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Intelligence: From Secrets to Policy 2nd Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1568027593
ISBN-10: 1568027591
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Editorial Reviews

Review

Mark Lowenthal's Intelligence: From Secrets to Policy, now in its fourth edition, is the go-to book for the most comprehensive overview on the U.S. intelligence community. Intelligence processes, policy, and organization are clearly and concisely described, providing those who study intelligence with a complete picture of the IC and its relationship with the executive and legislative branches to date in the evolving, dynamic and highly politicized post-9/11 world of intelligence. I highly recommend this book to academics and practitioners alike! It is a great resource -- Michael Bennett Mark Lowenthal's Intelligence: From Secrets to Policy, now in its fourth edition, is the go-to book for the most comprehensive overview on the U.S. intelligence community. Intelligence processes, policy, and organization are clearly and concisely described, providing those who study intelligence with a complete picture of the IC and its relationship with the executive and legislative branches to date in the evolving, dynamic and highly politicized post-9/11 world of intelligence. I highly recommend this book to academics and practitioners alike! It is a great resource -- Michael Bennett Since 9/11, much attention within the United States and abroad has been focused on the problems within the intelligence community. Lowenthal's book offers a superior framework for understanding the structure of the intelligence community and the challenges it faces. The fourth edition will bring new insights into some of the most current controversies involving the intelligence community and U.S. policymakers--such as the Valerie Plame case and the 'Curveball' incident -- Catherine Lotrionte Since 9/11, much attention within the United States and abroad has been focused on the problems within the intelligence community. Lowenthal's book offers a superior framework for understanding the structure of the intelligence community and the challenges it faces. The fourth edition will bring new insights into some of the most current controversies involving the intelligence community and U.S. policymakers--such as the Valerie Plame case and the 'Curveball' incident -- Catherine Lotrionte Lowenthal's Intelligence: From Secrets to Policy, now in its fourth edition, remains the best introduction to the role of the United States intelligence community in the national security policy making process. Popular with academics and practitioners alike, it is the standard text for many university level intelligence and national security courses. Clear, concise, and thoroughly updated to reflect recent changes in the intelligence community, this book demystifies the intelligence process and places it in a contemporary perspective that the general reader also will find informative -- Kenneth R. Dombroski Lowenthal's Intelligence: From Secrets to Policy, now in its fourth edition, remains the best introduction to the role of the United States intelligence community in the national security policy making process. Popular with academics and practitioners alike, it is the standard text for many university level intelligence and national security courses. Clear, concise, and thoroughly updated to reflect recent changes in the intelligence community, this book demystifies the intelligence process and places it in a contemporary perspective that the general reader also will find informative -- Kenneth R. Dombroski Lowenthal's Intelligence: From Secrets to Policy remains the mainstay in my undergraduate political science course on intelligence and international security. It strikes an impressive balance between breadth and depth, attending to the important conceptual and political themes, while providing cogent accounts of the unique analytical, organizational, and strategic problems of intelligence policy, all of which are supported by illuminating figures and illustrations and vivid historical examples. The suggestions for further readings at the end of the chapters are gold-mine for students looking to go deeper into particular questions or to bolster their research papers, and a useful reference point for instructors as well -- Timothy Crawford Lowenthal's Intelligence: From Secrets to Policy remains the mainstay in my undergraduate political science course on intelligence and international security. It strikes an impressive balance between breadth and depth, attending to the important conceptual and political themes, while providing cogent accounts of the unique analytical, organizational, and strategic problems of intelligence policy, all of which are supported by illuminating figures and illustrations and vivid historical examples. The suggestions for further readings at the end of the chapters are gold-mine for students looking to go deeper into particular questions or to bolster their research papers, and a useful reference point for instructors as well -- Timothy Crawford --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Mark M. Lowenthal has twenty-seven years of experience as an intelligence official in the executive and legislative branches of government and in the private sector. He returned to government service in 2002, concurrently performing the duties of the assistant director on central intelligence for analysis and production, and serving as vice chairman of the National Intelligence Council for Evaluation. Dr. Lowenthal is also an adjunct professor at Columbia University.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 274 pages
  • Publisher: CQ Press; 2nd edition (July 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1568027591
  • ISBN-13: 978-1568027593
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.4 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,279,203 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was an Air Force military intelligence officer in the late 1990s. I've been working in computer security since then. I read Intelligence, 4th Ed (I4E) to determine if I could recommend this book to those who doubt or don't understand the US intelligence community (IC). I am very pleased to say that I4E is an excellent book for those with little to no intelligence experience. I also found I4E to be a great way to catch up on changes in the IC, particularly since Congress passed the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 (IRTPA).

