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Inside CIA's Private World

Inside CIA's Private World: Declassified Articles from the Agency`s Internal Journal, 1955-1992

Selected and edited by H. Bradford Westerfield
Copyright Date: 1995
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 512
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  • Book Info
    Inside CIA's Private World
    Book Description:

    For forty years the Central Intelligence Agency has published an in-house journal,Studies in Intelligence, for CIA eyes only. Now the agency has declassified much of this material. This engrossing book, which presents the most interesting articles from the journal, provides revealing insights into CIA strategies and into events in which the organization was involved.The articles were selected by H. Bradford Westerfield, an independent authority who teaches courses on intelligence operations but has never been affiliated with the CIA. Westerfield's comprehensive introduction sketches the history and basic structure of the CIA, sets the articles in context, and explains his process of selection. The articles span a wide range of intelligence activities, including intelligence data gathering inside the United States; analysis of data; interaction between analysts and policymakers; the development of economic intelligence targeted at friendly countries as well as at foes; use of double agents (the personal memoir of a CIA officer who pretended to the Russians to be their agent); evaluation of defectors (the Nosenko case); and coercive interrogation techniques and how to resist them.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-18809-7
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Introduction
    (pp. vii-xxii)

    Early in the Cold War, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency launched an internal journal calledStudies in Intelligence,to promote a sense of professional identity, enhance proficiency, and build knowledge of intelligence cumulatively from the shared insights of its practitioners. For nearly four decades these articles have been classified “Secret” and sequestered from the American public. Now, as part of its post-Cold War “openness” campaign, CIA is declassifying and releasing most of this material. In this time of reappraisal of American international relations after the fall of the Soviet Union, it is fitting that the public be able to inspect...

  4. I. Imagery Intelligence Collodion (Imint)

    • 1. DC Power and Cooling Towers
      (pp. 3-7)

      In October, 1962, the tensions of the Cuban missile crisis were increasing with each U-2 photograph and with each fresh bit of intelligence from Cuba. At the same time, the last big series of the 65 Soviet nuclear weapons tests which had started on 1 August 1962 was being conducted on and over the mountains of Semipalatinsk and the ice of Novaya Zemlya. Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev’s moves were under intense scrutiny. We knew the number of ICBMs available to him. Compared to U.S. capabilities, his were wanting. Consequently the CIA position was that he was bluffing.

      There was, however, little...

    • 2. The Unidentifieds
      (pp. 8-26)

      No matter how well-trained and experienced a photographic interpreter may be, there are frequent occasions when he simply cannot identify some object, installation, or activity, and when initial research efforts by collateral support personnel fail to provide an answer. In such cases the target is labeled as an “Unidentified.” The problem of identifying the “unidentifieds” is the subject of this article.

      Photographic interpretation has become highly complicated since World War II. Only a modest number of military or industrial targets had to be considered in the previous era, and interpretation was based on an equally limited number of “indicators” and...

  5. II. Overt Human Intelligence Collection (Overt Humint)

    • 3. The Interpreter as an Agent
      (pp. 29-34)

      The rather obvious time-honored practice of using interpreters assigned to international exchange delegations as intelligence agents (or, conversely, of getting intelligence personnel assigned as interpreters) has both advantages and disadvantages. If the interpreter makes the most of his intelligence mission, however, and observes some common-sense rules of behavior, there can be a net advantage both in the direct yield of information from such an assignment and in the improvement of an asset in the person of the interpreter. The advantage in immediate information is likely to be limited; the improvement of personal assets can be considerable.

      In discussing these advantages...

    • 4. Obstacle Course for Attachés
      (pp. 35-40)

      It may be useful, now that it seems possible the Soviet Union may one of these days agree to admit nuclear inspection teams to its territory, to review the kinds of obstacles it regularly strews in the path of other legitimate trained foreign observers, the military attachés. As Soviet officials have already given voice to their suspicion that any nuclear inspectors will be bent on spying, so they have taken the attitude, in their obsession with secrecy, that the attachés are spies when they exhibit an interest in matters which in most other countries lie open in the public domain....

