For decades now “The U.S. Intelligence Community” by Jeffrey T. Richelson has been the best one-volume account of the structure and operation of the far-flung U.S. intelligence bureaucracy. The fifth edition has just been published.
When I encounter an unfamiliar intelligence term, an odd acronym or a reference to an obscure office somewhere in the bowels of U.S. intelligence, I find that Richelson’s book more often than not — more often than Google — provides the explanation and the needed background, typically with a footnote to an official source.
The latest edition includes new material on homeland security intelligence, detainee interrogation, and other post-9/11 developments.
“The U.S. Intelligence Community” by Jeffrey T. Richelson, 5th edition, is published by Westview Press.