National Insecurity

National Insecurity: U.S. Intelligence After the Cold War

Edited by Craig Eisendrath
Foreword by Tom Harkin
Copyright Date: 2000
Published by: Temple University Press
Pages: 240
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt14bsxjj
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  • Book Info
    National Insecurity
    Book Description:

    A drastic reform of intelligence activities is long overdue. The Cold War has been over for ten years. No country threatens this nation's existence. Yet we still spend billions of dollars on covert action and espionage.InNational Insecurityten prominent experts describe, from an insider perspective, what went wrong with U.S. intelligence and what will be necessary to fix it. Drawing on their experience in government administration, research, and the foreign service, they propose a radical rethinking of the United States' intelligence needs in the post-Cold War world. In addition, they offer a coherent and unified plan for reform that can simultaneously protect U. S. security and uphold the values of our democratic system.As we now know, even during the Cold War, when intelligence was seen as a matter of life and death, our system served us badly. It provided unreliable information, which led to a grossly inflated military budget, as it wreaked havoc around the world, supporting corrupt regimes, promoting the drug trade, and repeatedly violating foreign and domestic laws. Protected by a shroud of secrecy, it paid no price for its mistakes. Instead it grew larger and more insulated every year.Taking into consideration our strategic interests abroad as well as the price of covert operations in dollars, in reliability, and in good will, every American taxpayer can be informed by and will want to read this book.National Insecurityis essential for readers interested in contemporary political issues, international relations, U.S. history, public policy issues, foreign policy, intelligence reform, and political science.

    eISBN: 978-1-59213-779-4
    Subjects: Political Science, Technology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. vii-x)
    Tom Harkin

    The cold War passed into history in 1989 with the demise of the Soviet Union. The world is still a treacherous place, but there is no longer a single hostile nation representing the ultimate threat to our country.

    Instead, the U.S. military and intelligence institutions now focus on a host of foreign nations and emerging threats. Rogue states and terrorists are capable of inflicting great damage. Caches of old weapons can fall into the wrong hands. Global threats such as environmental disasters and large-scale refugee problems dominate the news.

    The United States has the option of continuing on the path...

  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-7)
    Craig Eisendrath

    The United States intelligence system is badly in need of reform. Its budget—$29 billion in 1998—and its mode of operation still reflect the life-or-death view of international relations of the Cold War. Between 1949 and the fall of the Berlin Wall, no cost was deemed too high and no deed too brutal when survival seemed at stake. In no area was this truer than in the areas of U.S. intelligence responsible for espionage and covert action. Paramilitary operations, election rigging, disinformation, massive electronic eavesdropping, and common cause with a host of the world’s most undesirable characters all seemed...

  5. 1 After the Cold War: The Need for Intelligence
    (pp. 8-22)
    Roger Hilsman

    The paramount role of intelligence is to supply the President and Congress with information about possible strategic threats to the United States.¹ During the Cold War, this information was supplied by U.S. embassies and consulates, by the foreign correspondents of the American news media, by the newspapers and broadcasts of other countries, and by espionage. The United States attempted to influence the actions of other countries by the representations of its Ambassadors and consular officers, by the public pronouncements of the President and other American officials, by acts and resolutions of Congress, and by covert political actions—defined as efforts...

  6. 2 Espionage and Covert Action
    (pp. 23-44)
    Melvin A. Goodman

    Covert action, in the U.S. intelligence lexicon, refers to a secret operation to influence governments, events, organizations, or persons in support of a foreign policy in a manner that is not attributable to the United States. These actions may include political, economic, propagandistic, or paramilitary activities. The term “covert action” is a peculiarly American invention; it does not appear in the lexicons of other intelligence services. Nor does the term appear in the National Security Act of 1947, which created the Central Intelligence Agency, the Department of Defense, and the National Security Council.

    All postwar Presidents have used the CIA...

  7. 3 Too Many Spies, Too Little Intelligence
    (pp. 45-60)
    Robert E. White

    What the Central Intelligence Agency has bequeathed to our relations with Central America and the Caribbean is a string of embarrassing failures against inconsequential targets. From the overthrow of the government of Guatemala to the Iran-Contra fiasco of the 1980s, the CIA not only violated solemn treaties but allied us with the most violent, reactionary elements of Latin American society. In carrying out these operations, the CIA subverted American values at home as well as abroad.

    During the Cold War, the United States demanded the subordination of Central America’s political and social priorities to our supposed national-security requirements. With a...

  8. 4 CIA-Foreign Service Relations
    (pp. 61-75)
    Robert V. Keeley

    It is said that spying is the second-oldest profession. In most cultures its moral standing is equal to that of the oldest profession: prostitution. Diplomacy might rate as the third-oldest profession. The defining difference between espionage and diplomacy is that the former is a tactic used in political rivalry or actual military warfare, while the latter is a tactic used in conflict resolution or actual peacemaking.

