Print this page Share

National Security Intelligence, 2nd Edition

ISBN: 978-1-5095-1304-8
314 pages
May 2017, Polity
National Security Intelligence, 2nd Edition (1509513043) cover image


National security intelligence is a vast, complex, and important topic, made doubly hard for citizens to understand because of the thick veils of secrecy that surround it.

In the second edition of his definitive introduction to the field, leading intelligence expert Loch K. Johnson guides readers skilfully through this shadowy side of government. Drawing on over forty years of experience studying intelligence agencies and their activities, he explains the three primary missions of intelligence: information collection and analysis, counterintelligence, and covert action, before moving on to explore the wider dilemmas posed by the existence of secret government organizations in open, democratic societies. Recent developments including the controversial leaks by the American intelligence official Edward J. Snowden, the U.S. Senate's Torture Report, and the ongoing debate over the use of drones are explored alongside difficult questions such as why intelligence agencies inevitably make mistakes in assessing world events; why some intelligence officers choose to engage in treason against their own country on behalf of foreign regimes; and how spy agencies can succumb to scandals -including highly intrusive surveillance against the very citizens they are meant to protect.

Comprehensively revised and updated throughout, National Security Intelligence is tailor-made to meet the interests of students and general readers who care about how nations shield themselves against threats through the establishment of intelligence organizations, and how they strive for safeguards to prevent the misuse of this secret power.

See More

Table of Contents

About the Author

List of Figures and Tables

List of Abbreviations

Preface: The Study of National Security Intelligence


1 National Security Intelligence: The First Line of Defense

2 Intelligence Collection and Analysis: Knowing about the World

3 Covert Action: Secret Attempts to Shape History

4 Counterintelligence: The Hunt for Moles

5 Safeguards against the Abuse of Secret Power

6 National Security Intelligence: Shield and Hidden Sword of the Democracies


Suggested Readings


See More

Author Information

Loch K. Johnson is the Regents Professor of Public and International Affairs at the University of Georgia, as well as a Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professor.
See More

New to This Edition

With recent developments in mind, Johnson highlights new challenges facing the intelligence community, including the effects of the Snowden leaks, issues in cybersecurity, developments in covert action as well as ethical debates posed by the use of drones.
See More


"The world of intelligence is myth ridden in the popular imagination. Loch Johnson, one of the most eminent and experienced scholars on the subject, here supplies an excellent, compact, and readable introduction that makes the principal aspects of intelligence refreshingly intelligible to all." - Richard K. Betts, Columbia University, author of Enemies of Intelligence

Loch Johnson s National Security Intelligence is a wonderful asset for those professors aiming to introduce students to the complexities, the dangers, and the importance of the U.S. intelligence establishment. The painful truth is that most Americans know very little about our government s intelligence agencies beyond what they have learned from movies, television shows, and lurid headlines. This book can work wonders in educating students (and indeed, ordinary citizens) seeking to understand intelligence. It is well-written, and manages to combine brevity with depth and nuance. - David Barrett, Villanova University
See More

Related Titles

Back to Top