    • 5. Soviet Reality Sans Potemkin
      (pp. 41-48)

      Statements about the size and growth of the Soviet economy in relation to that of the United States have long occupied an important place in intelligence estimates of the USSR’s capabilities. So also have statements about the comparative levels of living in the two countries and how they are changing over time. CIA’S current estimates are that the Soviet gross national product is somewhat less than half of U.S. GNP and that per capita consumption is about one-third.

      In presenting these deceptively neat figures the economic analyst goes on to say that they undoubtedly overstate the relative position of the...

  6. III. Clandestine Human Intelligence Collection (Clandestine Humint)

    • 6. Techniques of Domestic Intelligence Collection
      (pp. 51-62)

      The process of getting intelligence information out of people is normally associated with overseas operations, but it was demonstrated during World War II that this clandestine activity can usefully be supplemented by collection in the analyst’s own back yard. Potential sources of intelligence within the United States are myriad. U.S. concerns have been active in various parts of the world for many decades and their records often contain information which a clandestine agent would have little hope of obtaining, especially in war-time. Representatives of industrial plants travel continually and compile expert reports and evaluations on foreign economic and financial affairs....

    • 7. The Elicitation Interview
      (pp. 63-69)

      Not so long ago, during a tour of duty in West Germany, the author spent a good deal of time engaged in elicitation in the scientific sphere. What follows is intended to illustrate some of the features of this form of the art, the object of which, of course, is to obtain information without giving the subject the feeling that he is being interrogated. Elicitation, that is to say, like a lot of other tradecraft techniques, has its Scylla and Charybdis. On one hand, the cautious seeker risks concealing his purpose in such general questions or remarks that he evokes...

    • 8. Psychology of Treason
      (pp. 70-82)

      The Agency definition of a defector is an individual who has committed treason, a person who first accepted identification with a regime and then betrayed his allegiance to cooperate with a hostile foreign intelligence service. Thus the word is used here differently than in the media. The Agency recruits every year sources and access agents who are not really committing treason, individuals cooperating against a third nation, for example. The emphasis here is on the hard core defector, the individual who has committed an act of treason.

      Because I am a psychiatrist, this paper reflects a psychiatric bias. A sociologist,...

    • 9. The Practice of a Prophet
      (pp. 83-92)

      The public examination last year of the Lonsdale-Kroger-Houghton-Gee case of Soviet espionage in England¹ and its parallels with the Abel-Hayhanen case in the United States² bring to mind an earlier rather full public exposure of postwar Soviet espionage that was given a great deal of attention in the target country but is little remembered here—that of Ernst Hilding Andersson, whose skill, ingenuity, and devoted diligence gave the USSR a series of prize reports on Swedish naval defenses from 1949 to 1951.³ This was not a KGB deep-cover operation like the other two, but run from official cover by one...

    • 10. Catch-as-Catch-Can Operations
      (pp. 93-96)

      Once upon a time there was an American who had grown gray and venerable in the service of an international ideology. He served as theorist and right-hand advisor to the leader of that Movement in Highland, where the Movement was in opposition. Coincidentally, he had also served for some years as a contract agent of the Central Intelligence Agency.

      I was a very inexperienced case officer but an old hand at moving about in Europe when I came to Highland to handle VUZYX,¹ as we shall call him, more than 20 years ago. He was based in the Highland capital,...

  7. IV. Humint and Its Consumers

    • 11. The Collector’s Role in Evaluation
      (pp. 99-107)

      Ever since the establishment of a defined and ordered central intelligence program, the community has performed one of its fundamental functions on the basis of a fiction. This fiction has by now come to be accepted as fact in some circles, and there is a dangerous chance that ultimately it could be universally accepted. I refer to the notion that the collector of information is not qualified or authorized, much less obligated, to participate in the evaluation of the reports he transmits. If this idea in its full implication is ever accepted by the collector, it will do great harm...

    • 12. The Reports Officer: Issues of Quality
      (pp. 108-117)
      W. J. McKEE

      Within CIA’S Directorate of Operations, the reports officers constitute the substantive corps which follows intelligence developments in Headquarters and in the field and provides collection guidance, targeting advice, and specific requirements for activities of the Directorate designed to collect information. Reports officers evaluate and disseminate information the Directorate acquires, provide substantive support to Directorate components, and serve as principal intermediaries between collectors and consumers. Their central purpose is to maintain standards of value and objectivity in the Directorate's information product.

