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The CIA and Congress: The Untold Story from Truman to Kennedy 0th Edition

5.0 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0700614004
ISBN-10: 0700614001
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This trenchant study of congressional oversight during the CIA's formative decades sharply revises the popular image of the CIA as a rogue agency prone to running amok. Political scientist Barrett (Uncertain Warriors: Lyndon Johnson and His Vietnam Advisers) spelunks through obscure archives for insights into the agency's relations with the congressional subcommittees charged with its oversight. He finds that, while only a few key legislative leaders had detailed knowledge of CIA activities, Congress was still a firm, if not always wise, taskmaster. The CIA was repeatedly criticized for intelligence failures, harassed by budget cutters and McCarthyite witch hunts, and pressured by legislators to slant intelligence on such issues as the alleged "missile gap." And a fervently anticommunist Congress, Barrett contends, often pushed harder for covert paramilitary operations than the CIA itself; such controversial adventures as the 1954 overthrow of the Guatemalan government and the later Bay of Pigs fiasco proceeded with the prior knowledge of congressional leaders and the vocal urging of other members of Congress for action. Barrett's scholarly but very readable account clarifies an important aspect of Cold War policymaking and Congress's role as an overseer of covert foreign policy. (Sept. 6)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From the Back Cover

"A truly groundbreaking, eye-opening descent into secret budgeting, espionage, and covert actions."--Louis Fisher, author of Military Tribunals and Presidential Power

"Barrett reveals a CIA that made its own rules, wrote its own budget, classified its own secrets, and persuaded the Congress to like it. A rich and fabulous story that sheds new light on just about every significant episode in the first decades of the Cold War and confirms what many have long suspected--secrecy is the great enemy of democracy, and vice versa."--Thomas Powers, author of Intelligence Wars: American Secret History from Hitler to Al-Qaeda

"A riveting story that helps to untangle one of the Cold War's most tangled webs."--Richard H. Immerman, author of The CIA in Guatemala

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 552 pages
  • Publisher: University Press of Kansas (September 6, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0700614001
  • ISBN-13: 978-0700614004
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.8 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,007,824 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
Barrett's /The CIA and Congress/ is a triumph of research. Writing any history of the CIA is problematic because the documentation will never be close to complete; some official and private papers have been destroyed or "misplaced," others remain classified 50 years or more after being written, and many important discussions and decisions were never committed to paper. Faced with such endemic incompleteness, Barrett, a political scientist at Villanova University, persevered, found widely dispersed research materials and displayed sound analytic sense and balance in their use. Having done so much fine detective work, Barrett can present not only a gripping review of leadership dynamics among the CIA, the White House and Congress but also a coherent view of the development and oversight of the CIA's budgets (a notoriously hard target) from 1947 to 1961. His research is made more impressive by his frankness in admitting on several occasions that he cannot tell the whole story because the documents are not available.

Barrett's analysis of the relationship between the long-established Congress and the infant CIA (founded only in 1947) turns not only on documents but also on his superb portraits and assessments of the key players: The thoughts, actions and characters of senators, congressmen, presidents and CIA officials are front and center in the book. The human pageant Barrett presents is not all that different from that which exists today.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is a necessary read if you are into the history and political analysis of the American government from the 1940s through the 60s. It's a fascinating read. Dr. Barrett has gone to incredible lengths of archival research to write a book that is a truly original voice on the period. As someone who came across the book looking for material on Joe McCarthy, I was amazed at how enjoyable the book was to read just in general. Dr. Barrett has found material to support stories that were merely rumors before. For example, letters from a military officer who was "propositioned" by Senator McCarthy and memos supporting the fact that meetings occurred between the CIA Director and a Congressional subcommittee prior to the Bay of Pigs invasion. This is truly a groundbreaking book that should be required reading for anyone interested in the CIA or Congress.
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Format: Hardcover
The 2006 D.B. Hardeman Prize for the best book on Congress published in

2005 has been awarded to "The CIA and Congress". Don Bacon, a member of

the award committee, says: "David Barrett has given us an engrossing

account of the highly secret, often contentious relationship between

Congress and its post-World War II creation, the Central Intelligence

Agency. Thoroughly researched, rich in fascinating detail, 'The CIA and

Congress' focuses on the spy agency's early years, when the Cold War was

at its peak. The author relies heavily on previously hidden official

records and his own insightful interviews to show that our lawmakers

worried more about the new agency's potential for mischief and kept it

on a shorter leash than has been previously known."
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By joseph on September 21, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Literally one of the coolest books out there. It provides such historic information and relevant to the topic stories. I learned so much more than I previously knew.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am browsing this important book. The topic is timely and needed. This store delivered my book quickly and at a good price. Thanks.
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