Mark Lowenthal struck me as an author who really understands the IC. When I read his descriptions of MASINT not being appreciated (p 96), the institutional bias against open source intelligence (p 105), and related cultural issues, I thought he offered a view of the IC not found in other sources. His explanations of friction between agencies, between various Congressional oversight committees, and between branches of government were very enlightening. The interests and bias of each party were interesting; for example, Congress (like Chief Information or Technology Officers) likes to buy new tech (satellites, etc.) instead of investing in analysts! I appreciated his description of the importance of Congressional authorizers vs appropriators, and how those duties affect the IC budget.

I4E really frames IC issues in a way that makes sense to the reader. For example, p 2 says "Intelligence agencies exist for at least four major reasons: to avoid strategic surprise; to provide long-term expertise; to support the policy process; and to maintain the secrecy of information, needs, and methods." He explains that while Pearl Harbor was a strategic surprise, 9/11 was a tactical surprise.
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Format: Paperback
Mark Lowenthal, who today is the Associate Deputy Director of Central Intelligence for Analysis and Production (ADCI/A&P), was briefly (for a year) the President of OSS USA (I created OSS Inc., the global version). So much for disclosure and "conflicts of interest". The previous review, after a year of being irritatingly present, needs to be corrected. Dr. Lowenthal was for many years the Senior Executive Service reviewer of intelligence affairs for the Congressional Research Service, then he went on to be Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence & Research (Analysis), and then he became the Staff Director for the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, where he supervised one of the two really serious really excellent studies on all that is wrong with intelligence and what needs to be fixed. OSS was lucky to have him contribute to its development for a year before he moved on to another corporation and then to the #5 position in the US Intelligence Community. He needs no help from me in either articulating his ideas or doing good work.
What the previous reviewer fails to understand is that Dr. Lowenthal's book represents the *only* available "primer" on intelligence that can be understood by Presidents, Congressmen, the media, and the public. While my own book (The New Craft of Intelligence) strives to discuss the over-all threats around the world in terms meaningful to the local neighborhoods of America, Dr. Lowenthal's book focuses on the U.S. Intelligence Community itself--the good, the bad, and the ugly. He is strongest on analysis and the politics of intelligence, somewhat weaker on collection and counterintelligence covert action. There is no other book that meets the need for this particular primer, and so I recommend it with enthusiasm. It is on the OSS.NET list of the top 15 books on intelligence reform every written.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a classic, although the day the new edition is released it is out of date... things change so fast! This book is like a text book on intelligence, it gives a pretty good overview of what intelligence is, how it is obtained and how it is used. This is just the tip of the iceberg.
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Format: Paperback
Mark Lowenthal, a long-time veteran of the Intelligence Community, is the author of "Intelligence: From Secrets to Policy," a superb introduction into the American Intelligence Community and its transition from the long Cold War against the Soviets to the current battles against rogues states and transnational terrorists.

Lowenthal writes at the survey level for an audience with a general understanding of American history and governmental processes but limited knowledge of how intelligence fits into either. In sequencial steps, Lowenthal explains what intelligence is supposed to be, how U.S. intelligence developed, and how the Intelligence Community operates. He reviews the intelligence process, the major collection disciplines, and the moving parts of subcomponents such as analysis, counterintelligence, and covert action. The last chapters explore the difficult issues of interaction with policy-makers, oversight, and transformation.

Lowenthal's narrative is remarkable on at least two counts. He appreciates just how challenging it is to produce timely, accurate, and useful intelligence, and he is exceptionally even-handed in describing all the things that can go right or wrong in the process. While no one topic is covered in significant depth, his coverage of the whole is very solid and perfectly suited to entry-level classes on intelligence and its interaction with policy. A nice selection of anecdotes and examples help provide depth to what might otherwise turn into dry narrative.

"Intelligence: From Secrets To Policy" is very highly recommended as an introduction to the intelligence business for use at the collegiate level and for the general reader.
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