      Much about the activity of reports officers is controversial: their judgments, how important these judgments are, who should perform their...

    • 13. Clandestinity and Current Intelligence
      (pp. 118-184)

      This paper has one main theme, that the production of current intelligence and the conduct of espionage are incompatible.

      The argument will be that our present plight was caused by our inability, or at least our failure, to maintain the clandestinity of our clandestine operations, and that this failure resulted in large part from the corruption of our espionage disciplines by those of journalism. I do not mean that commercial journalists themselves have corrupted the process, or that the printings of commercial and academic journals have damaged the discipline of espionage. I mean rather that the techniques employed by journalists...

    • 14. The Not-So-Secret War, or How State-CIA Squabbling Hurts U.S. Intelligence
      (pp. 185-193)

      The 1978 upheaval in Iran, unforeseen and unpredicted, sparked a succession of postmortems on the performance of U.S. intelligence. Had it failed? If so, why? The answers—developed by scholars, journalists, legislators, and diplomats—hit the policymakers hard and for the most part let intelligence off rather lightly.

      As it should be? Maybe so. Iran was a special case. But the policymakers who failed to heed what intelligence told them should not shoulder all the blame. Some critics have made this clear, citing the Iran mission’s neglect of contacts with the religious and other elements opposed to the Shah. And...

    • 15. Assessing DDO Human Source Reporting
      (pp. 194-204)

      Sherman Kent’s call for close and continuing contact between intelligence producers and consumers came in the CIA’S formative years. It is appropriate to sound it again as centralized management of the intelligence community takes on new form and importance and new life. In recent years, the Directorate of Operations (DO) has been making a particularly conscious effort to get closer to the people who use its products as it seeks to produce better intelligence, on a wider variety of subjects, with fewer resources. The DO has gotten direct payoff from this development; hundreds of consumers and users of DO reporting...

  8. V. The Analysis Function

    • 16. What Basic Intelligence Seeks to Do
      (pp. 207-217)

      This paper seeks to open a discussion of basic intelligence doctrine: that is, of the objectives this type of intelligence should aim at and of the standards by which effective performance in it should be judged. This land of discussion—which, I believe, was one of the thingsStudies in Intelligencewas originally founded for—is not likely to end in full agreement but, as experience with other types of intelligence has shown, does offer the prospect of reducing the area of disagreement and making the product more sophisticated and more useful to the consumer.

      The files ofStudies in...

    • 17. Do You Really Need More Information?
      (pp. 218-231)

      The difficulties associated with intelligence analysis are often attributed to the inadequacy of available information. Thus the intelligence community has invested heavily in improved collection systems while analysts lament the comparatively small sums devoted to enhancing analytical resources, improving analytical methods, or gaining better understanding of the cognitive processes involved in making analytical judgments.

      This article challenges the often implicit assumption that lack of information is the principal obstacle to accurate intelligence estimates. It describes psychological experiments that examine the relationship between amount of information, accuracy of estimates based on this information, and analysts’ confidence in their estimates. In order...

    • 18. Basic Psychology for Intelligence Analysts
      (pp. 232-237)

      When Allen Dulles chose to have the words “For ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free” carved in white marble at the entrance to the Headquarters building he was giving expression to an article of faith in the intelligence profession. We must believe that knowledge of the truth sustains and supports our government or we couldn’t justify what we are doing.

      Working intelligence officers know, however, that it isn’t always as easy as it sounds. What is the truth? How much evidence do you have to have? how selected? how organized? how presented? how evaluated...

    • 19. The Hazards of Single-Outcome Forecasting
      (pp. 238-254)

      “In this report we have attempted to determine the causes, in instances when the intelligence community did not adequately anticipate significant events on the world scene, and to identify measures which might improve performance in the future.” So began a report from the Senior Review Panel to the Director of Central Intelligence and Deputy Director of Central Intelligence. The panel was responding to a request for a study “on the quality of intelligence judgments preceding significant historical failures over the last twenty years or so.”

