Journal: Loch Johnson on It’s Never a Quick Fix at the CIA

09 Justice, 10 Security, 11 Society, Ethics, Government, Methods & Process, Policy, Reform, Strategy
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Professor Loch Johnson is one of two people who have served on both the Church Committee and the Aspin-Brown Commission.  The other is Britt Snider, Esquire.

Today he examines the lack of integrity on the Hill, or totthless, inattentive oversight.  He does not address two factors that we comment on below the fold:

1.  There are five CIAs, and as long as the Wall Street and White House CIAs are doing what they are told to do, no one really cares about the integrity or the pathos of the other three.

2.  Leon Panetta could have been the greatest Director in history, just as Barack Obama could have been the George Washington of this century, but both sacrificed their integrity for partisan gain, deliberately ignoring the urgent calls for both reform at CIA and non-partisan reality-based policy-making in the White House.  Phi Beta Iota

By Loch K. Johnson

Sunday, August 30, 2009

skip sad story . . . . . . .

The Church Committee discovered that intelligence abuses ran far deeper than initially reported. The CIA had indeed spied on Vietnam War dissenters at home, but the FBI had gone further, disrupting the lives of antiwar protesters and civil rights activists. It was “a road map to the destruction of American democracy,” committee member Walter Mondale said during a public hearing.

Church was equally appalled by the overseas excesses of the CIA, including covert actions against democratic regimes — such as Chile’s — and assassination plots. He blasted the agency for “the fantasy that it lay within our power to control other countries through the covert manipulation of their affairs.”

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Who’s Who in Peace Intelligence: Loch K. Johnson

Alpha I-L, Peace Intelligence

Loch K. Johnson is Regents Professor of Political Science at the University of Georgia and author of several books on U.S. national security and American politics. He has won the Certficate of Distinction from the National Intelligence Study Center and the V.O. Key Prize from the Southern Political Science Association. He has served as secretary of the American Political Science Association and president of the International Studies Association, South. He was special assistant to the chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence in 1975-76, staff director of the House Subcommittee on Intelligence Oversight in 1977-79, and special assistant to the chair of the Aspin-Brown Commission on Intelligence in 1995-96. Born in Auckland, New Zealand, Professor Johnson received his Ph.D. in political science from the University of California, Riverside. His latest of many books is Bombs, Bugs, Drugs, and Thugs (New York: New York University Press, 2000)

America’s Intelligence Liaison with International Organizations

The Book
The Book


Review: Strategic Intelligence [Five Volumes] (Intelligence and the Quest for Security) (v. 1-5)

5 Star, Intelligence (Government/Secret), Strategy

Strategic IntelligenceBeyond Five Stars for Content, Zero for Unjustified Pricing,

March 28, 2007

Loch K. Johnson

I am the author of the chapter in volume 2, “Open Source Intelligence,” which is freely available as a pdf at OSS.Net forward slash OSINT-S.

Neither Dr. Johnson, the editor and the deal of the intelligence scholar-practioners, nor any of the other authors, ever suspected that the publishers would dishonor our work, virtually for free (we each received $300 and a set of the books).

As a professional, I can certify that this set is spectacularly valuable. It is the best of the best at a time when the USA is wasting $60 billion dollars a year on secret sources and methods that yield only 4% of any policy-makers “relevant” decision-support.

As a publisher, I can start with certainty that it cost the publisher roughly a penny a page to print this book. This set of five books should under no circumstances cost more than $250.

Amazon holds the key, but Jeff Bezos has blown me off. Despite the fact that 300 of his people were inspired by my lecture on Amazon as the World Brain, he is choosing to ignore the desperate need of libraries, scholars, and practioners everywhere for a new form of micro-cash for micro-text digital exchange.

I personally believe that micro-text, like DVDs did for the movie industry, with double the gross revenue of the publishing industry without increasing the cost. What we need is for all the libraries to get together and go on strike–no purchases of a single book–until the publishing industry demands that Amazon host a summit, where I would be glad to lay out the plan personally. If you visit The Transitioner’s GLobal Challenges page, you can access by briefings and videos speaking to Amazon, to Hackers, and to Bloggers (Gnomedex).

The publishing industry is about to get eaten by Google, at the same time that Google is demanding ownership of anything it digitizes. Wrong answer. Kudos to the Boston libraries for throwing Google out of town. Amazon and micro-cash are the answer, as well as an increase in publishing efficiency and a clear open statement of actual costs of production.

This five book series represents the very best of the industry (valuable content) and also the very worst (seriously unethical pricing).

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Review: Handbook of Intelligence Studies

5 Star, Intelligence (Government/Secret)
Amazon Page
Amazon Page
5.0 out of 5 stars Extraordinary Perfection Properly Priced
January 25, 2007
Loch Johsnon

This is without question the single most important book at the operational level for the study of intelligence. It is not possible to be fully appraised without this book in your library.

It includes my own chapter on Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) at the operational level, available free at Phi Beta Iota the Public Intelligence Blog, as with all my work in the public service.

