A new edition of Jeffrey Richelson’s encyclopedic work on “The U.S. Intelligence Community” (Westview Press, July 2011) has just been published.
The book provides a uniquely synoptic view of the structure and functions of the massive U.S. intelligence bureaucracy. Descriptive rather than prescriptive, the book serves best as a guide to some of the more obscure details of intelligence organizations, code names and procedures.
I provided a blurb for the book, which I have regularly found useful. But it may be pointed out that the original edition of this work pre-dated the World Wide Web, and the latest (sixth) edition retains something of a pre-web sensibility. If, for some reason, you wanted to know when the now-defunct National Imagery and Mapping Agency was established, Richelson could tell you. But so could Wikipedia. And while the new volume includes a list of Intelligence Community Directives, a directive (ICD 114) on GAO access to intelligence information that took effect June 30, 2011 was too recent to be included.
On the whole, however, “The U.S. Intelligence Community” benefits from Richelson’s meticulous research, his dispassionate presentation, and his robust sourcing, all of which make it an invaluable reference.
Update: It may be an error on my part to refer to the National Imagery and Mapping Agency as “defunct.” Although there is no longer an organization by that name, the former NIMA was redesignated in FY2004 as the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), which of course remains fully functional.
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