Crises and Power
U.S. Foreign Policy
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Quotes on Power

About the book Crisis and Leviathan

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Government covrt intelligence operations are both a cause and effect of crisis and the state’s acquisition of expansive powers. Covert operations, whether to gather information or to accomplish political objectives, tend to embroil the government in foreign intrigue and conflict, and in turn necessitate further operations to address the negative consequences often engendered by earlier intervention. As with foreign aid, intelligence programs create a government stake in situations and clients, necessitating greater intervention if things go bad. Metaphorically speaking, “good money” has to be thrown after “bad.” America’s creeping covert involvement in the Vietnamese civil war in the 1950s and 1960s is a case in point. Policymakers were reluctant to liquidate their “investment,” and were eventually drawn into full-military participation, with the resulting deaths of 58,000 Americans and 2 million Vietnamese.

Since the line between foreign and domestic affairs is more a construct than a fact, the line between foreign spying and domestic spying is anything but bright. The U.S. government has found it “necessary” to monitor its own citizens in order to defend its foreign activities from domestic dissent. The 1960s break-in at the office of the psychiatrist of Daniel Ellsberg, who disseminated the Pentagon Papers about U.S. involvement in Vietnam, is a paradigm case. Of course, to carry out domestic spying, the government must assume extraordinary powers that exceed constitutional limits and violate the spirit of the Founding Fathers. Thus, once again, government activity leads to perceived crisis, which leads to wider government activity, and so on.

Also, click here for Bibliography for Crisis and Leviathan.

CIA and International Drug Traffic:

Castillo, Celerino, III. Powderburns: Cocaine, Contras, and the Drug War. Oakville, Ontario: Mosaic, 1994. Former DEA agent stationed in Central America confirms Reagan administration duplicity in the “drug war.””

Kwitny, Jonathan. The Crimes of Patriots: A True Tale of Dope, Dirty Money and the CIA (New York: W. W. Norton, 1987). Nugan Hand Bank scandal.

Levine, Michael and Laura Kavanau-Levine. The Big White Lie: The CIA and the Cocaine/Crack Epidemic—An Undercover Odyssey. New York: Thunder’s Mouth Press, 1993.

McCoy, Alfred W. The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade. Brooklyn, NY: Lawrence Hill Books, 1991. Focus on Southeast Asia and Afghanistan.

Scott, Peter Dale, and Jonathan Marshall. Cocaine Politics: Drugs, Armies, and the CIA in Central America. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991.

Country Case Studies:

Cooley, John K. Unholy Wars: Afghanistan, America and International Terrorism. Sterling, VA: Pluto Press, 1999.

Hersh, Seymour M. “The Price of Power: Kissinger, Nixon and Chile,” Atlantic Monthly, December 1982, pp. 31-58.

Kornbluh, Peter. Nicaragua. The Price of Intervention: Reagan's Wars Against the Sandinistas. Washington, D.C.: Institute for Policy Studies, 1987.

—, ed. Bay of Pigs Declassified: The Secret CIA Report on the Invasion of Cuba. New York: New Press, 1998. Reprint of CIA Inspector General’s report, which charged the Agency with major planning mistakes prior to the 1961 invasion.

Marshall, Jonathan V., Peter Dale Scott, and Jane Hunter. The Iran-Contra Connection: Secret Teams and Covert Operations in the Reagan Era. Boston: South End Press, 1987. Focus on Central America and Iran. Deals with military, private and Israeli intelligence operations as well as CIA.

Rashid, Ahmed. “Osama bin Laden: How the U.S. Helped Midwife a Terrorist,” Center for Public Integrity, September 13, 2001.

Schlesinger, Stephen and Stephen Kinzer. Bitter Fruit: The Untold Story of the American Coup in Guatemala. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1999.

Snepp, Frank. Decent Interval: An Insider’s Account of Saigon’s Indecent End. New York: Random House, 1977. Former CIA intelligence analyst claimed that decision-makers ignored critical intelligence assessments from the field. Snepp landed in deep legal trouble for publishing this book without the CIA’s approval.

Shultz, Richard H., Jr. The Secret War Against Hanoi: Kennedy and Johnson’s Use of Spies, Saboteurs, and Covert Warriors in North Vietnam. New York: HarperCollins, 1999. Based on thousands of pages of classified military files.

Walsh, Lawrence E. Firewall: The Iran-Contra Conspiracy and Cover-up. New York: W.W. Norton, 1997. Iran-Contra prosecutor discusses Reagan administration policies toward Iran and Nicaragua.

