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Enemies of Intelligence: Knowledge and Power in American National Security Paperback – March 2, 2009

ISBN-13: 978-0231138895 ISBN-10: 023113889X Edition: 2.11.2009

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press; 2.11.2009 edition (March 2, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 023113889X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0231138895
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 5.7 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #390,712 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

[An] insightful book.

(Gregory F. Treverton The American Interest 1900-01-00)

Betts' book provides a much-needed antidote.

(Paul R. Pillar Foreign Affairs 1900-01-00)

Review

An original, accessible, and theoretically important work.

(James Wirtz, Naval Postgraduate School)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Retired Reader on September 17, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book seeks to balance the deluge of criticism that has been directed towards the U.S. Intelligence System (especially CIA) with a more sympathetic view of how the U.S. intelligence process works. Its author, Richard K. Betts is a recognized scholar specializing in national security issues who has held a variety of positions on the fringes of the U.S. Intelligence Community. This scarcely makes Betts an expert on intelligence processes, although he seems to accurately reflect the views of the senior executives who occupy the highest levels of that Community. For this reason this is a valuable book.

Betts identifies three categories of intelligence which he characterizes as: attack warning; operational evaluation; and defense planning. These are essentially military intelligence subjects and apparently he never considered the value to policy makers of economic, political, or technical intelligence. He also conflates warning with prediction even after reading Cynthia Grabo's book on Warning Intelligence. As he should know but does not, it is virtually impossible to predict the occurrence of discrete events, but entirely possible to provide warnings and risk assessments of potential threats. He also clearly has no real understanding of subject matter expertise (also known as target knowledge) as key to sound analysis.

Betts attempts to defend a number of CIA's alleged failures. For example, there is his defense of the CIA WMD NIE that was published prior to Operation Iraqi Freedom. According to Betts, CIA analyst determined that ambiguous aluminum tubes were to be used as centrifuges and other principal intelligence agencies agreed with this conclusion.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I ordered this book as I will be using this for one of my classes in the Intelligence Field Studies. At this time, I have not read it but am looking forward to my next class in which I will be reading it. The book arrived in very good condition and in good order.
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14 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Robert David STEELE Vivas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on September 19, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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Retired Reader is as usual being kind. I agree that the book is useful as a sense of what the insider's want us to think, but it is at best a superficial summary (easily read) that has so many errors (of perception) and omissions (of fact) as to hardly be worthy of the read.

I quickly realized the general shallowness, but out of respect for the author stopped reading and instead went and read every single footnote, every single index entry, and indeed confirmed that this is a mix of old work, draws only on "members of the club" work, and fills in the gaps with Op-Eds and newspaper stories written by people who generally have no clue. Then I read the whole book.

Anyone who cites Deborah Burger's pabulum about "revolution in intelligence affairs" is kissing the institution's ass (pun intended); and anyone who considers the Sims-Gerber book to be transformative (as opposed to useful if you want the status quo), is simply out of touch with reality, with the possibilities, and with the complex pathologies that plague both the intelligence community (see my five images) and our politicians, every one of them, but most especially Dick Cheney and Nancy Pelosi, impeachable for breach of trust. For additional background, see my IJCI commentary on "Intelligence Affairs: Evolution, Revolution, or Reactionary Collapse?"

This is in fact what annoyed me most about this book--it glosses over the high crimes and misdemeanors of the White House but also of the Cabinet, as well as the blatant errors and omissions of virtually every senior intelligence officer.
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2 of 10 people found the following review helpful By John Desmond on December 19, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The author raises some interesting points about how intelligence is produced and analyzed, but his political bias (Left) forces him to adjust facts to make events fit his theory. Possibly worthwhile for those in the business, but not of much interest to the general reader.
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