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Intelligence in an Insecure World, 2nd Edition

ISBN: 978-0-7456-5278-8
272 pages
November 2012, Polity
Intelligence in an Insecure World, 2nd Edition (0745652786) cover image


Over a decade on from the terrorist attacks of 9/11, intelligence continues to be of central importance to the contemporary world. Today there is a growing awareness of the importance of intelligence, and an increasing investment in it, as individuals, groups, organizations and states all seek timely and actionable information in order to increase their sense of security.

But what exactly is intelligence? Who seeks to develop it and how? What happens to intelligence once it is produced, and what dilemmas does this generate? How can liberal democracies seek to mitigate problems of intelligence, and what do we mean by “intelligence failure?”’ In a fully revised and expanded new edition of their classic guide to the field, Peter Gill and Mark Phythian explore these and other questions. Together they set out a comprehensive framework for the study of intelligence, discussing how ‘intelligence’ can best be understood, how it is collected, analysed, disseminated and acted upon, how it raises ethical problems, and how and why it fails. 

Drawing on a range of contemporary examples, Intelligence in an Insecure World is an authoritative and accessible guide to a rapidly expanding area of enquiry - one which everyone has an interest in understanding.
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Table of Contents

List of Figures, Tables and Boxes



1 Introduction

2 How Do We Understand Intelligence?

3 Who Does Intelligence?

4 How Do They Gather Information?

5 How is Information Turned into Intelligence?

6 What Do They Do with the Intelligence?

7 Why Does Intelligence Fail?

8 Can Intelligence be Democratic?

9 Intelligence for a more secure world?


Selected Further Reading

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New to This Edition

fully updated with a range of contemporary case studies and examples
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"Gill and Phythian have done it again: produced a comprehensive, readable, nicely illustrated, and thought-provoking examination of national security intelligence in today's uncertain and dangerous world. Want to know all about espionage, covert action, and counterintelligence? Here's an excellent place to begin."
Loch K. Johnson, University of Georgia

"Gill and Phythian provide the best introduction to the study of security and intelligence in democratic societies. They have done so by marrying the rigour of academic analysis with the accessibility of more popular accounts – no mean trick. The new edition is not only updated to include the most contemporary developments, but also expands and deepens the authors’ critical reflections on the state of intelligence in the post-9/11 world. This is a must-read for everyone concerned with security in the face of terrorism and for democratic freedoms in the face of the expansion of state security powers."
Reg Whitaker, York University, Ontario

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