The CIA and Congress: The Untold Story from Truman to Kennedy
AbeBooks Seller Since 14 June 2006Quantity Available: 1
AbeBooks Seller Since 14 June 2006Quantity Available: 1
About this Item
Title: The CIA and Congress: The Untold Story from ...
Publisher: University Press of Kansas
Binding: Paperback / softback
Book Condition: New
About this title
From its inception more than half a century ago and for decades afterward, the Central Intelligence Agency was deeply shrouded in secrecy, with little or no real oversight by Congress--or so many Americans believe. David M. Barrett reveals, however, that during the agency's first fifteen years, Congress often monitored the CIA's actions and plans, sometimes aggressively.
Drawing on a wealth of newly declassified documents, research at some two dozen archives, and interviews with former officials, Barrett provides an unprecedented and often colorful account of relations between American spymasters and Capitol Hill. He chronicles the CIA's dealings with senior legislators who were haunted by memories of our intelligence failure at Pearl Harbor and yet riddled with fears that such an organization might morph into an American Gestapo. He focuses in particular on the efforts of Congress to monitor, finance, and control the agency's activities from the creation of the national security state in 1947 through the planning for the ill-fated Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961.
Along the way, Barrett highlights how Congress criticized the agency for failing to predict the first Soviet atomic test, the startling appearance of Sputnik over American air space, and the overthrow of Iraq's pro-American government in 1958. He also explores how Congress viewed the CIA's handling of Senator McCarthy's charges of communist infiltration, the crisis created by the downing of a U-2 spy plane, and President Eisenhower's complaint that Congress meddled too much in CIA matters. Ironically, as Barrett shows, Congress itself often pushed the agency to expand its covert operations against other nations.
The CIA and Congress provides a much-needed historical perspective for current debates in Congress and beyond concerning the agency's recent failures and ultimate fate. In our post-9/11 era, it shows that anxieties over the challenges to democracy posed by our intelligence communities have been with us from the very beginning.
"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. 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."—Publishers Weekly
"A fascinating, scholarly appraisal of the interaction between the directors of Central Intelligence (DCI) and Congress."—Library Journal
"Barrett assiduously mined Congressional papers and agency documents now in the National Archives for what should stand as the landmark study of his subject."—Washington Times
"This fine new book should be read by all those stalwart investigators who found no one responsible for two recent intelligence disasters: 9/11 and Iraq's nonexistent WMD programs. . . . A triumph of research. . . . 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 from 1947 to 1961. . . . Superb portraits and assessment of the key players: the thoughts, actions, and characters of senators, congressmen, presidents, and CIA officials are front and center in the book. . . . Barrett’s scholarly and precise book . . . shows that people—especially senior leaders—are responsible for intelligence failures, whether they occurred on December 7, 1941 or Septmeber 11, 2001."—Washington Post Book World
"Not often does a book come along that alters our understanding of history, but David M. Barrett’s The CIA and Congress does just that. . . . Thanks to Barrett’s prodigious effort, what has been considered the ‘dark ages’ of congressional oversight now seems much more real—and, indeed, much closer to the present day—than we had imagined."—Studies in Intelligence
"A thorough treatment of an important subject in American Cold War history. . . . An extremely valuable book that will hopefully inspire future scholars to take up Barrett’s challenge of integrating the legislative branch into our understanding of American Cold War history."—Journal of American History
"An unprecedented and often colorful account of relations between American spymasters and Capitol Hill. . . . Provides a much-needed historical perspective for current debates in Congress and beyond concerning the agency’s recent failures and ultimate fate. In our post-9/11 era, it shows that anxieties over the challenges to democracy posed by our intelligence communities have been with us from the very beginning."—Cold War Times
"Crisp prose, apt quotations, telling anecdotes,and deft character portraits make Barrett’s nearly 500 page book a deeply satisfying and memorable narrative."—American Historical Review
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