Thursday, September 18, 2014

Some interesting declassified CIA reports

The Central Intelligence Agency has declassified a number of reports from its in-house journal, 'Studies in Intelligence'.  The agency described them as follows:

This collection of released documents consists of a selection of declassified Studies in Intelligence articles from the 1970s to 2000s. The documents reveal the CIA’s place in conducting U.S. foreign policy. The Agency cannot plan or act today without being influenced in some way by its collective past or the historical experiences that these documents describe. This collection of declassified articles includes studies on the leadership of the individual DCIs and other senior Agency officers; histories of CIA directorates and their activities; tutorials on improving intelligence tradecraft; ever-changing intelligence challenges and national security threats to the U.S.; and specific events in which intelligence played a role in informing policymakers or influencing outcomes.

Studies in Intelligence, CIA’s in-house journal for the intelligence professional, is administered by the Agency’s Center for the Study of Intelligence. Its mission is to stimulate within the Intelligence Community the constructive discussion of important issues of the day, to expand knowledge of lessons learned from past experiences, to increase understanding of the history of the profession, and to provide readers with considered reviews of public literature concerning intelligence. Intelligence trailblazer Sherman Kent-the ‘father’ of intelligence analysis in America-created Studies in 1955 as a journal for intelligence professionals. In the first article published in Studies, Kent called for the creation of a literature that would support the development of intelligence as a professional discipline. He said, “As long as this discipline lacks a literature, its method, its vocabulary, its body of doctrine, and even its fundamental theory run the risk of never reaching full maturity.“  Kent believed that the most important service such a literature could perform would be to record and disseminate new ideas and experiences, and build toward a cumulative understanding of the profession.

I've been browsing through some of the released reports.  They look very interesting.  A few examples:

There are many more at the link.  Recommended reading for historians of intelligence operations, and for those trying to understand what an organization like the CIA may be called upon to do.  I daresay the organization's foreign counterparts (including the Soviet KGB's modern successor organizations) will read these articles with a great deal of mutual understanding and a 'Been there, done that' reaction.


1 comment:

Glen said...

I would encourage anyone interested to save released US Intelligence documents as PDFs.
CIA/NSA frequently reorganize information they have released, leaving you with a lot of dead links.

I have several hundred such files saved, from the Venona release on. They are a most useful resource.