The CIA and American Democracy

Rhodri Jeffreys-Jones, Author Yale University Press $16 (352p) ISBN 978-0-300-04149-1
This supportive, comprehensive study of the CIA traces the changing status of the agency from its 1947 beginnings to the present. Jeffreys-Jones, history lecturer at the University of Edinburgh, reveals how the CIA and its successive directors have been enmeshed in presidential politics and foreign policy, experiencing a ``golden age'' in the Eisenhower era and relatively hard times during the Johnson and Nixon administrations. The periodic congressional crusades aimed at unveiling ``the truth'' about the CIA are closely analyzed, the author arguing that such probes not only serve to keep the agency in check but in the long run strengthen it. Good congressional relations and mutual respect are, in Jeffreys-Jones's view, crucial to the proper functioning of U.S. intelligence. President Reagan, ``a keen supporter'' of the CIA, is shown here to have been virtually deaf to its advice. Jeffreys-Jones concludes: ``The various people who say that the CIA has been the world's best postwar foreign-intelligence agency are not wide of the mark.'' History Book Club alternate. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 09/01/1989
Release date: 09/01/1989
Paperback - 350 pages - 978-0-300-05017-2
Open Ebook - 361 pages - 978-0-300-20850-4
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