a1 Vanderbilt University
Strategic intelligence, die evaluated informational product of intelligence bureaucracies, is a potentially important element in foreign policy decision making. But the role and impact of intelligence reports are very difficult to analyze, because of bodi secrecy and conceptual or definitional problems. Some new light is shed by a number of recent books, in three categories: essentially uncritical works by former insiders, muckraking exposes, and historical case studies. Collectively, these books improve our understanding of the variables that condition the impact of strategic intelligence on policy, or they illuminate die policy and bureaucratic context of intelligence activities. But only one of the recent books has a theoretical thrust. Great need remains, and opportunities exist, to move toward better dieoretical understanding of intelligence, or at least toward inproved information about when, how, or whether intelligence activities or reports have measurable impact on foreign policy decision making and policy outcomes in world politics.
Harry Howe Ransom is Professor of Political Science at Vanderbilt University. Among his recent books are The Intelligence Establishment (1970) and Strategic Intelligence (1973).