Review: International Intelligence Cooperation and Accountability

4 Star, Intelligence (Government/Secret)
Amazon Page

Hans Born (Editor), Ian Leigh (Editor), Aidan Wills (Editor)

4.0 out of 5 stars Four for Content, Zero for Price,August 16, 2011

There are some good contributions in this book, and it is certainly recommended for institutional purchase, but the price is utterly outrageous and completely unacceptable for the individual professional, scholar, or practitioner interest in learning from these authors. The book should be offered immediately at no more than $35.00.

The book is focused on governments. Worse, it is focused on governments exchanging secret or sensitive information with one another.  While there is one extraordinary chapter on intelligence in international operations, the book as a whole is government centric a decade (or two) after the rest of us began routing around government. The new meme is M4IS2: Multinational, Multiagency, Multidisciplinary, Multidomain Information-Sharing and Sense-Making, and the eight tribes that do M4IS2 (when properly led, which is almost never) are academic, civil society, commerce, government, law enforcement, media, military, and non-government/non-profit.

The general concept of the book, that a frame of reference for accountability is needed, is a good one, but overlooks the obvious fact that 80-90% of information sharing must be multinational, multiagency, and not secret–unclassified open sources and methods are the vast majority of what needs to be shared.  In that context, I would suggest that all governments fail the most basic accountability test: they persist in spending taxpayer money on secret intelligence that provides, “at best” 4-10% of what the full range of government needs for decision-support are.  It’s time we start holding secret intelligence accountable for being largely worthless in the overall scheme of human affairs, and in relation to the ten high-level threats identified and prioritized by the United Nations High Level Panel on Threats, Challenges, and Change.

See Also: [Amazon insert a link remains broken for books]

Peacekeeping Intelligence: Emerging Concepts for the Future

A More Secure World: Our Share Responsibility

Most but not all of my review on intelligence books (over 300) can be found by searching for:

Worth a Look: Book Reviews on Intelligence (Most)

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