    Both espionage and diplomacy have always engaged in gathering information—what today is labeled “intelligence”—spies obtaining it clandestinely and diplomats acquiring it openly. The immense growth of the American spying apparatus since World...

  9. 5 Covert Operations: The Blowback Problem
    (pp. 76-91)
    Jack A. Blum

    When the subject of the “blowback” of covert operations arises—that is, the damage that such operations do to this country—most people think of the obvious examples, such as the World Trade Center bombing by Afghan war veterans or the Watergate burglary by Bay of Pigs veterans. Some might focus on American assistance to former Nazis and war criminals, enabling them to influence domestic and international politics. But the most serious blowback of America’s covert activity has been its contribution to the steady erosion of important elements of constitutional democracy.

    The United States Constitution is at the heart of...

  10. 6 The End of Secrecy: U.S. National Security and the New Openness Movement
    (pp. 92-117)
    Kate Doyle

    Secrets and lies have always been endemic to the functions of state. And in a democracy, public tolerance of official secrecy tends to shift, obligingly, with the tides: In times of national emergency, such as war or civil unrest, the body politic is often willing to forgo open governance in exchange for safety; in peace, the citizenry becomes assertive once again, reclaiming its right to full and informed participation.

    During the long, dark winter of America’s Cold War, this traditional compact between the governors and the governed fell apart. A system of secrecy first devised in the crucible of the...

  11. 7 Mission Myopia: Narcotics as Fallout From the CIA’s Covert Wars
    (pp. 118-148)
    Alfred W. McCoy

    In august 1996, theSan Jose Mercury Newsreported that CIA-supported Contra forces in Nicaragua had been involved in the cocaine traffic, sparking a major controversy and starting the first serious debate over the CIA’s Cold War alliances with drug lords. In sum, the newspaper stated that during the 1980s a syndicate of Nicaraguan exiles had “sold thousands of pounds of cut-rate cocaine to Los Angeles street gangs and then used the lucre to buy arms for the Contras, the so-called freedom fighters.”¹ In an editorial accompanying its expose, the paper charged that “it’s impossible to believe that the Central...

  12. 8 TECHINT: The NSA, the NRO, and NIMA
    (pp. 149-171)
    Robert Dreyfuss

    Dwarfing the Central Intelligence Agency in the U.S. intelligence community is a constellation of agencies devoted to technical intelligence, or TECHINT. Centered in the National Security Agency (NSA), the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), and the National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA), and working closely with the military intelligence services, these agencies operate a vast network of surveillance satellites, spy planes, and electronic listening posts on land and under the sea worth well over $100 billion. ¹ Together, the three agencies employ more than 30,000 people, sustain an impressive array of corporate partners who serve as contractors, and share an annual...

  13. 9 Improving the Output of Intelligence: Priorities, Managerial Changes, and Funding
    (pp. 172-189)
    Richard A. Stubbing

    The prior chapters have identified a wide variety of problems hampering the performance of the intelligence community. This chapter addresses current budget allocations, priorities, organizational and managerial procedures, intelligence performance, and possible corrective actions. Finally, it proposes a new mix of inputs—priorities, managerial changes, and funding—to improve U.S. intelligence and better serve the President, top decision-makers, and the nation.

    First, a mini-test for the reader:

    1. What U.S. national-security support function spent $27 billion to $28 billion in 1996, more than the entire defense budget of all but six nations?

    2. What national-security support function has a budget ten times...

  14. 10 Who’s Watching the Store? Executive-Branch and Congressional Surveillance
    (pp. 190-211)
    Pat M. Holt

    The basic dilemma with which this chapter is concerned is how an open, democratic society such as the United States can establish public control of activities that are necessarily secret.

    The intent of the National Security Act of 1947 was that this control would be exercised by the President. (The act gives the responsibility to the National Security Council, and names the members as the President, the Vice President, and the Secretaries of State and Defense. In practical terms this means the President; he is the only one on the NSC who counts.)

    Experience showed that this was inadequate. Some...

  15. Conclusions
    (pp. 212-222)
    Craig Eisendrath

    The central question raised in this book is this: In the post-Cold War world, what kind of intelligence system is essential for our security and appropriate to our democratic society? The book has been motivated by a desire to achieve the best possible intelligence system, one that serves the national interest and does the least possible harm here and abroad.

    As these pages make clear, the system we currently have does neither. It fails to provide the kind of information U.S. policymakers need to promote the national security, and it does unnecessary damage to people both in this country and...

  16. Selected Bibliography
    (pp. 223-226)
  17. About the Center for International Policy
    (pp. 227-230)
  18. About the Contributors
    (pp. 231-232)
  19. Index
    (pp. 233-241)
  20. Back Matter
    (pp. 242-242)