Espionage and Intelligence. Debra A. Miller, Book Editor

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1 Espionage and Intelligence Debra A. Miller, Book Editor

2 Intelligence... has always been used by the United States to support U.S. military operations, but much of what forms today s intelligence system was not created until after the December 7, 1941, Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Intelligence information needed by the president and policy makers to conduct foreign policy and protect the United States from its enemies has always been used by the United States to support U.S. military operations, but much of what forms today s intelligence system was not created until after the December 7, 1941, Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The surprise attack revealed major flaws in U.S. intelligence capabilities, brought the United States into World War II, and spurred the United States to develop a much larger and more coordinated intelligence community. Indeed, even during the war, the United States moved to improve its intelligence system. The army, navy, and marines each conducted intelligence operations, and the United States created the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) under the Joint Chiefs of Staff, a military advisory group, to analyze all national security information. All of these intelligence efforts were successful during the war, producing critical intelligence that helped America win the conflict. After the war, President Harry S. Truman closed down the OSS, but the Soviet Union s postwar decision to expand its influence in Europe caused him to rethink the need for intelligence. Numerous independent and congressional investigations recommended a variety of approaches to intelligence. One of the major issues considered was whether the military should retain control of intelligence or whether a civilian intelligence agency should be created. 16

3 The end result of these investigations was the passing of the National Security Act of 1947, a law that created the framework for today s national security and intelligence system. Under the act, a civilian Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), headed by a director of central intelligence, was established to handle all national intelligence gathering and to advise the president. In addition, a National Security Council (NSC) was created to coordinate national security policy; the army, the navy, and the newly created air force were unified under a new cabinet position, the secretary of defense; and the Joint Chiefs of Staff were charged solely with providing military advice to the president and the secretary of defense. This CIA-run intelligence system became one of the key features of the Cold War the decades-long period of tension and threats between the United States and the Soviet Union that ended only with the economic and political collapse of the latter in During the Cold War, all of the CIA s operations were designed to counteract Soviet activities that U.S. officials believed constituted a threat to the United States and world security. As a result, the CIA focused on sending spies to various locations to extract secrets about the Soviet military buildup and on protecting the U.S. military establishment from Soviet espionage efforts. This period also witnessed a large escalation in the use of satellites and other technological devices for detecting Soviet military intentions and activities. Many intelligence analysts and employees became experts on the Soviet Union, with little knowledge of other parts of the world. When the Cold War ended, however, this intelligence system suddenly seemed obsolete. The system s failure to predict or prevent the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, together with the lack of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) found in Iraq after the George W. Bush administration used the threat of WMDs as the underpinning for the Iraq war, led to calls for intelligence reform. These events caused many policy makers and intelligence experts to conclude that the 17

4 Espionage and Intelligence U.S. intelligence community was not properly configured to develop accurate information about terrorism, nuclear weapons proliferation, and other modern threats. This conclusion was bolstered by the findings of two independent commissions created by the government the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States (the 9/11 Commission ) and the Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction (the WMD Commission ). In 2004, Congress passed legislation that, together with some previous reforms, provided for a series of major changes in the organization of the U.S. intelligence system. Today s U.S. intelligence community is composed of a group of sixteen federal agencies and organizations under the control of the executive branch. The CIA continues to be a principal intelligence agency, together with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), two components of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and a growing number of intelligence entities within the Department of Defense (such as the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), the National Security Agency (NSA) and the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO)). Recent reforms, however, created the position of Director of National Intelligence (DNI) to oversee all intelligence activities throughout the government, taking this responsibility away from the director of the CIA. Reforms also added the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to the list of intelligence agencies, and established two new national centers the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) and the Weapons Intelligence, Nonproliferation, and Arms Control Center (WINPAC) to encourage collaboration among intelligence agencies on these specific national security concerns. As these reforms suggest, the work of the intelligence community now includes collecting information not only on the activities of foreign governments and their agents, but also on weapons proliferation around the globe, international narcotics activities, and potential terrorist threats. 18

5 Making this transition into the twenty-first century of intelligence gathering is the focus of many of the selections in Current Controversies: Espionage and Intelligence. The authors in this volume discuss a variety of issues, including the severity and nature of the intelligence failures relating to 9/11 and Iraq, the effectiveness of recent reforms, and suggestions for additional improvements. In addition, authors provide their perspectives on whether recent intelligence activities may be impinging on important civil and human rights. As all of these selections suggest, creating an intelligence system that fits America s needs in the post Cold War period is one of the nation s biggest challenges. 19

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