By Loch K. Johnson
In 1975, after The long island Times released a devastating critique of the CIA, 3 executive panels--the Rockefeller, Church, and Pike Committees--were shaped to envision those allegations extensive. What they uncovered--assassination plots, opened mail, drug experiments opposed to unsuspecting matters (two of whom died from aspect effects)--shocked the yank humans and moved Senator Frank Church to name the CIA "a rogue elephant rampaging out of control." in actual fact, the US wishes a robust, potent intelligence attempt, yet simply as in actual fact, this attempt needs to function in the bounds of an open, democratic society.
according to hundreds and hundreds of interviews with CIA officers, nationwide protection specialists, and legislators, in addition to a radical culling of the archival list, America's mystery Power deals an illuminating and up to date photograph of the crucial Intelligence company, stressing the tough stability among the true wishes of nationwide protection and the security of person liberties. Loch Johnson, who has studied the workings of the CIA before everything hand as a legislative overseer, offers a accomplished exam of the company and its family with different American associations, together with Congress and the White condo (he bargains rather astute analyses of the CIA's use of newshounds and lecturers to collect intelligence) and he illuminates the CIA's 3 significant missions--intelligence research, counterintelligence, and covert action--providing brilliant descriptions in their function and their pathologies. for instance, he bargains a desirable research of the "Seven Sins" of intelligence paintings, revealing how the easiest intelligence studies may be distorted or overlooked (in the mid-1960s, the facts opposed to a brief American victory in Vietnam used to be dismissed); how covert activities can spin uncontrolled regardless of wide safeguards, as within the Iran-Contra scandal; and the way the CIA has spied on americans in transparent violation of its constitution. extra, he offers an intensive overview of legislative efforts to cut back those abuses, suggesting numerous very important how one can in achieving the fragile stability among nationwide safeguard and democratic beliefs.
Vividly written and meticulously documented, America's mystery Power attracts the strands of an enormous quantity of study right into a balanced critique of our intelligence networks. it's a paintings that stands by myself in its thoroughness and objectivity, a considerate and sobering portrait of the modern CIA.
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Additional resources for America’s Secret Power: The CIA in a Democratic Society
Its width, though, can be narrowed to a point where, as with a spark plug in an automobile engine, the people can "fire" their representatives into responsiveness. This narrowing of the gap between political elites and masses is neither an easy nor a one-time task; instead, it is laborious and ongoing. As the historical record shows, usually the people fail: democracies have been both rare and fragile. 11 In most cases elites have simply refused to share power with the people. Autocracies or oligarchies have been the most prevalent forms of rule, and often these governments have been brutal dictatorial regimes.
Traditionally, in Britain, to call civil servants— certainly intelligence officials—to account has been beyond the pale of legislative prerogative. Moreover, Britain has several Official Secrets Acts that further enclose intelligence policy tightly within the ambit of those ministries dealing with national security. The United States also has laws to protect intelligence secrets (including the Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982, which makes disclosing the names of intelligence employees a crime15); but something as sweeping as the Official Secrets Acts, which virtually seal off intelligence policy completely from the British citizenry, has no counterpart in the United States.
14 This book concentrates on a small but important portion of the whole. The focus here 8 THE I N T E L L I G E N C E MISSION is on the record of accountability and oversight in what may be its supreme test in a democracy: the task of monitoring and supervising the behavior of officials who work within the least accessible recesses of government, the secret intelligence agencies. A few democracies (Canada, for one) have followed the American lead to establish rigorous intelligence oversight committees.
America’s Secret Power: The CIA in a Democratic Society by Loch K. Johnson