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Review: Seven Sins of American Foreign Policy (Paperback)

5 Star, Decision-Making & Decision-Support, Diplomacy, Empire, Sorrows, Hubris, Blowback, Executive (Partisan Failure, Reform), Information Society, Military & Pentagon Power, Power (Pathologies & Utilization)

Amazon Page
Amazon Page

Instant Classic, for Students and Experts Alike,

June 20, 2006
Loch K Johnson
In 1983, Dr. Loch Johnson, arguably the Dean of the intelligence scholars who is also unique for having the deep insights that could only come from service on BOTH the Church Committee in the 1970’s and the Aspin-Brown Commission in the 1990’s, published “Seven Sins of Strategic Intelligence in World Affairs (Fall 1983, v. 146, no. 2, p. 176-204). I still remember that article, which informed me as a (then) clandestine case officer, and helped inspire my own critical reformist writings over the years.

This book is a completely new work on a grander scale and the seven sins (listed in the editorial information) are applied to foreign policy in all its forms.

The following quote reflects the rich content of the book:

“A foreign policy initiative is considered questionable (‘sinful’) if it is based on a false or sharply limited understanding of the region of the world it pupports to address; if it violates the bedrock constitutional tenet of power-sharing between the legislative and executive branches of government; if it too quickly or unnecessarily resorts to forcein the resolution of global disputes; if it runs counter to the established norms of contemporary international behavior accepted by the world’s democracies; if it signals a withdrawal from the international community; if it exhibits a lack of concern for the basic human needs of other nations or projects a haughtiness in world affairs indicative of an imperious attitude toward others.”

The rest of the book, including useful figures showing successs and failures across diplomatic, military, economic, and covert action fronts from 1945 to date, fleshes out the above quote in a very thoughtful manner.

Interestingly, deep in the book, the author points out that ignorance of global reality by the public is directly related to their choices of elected officials. If they are disengaged and uninformed, they will elect individuals who give short shrift to global affairs. I am reminded of the number of Senators and Representatives who used to brag that they did not have a passport “because nothing that happens abroad matters to my constituents.” Those individuals are still in office.

I know the author, who in his courtly manner and gracious ability to discuss all sides without rancor, while still being harshly critical, represents all that is good about informed academics who are also, from time to time, called on to serve the Nation. I put the book down thinking that this author would make a magnificent Secretary of State.

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Review: Decisions of the Highest Order–Perspectives on the National Security Council (Paperback)

4 Star, Decision-Making & Decision-Support, Executive (Partisan Failure, Reform)

Amazon Page
Amazon Page

4.0 out of 5 stars

Classic–Contains Useful Material Not in the New Edition,

April 21, 2005
Karl F. Inderfurth
Edit of 20 Dec 07 to add links.

This is the orginal gold standard book on the National Security Council, now “replaced” but not fully so, by the new edition, “Fateful Decisions: Inside the National Security Council,” just published in February 2004.

However, this original edition contains two sections, one on “Disorders” (of the NSC) and the other on “Remedies” (for NSC dysfunctionalities) that have not been fully migrated to the new book, and for that reason, I recommend that this version of the book also be bought, as a supporting element for the value of those two sections and a few other items of significant historical value in understanding the NSC.

Readers should be aware that both books focus on the NSC as primarily a “big stick” actor obsessing with the use of military “hard” power to impose America’s will, and while there are helpful mentions in both books of “soft” power options, by and large neither book really addresses the full range of instrumental of national power (commercial, cultural, religious), nor does each book address how one understands and orchestrates all the non-Federal actors including American evangelical organizations, chambers of commerce, multinational corporations, etcetera, in stabilizing and reconstructing the world.

Never-the-less, this is standard book in the field, bringing together the very best minds available in America, and the updated version, while updated, does not completely replace it.

The editors and publishers might usefully consider a new volume on “comparative national security decision-making” in which sections address how Arab, Chinese, European, South American, South Asian, and Russian national security decisions are made.

See also, with reviews:
Bureaucratic Politics And Foreign Policy
Imperial Hubris: Why the West Is Losing the War on Terror
The Paradox of American Power: Why the World’s Only Superpower Can’t Go It Alone
The Fifty-Year Wound: How America’s Cold War Victory Has Shaped Our World
The Unconquerable World: Power, Nonviolence, and the Will of the People
War Is a Racket: The Anti-War Classic by America’s Most Decorated General, Two Other Anti=Interventionist Tracts, and Photographs from the Horror of It
Why We Fight
The Fog of War – Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara
Ike – Countdown to D-Day

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Review: A Season of Inquiry–The Senate Intelligence Investigation

4 Star, Congress (Failure, Reform), Executive (Partisan Failure, Reform), Intelligence (Government/Secret)

Amazon Page
Amazon Page

5.0 out of 5 stars Devastating, informative, essential reference,

April 8, 2000
Loch K. Johnson

“You see, the way a free government works, there’s got to be a housecleaning every now and then.” Harry Truman, as cited on the first page of the book. Well, in the U.S. Government, before you get a real housecleaning, it appears you have to build the vacuum cleaner from scratch every few years, and even then you only get the big dirt on the margins. This book is a very important book with all the more value today as we finally get serious about intelligence reform. Loch’s professional and extraordinarily detailed account of the entire Church Committee investigation, its findings, White House attempts to avoid reform, and the rather bland outcomes that finally resulted, should be considered the key to understanding where we are today and why we so desperately need legislation to achieve substantive reform. Had Senator Church been chosen by Jimmy Carter as Vice President (Church was favored by the convention, with Mondale and Stevenson tied behind him), who knows what good might have come of his White House service.

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