University of Texas Press, Austin
These days, it's rare to pick up a newspaper and not see a story related to intelligence. From the investigations of the 9/11 commission, to accusations of illegal wiretapping, to debates on whether it's acceptable to torture prisoners for information, intelligence—both accurate and not—is driving domestic and foreign policy. And yet, in part because of its inherently secretive nature, intelligence has received very little scholarly study. Into this void comes Reforming Intelligence, a timely collection of case studies written by intelligence experts, and sponsored by the Center for Civil-Military Relations (CCMR) at the Naval Postgraduate School, that collectively outline the best practices for intelligence services in the United States and other democratic states.
Reforming Intelligence suggests that intelligence is best conceptualized as a subfield of civil-military relations, and is best compared through institutions. The authors examine intelligence practices in the United States, United Kingdom, and France, as well as such developing democracies as Brazil, Taiwan, Argentina, and Russia. While there is much more data related to established democracies, there are lessons to be learned from states that have created (or re-created) intelligence institutions in the contemporary political climate. In the end, reading about the successes of Brazil and Taiwan, the failures of Argentina and Russia, and the ongoing reforms in the United States yields a handful of hard truths. In the murky world of intelligence, that's an unqualified achievement.