      In the report, dated 16 December 1983, the Senior Review Panel dealt with cases the...

    • 20. Bayes’ Theorem for Intelligence Analysis
      (pp. 255-263)

      The intelligence interest in probability theory stems from the probabilistic character of customary intelligence judgment. Intelligence analysis must usually be undertaken on the basis of incomplete evidence. Intelligence conclusions as therefore characteristically hedged by such words and phrases as “very likely,” “possibly,” “may,” “better than even chance,” and other qualifiers.

      This manner of allowing for more than one possibility leaves intelligence open to the charge of acting the oracle whose prophecies seek to cover all contingencies. The apt reply to this charge is that intelligence would do poor service by overstating its knowledge. The very best that intelligence can do...

    • 21. The Sino-Soviet Border Dispute: A Comparison of the Conventional and Bayesian Methods for Intelligence Warning
      (pp. 264-273)

      Problems of “indications analysis” or “intelligence warning” are essentially questions of how to assign probabilities to hypotheses of interest. For example, a problem of indications analysis occurred in August 1969 when two hypotheses arose; namely, the conjecture (H₁) that within the next month the USSR would attempt to destroy China’s nascent nuclear capabilities, and the alternative hypothesis (H₂) that such an attack would not occur.

      A method of indications analysis is a rule for eliciting probability judgments from intelligence analysts, and alternative methods for this purpose have been studied within the Agency since 1967.¹ The usual and most direct method...

    • 22. Factions and Policon: New Ways to Analyze Politics
      (pp. 274-292)

      Two challenges facing every political analyst are the complexity of political phenomena and the sea of information flooding our inboxes. During the late 1970s and early 1980s a small group of academics began to make some headway against these problems. Two tools—social choice theories of politics and computers—have made this progress possible.

      The theory of social choice focuses on the outcomes of processes by which groups make decisions. Applications of the theory rely on information about the relative strength of political actors, outcomes they want, or candidates they are backing. This is information [of] which most country specialists...

    • 23. Scientific and Technical Intelligence Analysis
      (pp. 293-304)

      In 1939, the British decided to assign a scientist to the Intelligence Branch of the Air Staff. Inasmuch as no scientist had previously worked for an intelligence service, this was a new and revolutionary idea. A tall, solemn physicist named R. V. Jones, then working at the Royal Aircraft Establishment, Famborough, was picked for the job. Jones’s first job was to study “new German weapons” which were believed to be under development. The first of these was a blind bombing system which the Germans called Knickebein. Knickebein, as Jones soon determined, used a pair of radio beams which were about...

    • 24. Economic Intelligence in CIA
      (pp. 305-330)

      Economic intelligence in CIA has reached maturity; it has become accepted as a central function by all major components of the Agency. But, although CIA established a preeminent position in the US Government as a source of analysis and judgment on foreign economies and international economic issues a decade ago, questions as to the necessity and even legitimacy of aspects of economic intelligence have persisted. Why can’t State or Treasury or Commerce do it? Is it a legitimate requirement for CIA? Is it really intelligence?

      The Agency’s discomfort with aspects of economic intelligence reflects some fundamental characteristics of this discipline...

  9. VI. Analysis and Its Consumers

    • 25. Cognitive Biases: Problems in Hindsight Analysis
      (pp. 333-343)

      Psychologists observe that limitations in man’s mental machinery (memory, attention span, reasoning capability, etc.) affect his ability to process information to arrive at judgmental decisions. In order to cope with the complexity of our environment, these limitations force us to employ various simplifying strategies for perception, comprehension, inference, and decision. Many psychological experiments demonstrate that our mental processes often lead to erroneous judgments. When such mental errors are not random, but are consistently and predictably in the same direction, they are known ascognitive biases.

      This article discusses three cognitive biases affecting how we evaluate ourselves and how others evaluate...

