Paradoxes of Strategic Intelligence: Essays in Honor of Michael I. Handel

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Paradoxes of Strategic Intelligence: Essays in Honor of Michael I. Handel

By Richard K. Betts (ed.) and Thomas G. Mahnken (ed.)
Frank Cass, 2003
256 pp. $79.95
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Admirers of the late Michael Handel will welcome this short volume of essays, one of three produced as a tribute. It addresses one of Handel's favorite topics: how countries can manage their intelligence to avoid getting caught by surprise. In addition to his own essay on the subject, there are contributions by a number of top specialists, including Richard Betts' discussion of the politicization of intelligence and John Ferris' detailed assessment of British military deception in the two world wars. Handel died in June 2001, a few months before that September's catastrophic surprise. As James Wirtz notes, the fact that the United States might have seen the attack coming would have confirmed Handel's skepticism of the possibility of developing an operational theory of surprise. These essays similarly conclude that there are inherent difficulties in trying to guard against surprise, although there are approaches to intelligence collection that can reduce its likelihood.