Domestic Intelligence (FBI):

Blackstock, Nelson, ed. COINTELPRO: The F.B.I.’s Secret War on Political Freedom. New York: Random House, 1976.

Davis, James Kirkpatrick. Spying on America: The F.B.I.’s Domestic Counterintelligence Program. New York: Praeger, 1992.

Donner, Frank J. The Age of Surveillance: The Aims and Methods of America's Political Intelligence System. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1980.

Eland Ivan. “Resist Giving FBI More Authority in Cyberspace,” Oregonian, February 17, 2000.

Gentry, Curt. J. Edgar Hoover: The Man and the Secrets. New York: W.W. Norton, 1991.

Halpern, Morton H. The Lawless State: The Crimes of U.S. Intelligence Agencies. New York: Penguin, 1976.

Keller, William W. The Liberals and J. Edgar Hoover: The Rise and Fall of a Domestic Intelligence State. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1989.

Powers, Richard Gid. Secrecy and Power: The Life of J. Edgar Hoover. New York: Free Press, 1987.

Theoharis, Athan G. and John Stuart Cox. The Boss: J. Edgar Hoover and the Great American Inquisition. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1988.

Twight, Charlotte. “Watching You: Systematic Federal Surveillance of Ordinary Americans,” The Independent Review, Fall 1999, Vol. IV, No. 2, pp. 165-200.

General (Primarily CIA):

Agee, Philip. Inside the Company: CIA Diary. New York: Bantam Books, 1981.

Andrew, Christopher. For the President's Eyes Only: Secret Intelligence and the American Presidency from Washington to Bush. New York: Perennial, 1996.

Bamford, James. “Big Brother is Watching,” Independent Policy Forum, The Independent Institute, June 6, 2002. [Forum Announcement, Forum Audio, Forum Transcript, Order Tapes and Transcripts]

—. Body of Secrets: Anatomy of the Ultra-Secret National Security Agency from the Cold War through the Dawn of a New Century. New York: Doubleday, 2001. Very strong sections on Cuba policy, Gulf of Tonkin affair and Israel’s attack on the U.S.S. Liberty.

—. The Puzzle Palace: A Report on America’s Most Secret Agency. New York: Viking, 1983. First major expose of the National Security Agency, when most members of Congress still did not even know of its existence.

Bandow, Doug. Review of the book Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire by Chalmers Johnson,” The Independent Review, Spring 2001, Vol. 5, No. 4, pp. 611-614.

Blum, William. Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II. Monroe, ME: Common Courage Press, 1995. An encyclopedia of interventions.

—. Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower. Monroe, ME: Common Courage Press, 2000. Further shocking details of U.S. interventions.

Cline, Ray. Secrets, Spies and Scholars: Blueprint of the Essential CIA. Atlanta: Acropolis Books, 1978.

Cobane, Craig T. Review of the book For the President's Eyes Only: Secret Intelligence and the American Presidency from Washington to Bush by Christopher Andrew,” The Independent Review, Winter 1997, Vol. I, No. 3, pp. 456-459.

Eland, Ivan. “The Bush Administration’s Weapons of Mass Deception.” Oakland, Calif: The Independent Institute, June 5, 2003.

—. “Bush Plan Is Just ‘Do Something,’” Newsday, June 10, 2002.

—. “No One Noticed, but President Did the Right Thing,” Houston Chronicle, November 14, 2000.

Frazier, Howard, ed. Uncloaking the C.I.A. New York: Free Press, 1978.

Grose, Peter. Gentleman Spy: The Life of Allen Dulles. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1994. The leading biography of a key figure in the founding of the CIA and its director from 1953 to 1961.

Harris, James W. Building Leverage in the Long War: Ensuring Intelligence Community Creativity, Policy Analysis No. 439. Washington, DC: Cato Institute, March 16, 2002. Recommends improvements in the U.S. intelligence community after the September 11 attacks.

Isenberg, David. The Pitfalls of U.S. Covert Operations. Policy Analysis No. 118. Washington, DC: Cato Institute, April 7, 1989.

Jeffrey-Jones, Rhodri. Cloak and Dollar: A History of American Secret Intelligence. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2002. A history of U.S. spying.

Johnson, Chalmers. Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire. Owl Books, 2001.

—. “Responding to Terrorism Without Committing Terrorism,” Los Angeles Times, September 30, 2002.

