional journal.

[Many articles are classified, so this is not publicly available, but each year the CIA publishes an unclassified volume. Also articles that have been declassified can be obtained. Outsiders can and do publish in this journal C but only insiders see their work. Articles that have been declassified, and there are many, are available on the internet.] http://www.odci.gov/csi/

american intelligence journal, published by the National Military Intelligence Association (NMIA); NMIA membership is $35/year (301-840-6641) and includes on-line access to back issues and other material on the members only portion of the NMIA web page, http://www.nmia.org/

[Articles in this journal are often written by the heads of government intelligence agencies or, more likely, by their PR staffs. Thus they tend to be authoritative but not academic, or provocative.]

intelligence and national security. Published quarterly in London and likely to have more historical material and more articles about non-US intelligence. Frank Cass, (913) 843-121.

Defense intelligence journal. Quarterly journal published by the foundation that supports DIA's Joint Military Intelligence College.

[Articles in this journal are often authored by serving government intelligence officers. Thus they tend to be authoritative but not very academic, or provocative.]

Other Journals and Media. Journals that cover US foreign policy, particularly, foreign affairs, foreign policy and the washington monthly, often have good articles on intelligence. So do some newspapers, especially the washington post, washington times, ny times, la times and the baltimore sun, all of which have reporters who specialize in covering intelligence and all of which are available on-line. Material on technical sensors, reconnaissance aircraft and spy satellites can be found in aviation week & space technology and armed forces journal international, both available on the internet.

Intelligence Web Sites

BEST INTEL WEBSITE (in my opinion)







NY TIMES 1998 CIA PAGE (Tim Weiner)



http://intellit.muskingum.edu/intellsite/index.html (Ransom Clark)

http://www.webcom.com/~pinknoiz/covert/ciabase.html (CIABase)


http://www.access.gpo.gov/int/report.html(Aspin / Brown)

http://www.access.gpo.gov/congress/house/intel/ic21/ic21_toc.html (IC21)



http://www.carnegie.org/deadly/0697warning.htm (warning, 1997)

http://www.fas.org/irp/congress/1998_cr/s980731-rumsfeld.htm (Rumsfeld, 98)

http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/bayofpigs/ (Bay Pigs)

http://www.fas.org/irp/cia/product/jeremiah.html (Jeremiah 98)

http://www.fas.org/irp/cia/product/cocaine2/index.html (cocaine)










http://www.asia-research.com/JI2000.html (Japanese)

























http://www.nacic.gov/ (NACIC)

http://www.fbi.gov/ansir/ansir.htm (FBI)


http://www.loyola.edu/dept/politics/hula/hitzrept.html (Ames)






CIA, Center for Study of Intelligence


CIA FOIA documents


CIA WORLD FACTBOOK (not about intelligence, but indispensable)




NATIONAL SECURITY ARCHIVE (declassified documents)



http://www3.theatlantic.com/issues/98feb/cia.htm (Shirley)

http://www.us.net/cip/cia.htm (Mel Goodman)

http://www.foreignpolicy-infocus.org/briefs/vol3/v3n20hri.htm (IPS)

http://www.members.tripod.com/CIABASE/index.html (McGehee)






http://www.cc.umist.ac.uk/sk/index.html (UK)

http://www.pro.gov.uk/releases/soe-europe.htm (SOE)

http://www.mi5.gov.uk/ (UK, MI-5)

http://www.open.gov.uk/co/cim/cimrep1.htm (UK)

http://www.gchq.gov.uk/ (UK, GCHQ)

http://www.csis-scrs.gc.ca/ (Canada, CSIS)

http://www.cse.dnd.ca/ (Canada)


http://www.afji.com/ (AFJI)

http://www.aviationnow.com/content/publication/awst/awst.htm (Aviation Week)

http://www.milparade.com/ (military-related publicatons)


http://www.carnegie.org/deadly/0697warning.htm (warning, 1997)

http://www.fas.org/irp/congress/1998_cr/s980731-rumsfeld.htm (Rumsfeld, 98)

http://www.seas.gwu.edu/nsarchive/news/19980222.htm (Bay Pigs)

http://www.fas.org/irp/cia/product/jeremiah.html (Jeremiah(>98)

http://www.fas.org/irp/cia/product/cocaine2/index.html (cocaine)



http://www.afio.com/ (AFIO)

http://www.nmia.org/ (NMIA)

http://www.navintpro.org/ (NIP)

http://www.oss.net/ (OSS)

http://www.aochq.org/ (Old Crows)

http://www.opsec.org/ (OPSEC pros)

http://www.afcea.com/ (AFCEA)

http://www.cloakanddagger.com/dagger (Cloak & Dagger Books)

http://intelligence-history.wiso.uni-erlangen.de/   (history grp, German)

http://www.covertcomic.com/CovertComicJokes.htm (CIA jokester)

