In This Review

U.S. Intelligence At the Crossroads: An Agenda for Reform
U.S. Intelligence At the Crossroads: An Agenda for Reform
By Ernest May, Roy Godson, and Gary Schmitt
Brassey's, 1995, 325 pp

This volume, edited by three veteran intelligence scholars, is considerably better than the run-of-the-mill collection of articles. It reflects the labors of the Working Group on Intelligence Reform, a floating seminar run by the three editors that drew on the efforts of practitioners who can write reflectively and academics who have a feel for policy problems. Individual contributions stand out, among them David Kay's superb description of Iraq's success at hiding its nuclear program from U.S. intelligence. The predominant tone here is, broadly speaking, traditional. That is, the authors believe in the efficacy of deception, the imperative of counterintelligence, and the definition of intelligence as the ferreting out of secrets rather than the creation of a super-social science. In the wake of the covert Iraqi nuclear program, the Ames debacle, and the dismaying record of CIA estimates of the Soviet economy in the 1980s, they appear to have a good case. The authors do not march in lockstep, however, and represent a variety of political views, including those of the current administration. Those interested in provocative but informed discussion of where American intelligence stands at the end of the Cold War, and where it should go, should start with this book.