Bombs, Bugs, Drugs, and Thugs: Intelligence and America's Quest for Security

Overview

Recent years have seen numerous books about the looming threat posed to Western society by biological and chemical terrorism, by narcoterrorists, and by the unpredictable leaders of rogue nations. Some of these works have been alarmist. Some have been sensible and measured. But none has been by Loch Johnson.

Johnson, author of the acclaimed Secret Agencies and "an experienced overseer of intelligence" (Foreign Affairs), here examines the present state and future challenges of ...

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Bombs, Bugs, Drugs, and Thugs: Intelligence and America's Quest for Security

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Overview

Recent years have seen numerous books about the looming threat posed to Western society by biological and chemical terrorism, by narcoterrorists, and by the unpredictable leaders of rogue nations. Some of these works have been alarmist. Some have been sensible and measured. But none has been by Loch Johnson.

Johnson, author of the acclaimed Secret Agencies and "an experienced overseer of intelligence" (Foreign Affairs), here examines the present state and future challenges of American strategic intelligence. Written in his trademark style--dubbed "highly readable" by Publishers Weekly--and drawing on dozens of personal interviews and contacts, Johnson takes advantage of his insider access to explore how America today aspires to achieve nothing less than "global transparency," ferreting out information on potential dangers in every corner of the world.

And yet the American security establishment, for all its formidable resources, technology, and networks, currently remains a loose federation of individual fortresses, rather than a well integrated "community" of agencies working together to provide the President with accurate information on foreign threats and opportunities. Intelligence failure, like the misidentified Chinese embassy in Belgrade accidentally bombed by a NATO pilot, is the inevitable outcome when the nation's thirteen secret agencies steadfastly resist the need for central coordination.

Ranging widely and boldly over such controversial topics as the intelligence role of the United Nations (which Johnson believes should be expanded) and whether assassination should be a part of America's foreign policy (an option he rejects for fear that the U.S. would then be cast not only as global policeman but also as global godfather), Loch K. Johnson here maps out a critical and prescriptive vision of the future of American intelligence.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Loch Johnson is one of the nation's leading scholars on intelligence issues. In this highly readable and provocative study, he explores the activities of the CIA and America's other intelligence agencies since the end of the Cold War. It is a work that is both thorough and objective, with an appealing sensitivity to the need for reforms. As citizens in the United States attempt to sort out and deal with the threats and opportunities that confront us in the this new world, Johnson's insights will help light the way.”

-Walter F. Mondale,

"An outstanding book, clearly the best recent, up-to-date survey of the American intelligence community, ranking with the top half-dozen ever."

-H. Bradford Westerfield,Yale University

"An eye-opening account of our intelligence establishment."

-Library Journal,

Library Journal
Johnson, Regents professor at the University of Georgia, has produced several important works on American security agencies, including, most recently, Secret Agencies: U.S. Intelligence in a Hostile World. That work serves as the basis for his new outing, which broadly surveys the entire structure of American intelligence activities, ranging from the CIA to the FBI to the National Security Council. Johnson brings to his writing a thorough understanding of how the American intelligence community works while sharing his thoughts on how it should function in the dynamic post-Cold War world. Of particular interest is his exploration of areas readers usually consider beyond the purview of the intelligence agencies, such as the impact of pandemics caused by HIV or the Ebola virus or the threat that eco-terrorists pose for established governments. The American tendency to avoid centralizing its intelligence network could prove costly to national security if information is not readily shared among the competing agencies. Johnson's book is an eye-opening account of our intelligence establishment. Recommended for most collections.--Ed Goedeken, Iowa State Univ. Lib., Ames Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Booknews
Drawing on personal interviews and contacts, Johnson (U. of Georgia) examines the current state of US strategic intelligence, explaining how the government aspires to no less that global transparency<-->the ability to ferret out information on potential dangers in every corner of the world. He also reveals, however, that the system remains a number of jealously protected domains rather than an integrated whole. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814742532
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/2002
  • Pages: 298
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.70 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Author of numerous books, Loch K. Johnson is Regents Professor at the University of Georgia.

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