Cover image for Bombs, bugs, drugs, and thugs : intelligence and America's quest for security
Bombs, bugs, drugs, and thugs : intelligence and America's quest for security
Johnson, Loch K., 1942-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : New York University Press, [2000]

Physical Description:
xxi, 298 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
JK468.I6 J634 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Recent years have seen numerous books about the looming threat posed to Western society by biological and chemical terrorism, by narcoterrorists, and by the unpredictable leaders of rogue nations. Some of these works have been alarmist. Some have been sensible and measured. But none has been by Loch Johnson.

Johnson, author of the acclaimed Secret Agencies and "an experienced overseer of intelligence" ( Foreign Affairs ), here examines the present state and future challenges of American strategic intelligence. Written in his trademark style--dubbed "highly readable" by Publishers Weekly --and drawing on dozens of personal interviews and contacts, Johnson takes advantage of his insider access to explore how America today aspires to achieve nothing less than "global transparency," ferreting out information on potential dangers in every corner of the world.

And yet the American security establishment, for all its formidable resources, technology, and networks, currently remains a loose federation of individual fortresses, rather than a well integrated "community" of agencies working together to provide the President with accurate information on foreign threats and opportunities. Intelligence failure, like the misidentified Chinese embassy in Belgrade accidentally bombed by a NATO pilot, is the inevitable outcome when the nation's thirteen secret agencies steadfastly resist the need for central coordination.

Ranging widely and boldly over such controversial topics as the intelligence role of the United Nations (which Johnson believes should be expanded) and whether assassination should be a part of America's foreign policy (an option he rejects for fear that the U.S. would then be cast not only as global policeman but also as global godfather), Loch K. Johnson here maps out a critical and prescriptive vision of the future of American intelligence.

Author Notes

Loch K. Johnson is Regents Professor at the University of Georgia.

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

Johnson, Regents professor at the University of Georgia, has produced several important works on American security agencies, including, most recently, Secret Agencies: U.S. Intelligence in a Hostile World. That work serves as the basis for his new outing, which broadly surveys the entire structure of American intelligence activities, ranging from the CIA to the FBI to the National Security Council. Johnson brings to his writing a thorough understanding of how the American intelligence community works while sharing his thoughts on how it should function in the dynamic post-Cold War world. Of particular interest is his exploration of areas readers usually consider beyond the purview of the intelligence agencies, such as the impact of pandemics caused by HIV or the Ebola virus or the threat that eco-terrorists pose for established governments. The American tendency to avoid centralizing its intelligence network could prove costly to national security if information is not readily shared among the competing agencies. Johnson's book is an eye-opening account of our intelligence establishment. Recommended for most collections.DEd Goedeken, Iowa State Univ. Lib., Ames (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

List of Figuresp. xi
List of Abbreviationsp. xiii
Prefacep. xix
Introductionp. 1
Part I An Intelligence Agenda for a New World
1. A Planet Bristling with Bombs and Missilesp. 11
2. Stocks and (James) Bonds: Spies in the Global Marketplacep. 32
3. The Greening of Intelligencep. 50
4. Spies versus Germs: A Worldwide Resurgence of Bugsp. 72
Part II Strategic Intelligence: Fissures in the First Line of Defense
5. The DCI and the Eight-Hundred-Pound Gorillap. 95
6. Spending for Spiesp. 122
7. Sharing the Intelligence Burdenp. 150
Part III Smart Intelligence--and Accountable
8. More Intelligent Intelligencep. 175
9. Balancing Liberty and Securityp. 199
Appendix America's Intelligence Leadership, 1941-2000p. 223
Notesp. 225
Bibliographyp. 265
Indexp. 287
About the Authorp. 298