Kober, Stanley. “Why Spy? The Uses and Misuses of Intelligence.” Policy Analysis No. 265. Washington, DC: Cato Institute, December 12, 1996.

Kwitny, Jonathan. Endless Enemies: The Making of an Unfriendly World. New York: Congdon & Weed, 1984. Several compelling case studies of interventions gone awry.

Marchetti, Victor and John D. Marks. The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence. Revised ed. New York: Dell, 1980. A critical and influential account of CIA covert operations by two former intelligence officers.

Martin, David C. Wilderness of Mirrors: Intrigue, Deception, and the Secrets that Destroyed Two of the Cold War's Most Important Agents. New York: Harper & Row, 1980. [pb] New York: Ballantine Books, 1981. A landmark study of CIA spy-hunting and the perils of paranoia.

McGehee, Ralph W. Deadly Deceits: My 25 Years in the C.I.A. New York: Sheridan Square, 1983.

Moynihan, Daniel Patrick. Secrecy: The American Experience. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1997.

Powers, Thomas. The Man Who Kept the Secrets: Richard Helms and the CIA. New York: Alfred Knopf, 1979. Both a biography of CIA Director Helms and a major history of the CIA’s first quarter century.

Prados, John. Lost Crusader: The Secret Wars of CIA Director William Casey. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.

—. The Presidents’ Secret Wars: CIA and Pentagon Covert Operations Since World War II. New York: William Morrow, 1986.

Ranelagh, John. The Agency: The Rise and Decline of the CIA. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1987. A judicious history of the CIA’s first four decades.

Smith, R. Harris. O.S.S. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1972. The fore-runner of the CIA both during WW II in Europe, and afterward in Indo-China. Shows how John Birch was killed aiding Mao Tse Tung, not fighting against.

Stockwell, John. In Search of Enemies: A C.I.A. Story. New York: Norton, 1978.

Weaver, Mary Anne. “Blowback,” The Atlantic Monthly, May 1998, Vol. 277, No. 5, pp. 24-36.

Wise, David and Thomas B. Ross. The Invisible Government. New York: Random House, 1964. The first landmark journalistic expose of the CIA.

Woodward, Bob. Veil: The Secret Wars of the CIA, 1981-1987. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1987. A revealing account of the William Casey years.

Intelligence and Law:

Falk, Richard A. “CIA Covert Action and International Law.” Society 12 (Mar.-Apr. 1975): 39-44.

Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy. “Intelligence Oversight, National Security, and Democracy.” 12, No. 2 (Spring 1989). Entire issue:

    Block, Lawrence J. and David B. Rivkin, Jr., “The Battle to Control the Conduct of Foreign Intelligence and Covert Operations: The Ultra-Whig Counterrevolution Revisited”

    Cline, Ray S. “Covert Action as Presidential Prerogative”

    Cohen, W. S. “Congressional Oversight of Covert Actions: The Public's Stake in the Forty- Eight Hour Rule”

    English, R. “A Counterintelligence and Counterterrorism Case: CISPES and the FBI”

    Haley, P. Edward. “Legislative-Executive Relations and the United States Intelligence Community”

    Hulnick, Arthur S. and David W. Mattausch. “Ethics and Morality in United States Secret Intelligence”

    Johnson, Loch. “Controlling the CIA: A Critique of Current Safeguards”

    Newman, D. and T. Van Geel, “Executive Order 12333: The Risks of a Clear Declaration of Intent”

    Sciaroni, B. G. “The Theory and Practice of Executive Branch Intelligence Oversight”

    Shultz, Jr., Richard H. “Covert Action and Executive-Legislative Relations: The Iran-Contra Crisis and Its Aftermath”

    Tuttle, Andrew C. “Secrecy, Covert Action, and Counterespionage: Intelligence Challenges for the 1990s”

    “Military Intelligence and the American Citizen. Covert Action and Judicial Review.”

Peterzell, Jay. “Legal and Constitutional Authority for Covert Operations,” First Principles 10, no. 3 (Spring 1985): 1-5.

KGB and Soviet Intelligence:

Andrew, Christopher and Oleg Gordievsky. KGB: The Inside Story of Its Foreign Operations from Lenin to Gorbachev. New York: HarperCollins, 1991. Paperback edition corrects various errors. Considered a major reference work, although Soviet defector and co-author Gordievsky is controversial.