LISTSERVS (discussion)

http://www.navintpro.org/ (Naval Intelligence Professionals)

http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/kies/kia4th.htm (Cloaks & Daggers)

Organizations You Might Join. There are several organizations of retired intelligence officers that take in associate members whether they have ever worked in intelligence or not. These are useful primarily because they publish newsletters and hold frequent luncheons and symposia with guest speakers that often are the best source of new developments in the US Intelligence Community.

AFIO, the Association of Former Intelligence Officers, publishes a bimonthly newsletter of 24+ pages and holds quarterly luncheons in Washington, DC plus one or more symposia each year. Also, there are chapters around the country which have similar activities. AFIO's most useful service, in my view, is their electronic WIN’s, Weekly Intelligence Notes, delivered by e-mail and containing the latest developments in US intelligence as gleaned from the media and AFIO's own luncheon and symposia speakers. AFIO also has an academic outreach program (AEP) that provides teaching professors with materials and guest speakers and maintains a repository of course syllabi. Membership is $40/year and affiliation with the AEP program is free to teaching professors. AFIO, 6723 Whittier Blvd, #303A, McLean, VA 22101;  http://www.afio.com

NMIA, the National Military Intelligence Association, publishes the american intelligence journal, mentioned above as well as quarterly newsletters and a daily e-mail newsletter that covers developments in international relations and information technology as well as intelligence. Like AFIO, it holds symposia and luncheons in the Washington area and also has chapter activities throughout the country. Membership is $35/year. NMIA, 9200 Centerway Road, Gaithersburg, MD 20879; http://www.nmia.org/

ISA, the International Studies Association, has an Intelligence Studies Section that is the premier forum for intelligence scholars. It has its own web page http://iss.loyola.edu/, publishes a newsletter, and always has a great line up of papers, panels and roundtables at ISA's annual conventions. To join the intelligence subsection, you must first be a member of ISA. ISA, 324 Social Sciences, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721;  isa @ u.arizona.edu http://www.isanet.org

American University - July 1994 John Macartney,

Attachment D   -- Case Studies

Taken from my course Packet, at American University, the following Case Summaries provide a overview of a few of the cases available for intelligence courses. The Case Studies Program at Harvard's JFK School has produced some 18 intelligence case studies  most are 20 to 40 pages in length and can be purchased for $2.50 each or reproduced for $2. The cases marked with asterisks, below, are from the JFK School. http://www.ksgcase.harvard.edu/plist.asp?Search_Type=TOPIC&Topic=Intelligence+Assessment

The Pew Case Studies program at Georgetown University also has some intelligence related cases but, unlike Harvard's, Pew cases are not cataloged into an intelligence category and so are harder to find.

Cases can also be adapted from books, articles and Congressional documents.

Case Study Summaries

1. The October 1973 Arab-Israeli War
2. Intelligence and the Fall of the Shah
3. Lebanon and the Intelligence Community
4. The INF Treaty
5. Taking Toshiba Public
6. What the Market Will Bear
7. Intelligence in Desert Storm
8. The Shootdown of KAL007

1. THE OCTOBER 1973 ARAB-ISRAELI WAR. Both US and Israeli intelligence failed to provide warning to their respective policymaking masters of the Arab surprise attack in the Yom Kippur War of 1973. Why? As the case makes clear, a number of factors contributed to this "intelligence failure." Among them: "mirror imaging" (which was embodied in "the concept") as well as "noise," deception, and wishful thinking. Although there were a great many telltale indicators that war was imminent, neither intelligence analysts nor policymakers got the message. Like virtually every surprise attack in history, this one was successful. Source: D Brinkley & A Hall, The October 1973 Arab-Israeli War, Ch 4 of Estimative Intelligence, published by the Defense Intelligence College, DIA, Washington, DC, 1979, 16pp.

