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The Uses and Limits of Intelligence [Paperback]

Walter Laqueur

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Book Description

1 Jan 1993
Never before has intelligence played such a critical role in life and death policy decisions. Whether it is a question of monitoring compliance by hostile nations with arms control efforts, assessing foreign intervention in civil wars, or determining fundamentalist involvement in terrorist organizations, vital decisions depend on the quality of the intelligence at the disposal of policymakers. In this pathbreaking volume, originally released in 1986 under the title A World of Secrets, Walter Laqueur examines the basic questions: How good is intelligence-and even more important-how well has it been evaluated and presented? What can be done to improve it? And what inherent limits of intelligence must we learn to live with? In a brilliant new opening essay, the author brings these questions to bear in a post-Soviet environment, raising uncomfortable questions about how profoundly in error the intelligence community and its social scientific sources were throughout the Cold War epoch. The Uses and Limits of Intelligence is a major survey and assessment of U.S. intelligence activites over the last forty-fi ve years. It offers a systematic and authoritative evaluation of American intelligence-gathering machinery: how it has been used, misused, and on occasion, ignored. Based on meticulous analysis of hitherto inaccessible material, as well as personal interviews with leading policy-makers and figures in the intelligence community, this volume takes a probing look at how various U. S. agencies that produce political, military, economic, and scientific intelligence go about their jobs. The Uses and Limits of Intelligence has been hailed as "a splendid work, reflective and penetrating" by James R. Schlesinger; while Zbigniew Brzezinski described Laqueur as "a man who understands the relationship between history and the world of secret services." Henry S. Rowen noted that Laqueur "brings a rare degree of analytical power to this important subject."

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