    • 26. Dealing with Intelligence-Policy Disconnects
      (pp. 344-356)

      While serving as Deputy Director of Central Intelligence, Robert Gates wrote that “. . . intelligence collection and assessment are black arts for most presidents and their key advisers, neither adequately understood nor adequately exploited. For intelligence officers, presidential and senior level views of the intelligence they receive and how they use it (or not) are just as unfamiliar. . . .”¹

      There are many possible reasons why this kind of intelligence-policy breakdown occurs. Among the most important are “behavioral” explanations, particularly those that look at questions of personality and temperament. One of the problems that has to be faced...

    • 27. New Links Between Intelligence and Policy
      (pp. 357-365)

      No subject in intelligence has led to more debate and less agreement than the linkage between the intelligence and policy communities. Sherman Kent, Ernest R. May, Robert M. Gates¹ and others have explored the subject in books and articles. Colleges and universities teach courses on it. Yet some aspects of the linkage remain largely unexplored. What kind of intelligence is transmitted between the two communities? How is it transmitted? How do policy officers use it?

      In the first decade after passage of the National Security Act of 1947, which laid most of the foundations for an intelligence community, only the...

    • 28. UNCTAD V: Intelligence Support at a Major International Economic Conference
      (pp. 366-376)

      The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development held its fifth session—UNCTAD V—in May–June 1979. Meeting in Manila, representatives of some 150 countries considered proposals to revamp world economic relations in areas of trade, manufacturing, commodities, money and finance, technology, and shipping. Faced by the numerically superior coalition of less developed countries (LDCs) known as the Group of 77, the United States and other industrialized nations had to walk a narrow line between giving in on costly and often ill-conceived LDC proposals on the one hand, or being accused of obstructing the initiatives needed to meet changing...

  10. VII. Counterespionage

    • 29. Nosenko: Five Paths to Judgment
      (pp. 379-414)

      Yuriy Nosenko, a middle-level KGB officer, volunteered his services to the Central Intelligence Agency in Geneva in 1962 and defected to the United States in 1964. His defection initiated a bitter and divisive controversy over his bona fides that lasted at least 10 years, seriously impaired CIA operations against the Soviet Union, and today still simmers beneath the surface of debates about Soviet deception.

      This study tells much of this important and fascinating case, but that is not its only purpose. It also explores some of the fundamental yet often unrecognized assumptions that channel our thinking as we analyze the...

    • 30. Defense Against Communist Interrogation Organizations
      (pp. 415-436)

      The suggestions offered herein for practical defense against Communist interrogation organizations are designed to be usedvery selectivelyand with caution in the briefing of anti-Communist secret agents running the danger of Communist imprisonment.¹ Because some of the tactics outlined could be of use to other categories of persons, such as prisoners of war, political prisoners, and noncombatants, this study is offered with the reservation that it is not to be construed either as a modification of official U.S. Government doctrine or an exhaustive treatment of the Communist system of prisoner management and exploitation.

      Most of the available guidance on...

    • 31. Observations on the Double Agent
      (pp. 437-449)

      The double agent operation is one of the most demanding and complex counterintelligence activities in which an intelligence service can engage. Directing even one double agent is a time-consuming and tricky undertaking that should be attempted only by a service having both competence and sophistication. Competence may suffice for a service that can place legal controls upon its doubles, but services functioning abroad—and particularly those operating in areas where the police powers are in neutral or hostile hands—need professional subtlety as well.

      Other requisites are that the case officer directing a double agent have a thorough knowledge of...

    • 32. The Case of Major X
      (pp. 450-478)

      “Now it can be told: the biggest spy story since the Alger Hiss Case. It concerns the Russian spies who were . . . TRAPPED AT THE WASHINGTON MONUMENT.”

      That is how Jack Anderson and Fred Blumenthal, then known as the principal associates of the late Drew Pearson, captioned a feature story published inParade Magazineon 6 January 1957. Theirs was probably the most interesting of the various stories on the same topic that had begun to appear in the press some three years earlier. In January 1953, two American residents of Vienna, Austria, Kurt Ponger and Otto Verber,...

  11. APPENDIX A: The Next Most Valuable Articles
    (pp. 479-480)
  12. APPENDIX B: Abbreviations, Acronyms, and Definitions
    (pp. 481-482)
  13. Acknowledgments
    (pp. 483-484)
  14. Index
    (pp. 485-489)