2. INTELLIGENCE AND THE FALL OF THE SHAH. President Carter, like five Presidents before him, made the Shah of Iran the cornerstone of US policy in Southwest Asia and the Persian Gulf. Relations with the Shah and his regime were excellent, and American military, diplomatic and intelligence personnel had unparalleled access to Iran and Iranians. Nevertheless, our government was completely unprepared for the overthrow the Shah by Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979. This case, taken from a Staff Report of the HPSCI, lays the blame for this "intelligence failure" on policymakers as much as on the Intelligence Community. Again, no one wanted to hear bad news – US policy depended on the Shah, and intelligence, of course, cannot easily challenge US policy. Furthermore, intelligence officers saw Iran as place to keep watch on the Soviets, no one was interested in watching Iran and very little attention was being paid to the ayatollahs. Alternate Source: Intelligence and the Fall of the Shah, 1978-79, US Congress, House of Representatives, 1978-1979, Report of the HPSCI, GPO 1979, 27pp.

3. LEBANON AND THE INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY. Throughout 1982-83, intelligence analysts had found themselves in fundamental disagreement with Reagan Administration's policies in Lebanon. But they were not consulted by the policymakers. Then, in the fall of 1983, a special estimate of the likely Syrian response to US actions was requested. The answer seemed important. US marines had been stationed at the Beirut airport, while US envoy Philip Habib was trying to negotiate Israeli and Syrian withdrawals from Lebanon. The resulting SNIE was remarkable for its dismal forecast – nothing the US could do, wrote the analysts, would induce the Syrians to withdraw. Nevertheless, the Administration pressed ahead with its policy. That culminated in the marine barracks bombing on October 23rd with 241 killed and the subsequent American pullout. A decade later, the Syrians rule Lebanon. This Harvard case gives a good feel for the intelligence-policy relationship and a look at the role of NIO's.

4. THE INF TREATY. This Harvard case demonstrates the importance of intelligence and NTM to arms control. Without intelligence there could be no arms control. Also, treaty monitoring and treaty verification are shown to be separate functions. Negotiation and ratification of the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty in 1987 involved a number of intelligence issues. Could the treaty be verified? Also, CIA, DIA and INR differed in their estimates of the total number of Soviet SS-20's in existence. If the Soviets actually had as many missiles as DIA believed, then several hundred were being concealed – a gross treaty violation. Another intelligence issue was the question of what degree of on-site inspection did we want, and could we live with at home?

5. TAKING TOSHIBA PUBLIC. This Harvard case is marvelous for demonstrating how policy impacts intelligence, and pushes it around. The US Intelligence Community first began to report in 1985-86 that the Toshiba Machine Tool Company (and a Norwegian firm, Kongsberg Vaapenfabrik) were secretly and illegally transferring critical submarine technology to the Soviets. Policymakers were eager for the information; the Administration wanted to make an example of Toshiba while many congressmen wanted to score political points back home by "Japan bashing." The information was especially welcome. It was also sensational and, naturally, it soon leaked. By 1987 the Japan bashing seemed to be getting out of hand and the Reagan Administration was consciously trying to cool things to avoid an economic and diplomatic rupture with Tokyo. Moreover, the Japanese government and Toshiba, as well as many American firms who depended on Toshiba products, had mounted one of the most lavish lobbying campaigns this town has ever seen. The political climate changed drastically. The Intelligence Community continued to report cheating by Toshiba, but now nobody wanted to hear it. Previously lauded for their reporting, the analysts now came under severe pressure and were told, in effect, to shut up. Or else!

6. WHAT THE MARKET WILL BEAR. This Harvard case concerns international economics rather than politico-military matters and involves the CIA being used in a bureaucratic tussle between a senior NSC staffer, on the one hand, and the Treasury Department and the FED, on the other. In the early 1980's US banks were dangerously overexposed to pending loan defaults by Mexico and other Latin American governments. The NSC staffer wanted to sound an alarm about a long term Third World debt crisis and used CIA briefings as a vehicle to try to make that happen. The briefer ran head-on into Treasury Department policy, which was to muzzle alarmists, keep muddling through and, basically, pretend there was no problem. Why? Because acknowledging the matter would have forced immediate bank failures in this country and made the Latin American governments insolvent. Most likely, that would have brought on a world wide recession. In this case, pretending was probably better than truth (unless you like bank failures and recessions). But of course that's not how intelligence works.