Andrew, Christopher and Vasili Mitrokhin. The Sword and the Shield: The Mitrokhin Archive and the Secret History of the KGB. New York: Basic Books, 1999. Based in part on notes by KGB archivist Mitrokhin, this book is one of the most highly regarded and best documented histories of Soviet espionage.

Weinstein, Allen and Alexander Vassiliev. The Haunted Wood: Soviet Espionage in America—the Stalin Era. New York: Random House, 1999. Even paranoids have enemies: the “red hunt” of the 1940s and 1950s had a solid basis in real Soviet espionage operations, even if many were inept. Makes use of KGB files and decrypted Soviet spy cables.

Other Foreign Intelligence:

Dorril, Stephen. MI6: Inside the Covert World of Her Majesty’s Secret Intelligence Service. New York: Free Press, 2000.

Black, Ian and Benny Morris. Israel’s Secret Wars: A History of Israel’s Intelligence Services. New York: Grove Weidenfeld, 1991.

Raviv, Dan and Yossi Melman. Every Spy a Prince: The Complete History of Israel’s Intelligence Community. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1990.

Specialized Studies:

Bar-Joseph, Uri. Intelligence Intervention in the Politics of Democratic States: The United States, Israel, and Britain. University Park, PA: Penn State Press, 1995. Analyzes historical cases of intelligence agencies operating out of control of civil authorities.

Carvalho, Bernardo A. The CIA and the Press. Freedom of Information Report No. 382. Columbia: University of Missouri School of Journalism, 1977.

Cull, Nicholas John. Selling War: The British Propaganda Campaign Against American “Neutrality” in World War II. New York: Oxford University Press, 1996.

Diamond, Sigmund. The Compromised Campus: The Collaboration of Universities with the Intelligence Community, 1945-1955. New York: Oxford University Press, 1992. Looks at FBI and CIA operations on leading campuses in the early Cold War.

Doenecke, Justus D. Review of the book Desperate Deception: British Covert Operations in the United States, 1939-1944 by Thomas E. Mahl,” The Independent Review, Summer 1999, Vol. IV, No. 1. pp. 133-137.

. Review of the book Selling War: The British Propaganda Campaign Against American “Neutrality” in World War II by Nicholas John Cull,”The Independent Review, Fall 1996, Vol. I, No. 2. pp. 297-300.

Ellsberg, Daniel. Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers. New York: Viking, 2002. The inside account by one of the greatest whistleblowers of lies and deception during the Vietnam War.

Gibbs, David N. “Spying, Secrecy and the University: The CIA Is Back on Campus,” Counterpunch, April 7, 2003.

Hirsch, Fred, and Richard Fletcher. The CIA and the Labour Movement. Nottingham, UK: Spokesman Books, 1977. Includes much discussion of AFL-CIO involvement in CIA operations overseas.

Hougan, Jim. Secret Agenda: Watergate, Deep Throat, and the CIA. New York: Ballantine, 1985. While raising more questions than it answers, this book illustrates the many layers of intelligence involvement in the Watergate scandal.

—. Spooks: The Haunting of America—The Private Use of Secret Agents. New York: William Morrow, 1978.

Lee, Martin A., and Bruce Shlain. Acid Dreams: The Complete Social History of LSD—the CIA, the Sixties, and Beyond. New York: Grove/Weidenfeld, 1992. One of the best accounts of the CIA’s experiments with mind-altering drugs.

Mackenzie, Angus. Secrets: The CIA’s War at Home. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1997.

Mahl, Thomas E. Desperate Deception: British Covert Operations in the United States, 1939-1944. Washington, D.C.: Brassey's, 1998.

Marks, John. The Search for the "Manchurian Candidate": The CIA and Mind Control. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1980. Classic account of MKULTRA project—the CIA’s ill-fated efforts to achieve “mind control.”

Saunders, Frances Stonor. The Cultural Cold War: The CIA and the World of Arts and Letters. New York: New Press, 2000.

Simpson, Christopher. Science of Coercion: Communication Research and Psychological Warfare, 1945-1960. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1994. [pb] 1995.

Winks, Robin W. Cloak & Gown: Scholars in the Secret War, 1939-1961. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1996.

Web Sites:

Association of Former Intelligence Officers

Center for National Security Studies

Central Intelligence Agency

Cryptome (extensive, up-to-date archive on all manner of intelligence topics)

Federation of American Scientists: Project on Government Secrecy (includes Secrecy News, a terrific resource)

Muskingum College: The Literature of Intelligence

National Security Archive (tremendous source of declassified government documents)