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Intelligence. “For the President’s Eyes Only” by Andrew Essay

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Updated: Dec 31st, 2021

More often unnoticed, forever marginalized, and only of late incorporated in chronological discussions, intellectual scholars have met difficulties in their pursuit of legitimacy in the academic society. It was about 1990 when a war historian (cold war) Lewis stated that, the intelligent revolution is commonly assumed in the bringing about and consequent evolving of the Cold War. But very minute details are known about this matter. Any person interested in this subject is required to base upon very insignificant evidence found in an incomprehensible collection of largely unconfirmed writings, together with recollections from writers, authorities and journalists of that time. This subject really has some aspect of fascination although it does miss the aspect of solid history. After 6 years, notable steps have been made in prevailing over this concern. This is partly because of the CIAs declassification of historical records. For our case book, this is the authors 9th book which is his 7th that talks about the issue of intelligence. This current edition that has over 660 pages, offers intelligence scholars and other people with the relevant information on the US’s intelligence. The book makes available this information right from George Washington to Bush. Therefore this paper seeks to show the goal of the book, illustrate whether its goals were achieved and give details on its strengths and weaknesses.

From chapter 1 to 4 the author talks about the US’s intelligence development starting from the 19th century to the end of the Second World War. Even if there is so little current information relayed, Andrew is a capable author with both remarkable storytelling and several fascinating vignettes which prevent the reader from wandering too far. It is at this point that Andrew exemplifies the extraordinary relationship that build up between Washington and London. This included William Stephenson’s effort to push America into WW2 by formulating public relations adversities, evocative of the Zimmerman-Telegram of the First World War.

In the chapters that followed (9 chapters), the author turned his concentration to the war (cold war). Contrast to the other monographs, Andrew is not content to simple revision of the fine exploits of the criminal investigative agency. Conversely, he tackles all bases by emphasizing the functions of the frequently ignored NSA and the significance of signals intelligence. He does this by synthesizing available schools of thought and at the same time integrating the current available information. Andrew effectively outlines the developing association between intelligence officials and the Americas presidential office. He finishes off by showing that, “over the past two centuries only four presidents — Washington, Eisenhower, Kennedy (briefly) and then Bush — have shown a real flair for intelligence” (Andrew, 537).

Despite the fact that Andrew did his work well in terms of extent of the task together with the degree of achievement in his mentioned purposes, in a research of this range and scale there are inescapably certain topics a reader would have wished included. Of the current information accessible, especially at the time the book was published, the two eras most painstakingly de-classified are the Truman-Kennedy governments. Whereas he effectively uses a number of new statistics on the crisis of the Cuban missile, his discussion on the Truman government is a little bit fragmented since there is a lot of documented evidence that is readily available. A good example is when a greater part on the documentation on the Psychological-Strategy-Board was accessible at Eisenhower and Truman library resources, correspondingly from 1991.

The author was again unable to even point out frequently neglected tactical connection linking State-Departments and the CIA. Even though it is not possible to wrangle with the author’s fundamental argument which is “for better, and sometimes for worse… intelligence and the intelligence community have been transformed by the presidency of the Unites States” (Andrew 3), “his contention that this thesis has not been significantly developed in the existing literature is somewhat more problematic” (Andrew 537). More explicitly, this topic was first build up in the outcome of the Church, by Committee of inquiry in the radiant white paper research by Anne Karalekas of the Criminal Investigative Agency. This has been integrated subsequently in several famous intelligence monographs. When employing this perspective, the argument can be shown that if historians on this subject are to keep away from drawbacks and interior debates that have characterized the development of political records over 20 years that have gone by, and which have so far not been entirely resolved, then we are supposed to look further than conventional casual forces in order to give details on a given event.

In the book, Andrew relied too much on characters to give details on the US’s intelligence i.e. While this aspect undoubtedly played a significant role in ways Presidents Johnson and Nixon interrelated with Criminal Investigative Agency officials, a theme that the author evidently comes up with, “bureaucratic politics, ideology, culture, the domestic political environment and differing perceptions of national security also played a critical role in the use and/or misuse of American postwar intelligence, and thus the subsequent evolution of the Cold War” (Gaddis, 192). These aspects, which again spectacularly influenced the capability of intelligence officials to carry out their mandate effectively, were not brought on board to the required degree to put the reader on the alert of the numerous nuances contained in the policy-making progressions.

In addition, if one acknowledges the author’s thesis with no complaint, the fundamental issue then turns out to be, why have characters played such a significant role in the record of the US’s intelligence? A possible clarification might put emphasis on the relatively new establishment of the US’s intelligence community. More probably, though, its causality goes a lot deeper to include an inconsistency which dangles over America’s history like a dark-cloud. Particularly, the United states tendency to try reconciling a passionate tradition of optimism and morals with the modern-day necessities of state-run security. Unfortunately, though, the author makes no effort to agree with his somewhat disconcerting ending or some of its added significant ramifications.

Regardless of the minor weaknesses aforementioned, For the President’s Eyes only, is still the best review of the US’s intelligence there is today. This is to say the author achieved his goals effectively. Christopher Andrew exemplifies, once more, that this historical discussion cannot come to an end with the Second World War. Without a doubt, the strong-willed determination of researchers like Andrew Christopher to bring to light the dark role of the intelligence community and secret operations throughout the Cold War, indemnifies that researchers preoccupied with the misplaced dimension of the United States history will never be downgraded to the sidelines of the intellectual debate.

Works cited

Andrew, Christopher. For the President’s Eyes Only: Secret Intelligence and the American Presidency from Washington to Bush. New York: Harper Collins, 1995. Print.

Gaddis, Lewis. “Intelligence, Espionage, and Cold War Origins,” Diplomatic History, 12,6. 2 (1989):192. Print.

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