7. INTELLIGENCE SUCCESSES & FAILURES IN DESERT STORM. This case is based on a 1993 Report by the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations of the House Armed Services Committee (not the HPSCI). It is the best analysis and discussion available on Gulf War intelligence and on military intelligence writ large. In brief, the congressional report says collection did very well in the Gulf, while dissemination did poorly and analysis was a mixed bag. Problems with dissemination stemmed from the basic design of our national intelligence system, as well as the way intelligence normally does its business. The US Intelligence Community was optimized, basically, to serve national policymakers, but it did not do well in disseminating information into the hands, and cockpits, of military operators in the field. That was the main Gulf War lesson that Congress took aboard, and since 1991 Congress has been forcing fixes on the CIA and the Intelligence Community that strengthen joint military intelligence and switch more funding to sensors and programs that serve military planners and especially operators on the battlefield, rather than the White House and other senior Washington policymakers. This ongoing reform effort is known within the Intelligence Community as "SMO," Support to Military Operations, and many argue that the pendulum has now swung to far towards SMO and away from support to national decision makers. Source: Intelligence Successes and Failures in Operations Desert Shield / Storm, US Congress, House, Committee on Armed Services, Subcommittee, 103rd Congress, 1srt Session, August 1993, 45pp.

8. THE KAL007 SHOOTDOWN. Seymour Hersh's book on the 1983 shootdown of Korean Airlines Flight 007 provides our eighth case study. Hersh's book, which became the generally accepted account of that tragedy, has since been vindicated in almost every particular by access to Soviet files and the airliner's "black box," which the Soviets recovered at the time but concealed until 1992. (Nevertheless, a few conspiracy theorists still repeat the preposterous and now totally disproved idea that the airliner was on a spy mission.) Hersh's wrote, basically, that the shootdown was a tragic blunder rather than a deliberate atrocity. Hersh argues that, after some uncertainty, intelligence made it clear to the Reagan Administration and other US policymakers that the Soviets had blundered. Nevertheless, US spokesmen ignored that finding and, to score propaganda points, continued to accuse Moscow of "deliberate murder." In Hersh's view, it was a misuse of intelligence by policymakers. Aside from what happened to the airliner, Hersh is very perceptive and instructive about bureaucratic politics – how the Intelligence Community, the Pentagon and Washington work. That's why his book is such a useful case study for this course. In particular, Hersh captures the often troubled relationship between intelligence, on the one hand, and its policymaking masters on the other. He also provides a fascinating insiders feel for the organization and culture of the SIGINT business. On top of all that, it's a good read – you'll enjoy it. In a short but very thoughtful Packet paper, Ken McKune, a Foreign Service Officer who was a War College student of mine in 1988, takes issue with Hersh's thesis.


John Macartney is Scholar in Residence at The American University School of International Service where he teaches a graduate course on Intelligence. A retired AF Colonel, he was a fighter pilot in Vietnam. taught political science for many years at the AF Academy, was an intelligence staff officer at HQ CINCPAC in Hawaii, Commander of DIA's Defense Intelligence College (now the JMIC) and later DIA's Professor of Military Intelligence at the National War College. Since retiring from the Air Force in 1990, he taught full time at AU before creating and running the Syracuse University Maxwell IR Semester in Washington Program. John is also editor of the INTELLIGENCER, a newsletter for intelligence professors and scholars which is published by AFIO, the Association of Former Intelligence Officers. An engineering graduate of the AF Academy, John's MA and PhD degrees in political science are from UCLA.

Posted 1st November, 2002 - Translated from the original Word Document by Alan Simpson, corrections, HTML, and links to Amazon.com by C4I.org.

Air Force Colonel John David Macartney, 63, whose 30-year Air Force career included a stint as commandant of the Defense Intelligence College in the mid-1980s and who retired in 1990 as a teacher at National Defense University at Fort McNair, died of cancer Nov. 24, 2001 at his home in Washington.

In the 1990s, Col. Macartney taught international relations at American University and Syracuse University's Semester in Washington program. Since 1992, he had co-edited the Intelligencer, helping to transform the Association of Former Intelligence Officers newsletter into a biannual journal.

He was a Denver native and grew up in the Los Angeles area. He was a 1960 graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado and received a master's degree in international relations and a doctorate in political science, both from the University of California at Los Angeles.

He was a fighter pilot in the 1960s and saw combat in the Vietnam War. He then did intelligence work in Hawaii before settling in the Washington area in 1984 as commandant of the Defense Intelligence College at Bolling Air Force Base.

His marriage to Anne Fields Macartney ended in divorce. Survivors include his wife of 14 years, Lorna Aldrich of Washington; a son from his first marriage, Stephen, of Washington; and a sister.

Web www.C4I.org

Last updated 12.16.2005