INTELLIGENCE IN AN INSECURE WORLD

INTELLIGENCE IN AN INSECURE WORLD

Authors: Peter Gill and Mark Phythian

Publishing House: Polity Press,

Great Britain, 2006



The authors, Peter Gill - professor of political sciences and security issues at John Moores University from Liverpool, and Mark Phythian - professor of international security issues at the University in Wolverhampton, present a professional approach of the intelligence services theory nowadays, at the beginning of the 21st century.

Like any valuable paper in the field, this book starts with a definition of the intelligence activity. However, the chapter is not limited to this definition; it also mentions interesting aspects concerning the concept's evolution, limits and significance. At the end of this first chapter, there are reasons for the need to develop the theoretical aspects of the intelligence activity.

Considering the international evolutions after September 11 2001 and the new aspects confronting the intelligence services during the last few years, the book attempts to be, at the same time, a useful instrument for the ones who are trying to understand this activity, especially for the politicians.

Upon analyzing the security networks of various state, corporation and community components, the authors underline their inter-dependencies as well as the most efficient conditions for them to function safely.

Of course, such a work comprises various approaches concerning information sources, open and secret ones; however, we believe that intelligence gathered by human sources - HUMINT, is treated quite briefly.

Still, the chapter on the failures of intelligence activity is useful and interesting. The limitations in information gathering, failures in the gathering process and the ones due to analysis are professionally treated, as well as the relation between politics and intelligence, as an important element of some failures. The authors do not avoid approaching the issue of politics trying to influence the intelligence activity. The analyses are accompanied by examples from intelligence practice , some from the past (Vietnam, Iran) but also new ones (September 11 and July 7 2005, London).

A separate chapter deals with the analysis of intelligence concerning the Iraqi nuclear program and the causes of the failure in this respect.

Another chapter deals with the issue of democratic control of the intelligence services, by the special committees in Parliament (British organization is presented in this concern). Furthermore, the control exercised outside Parliament includes the media, non-governmental organizations and citizens.

At the end, the authors try to present their position concerning the role of intelligence for a safer world.

The book underlines the fact that intelligence has gained an important place in governments activity and in the international issues, as compared to any prior period, by resuming older debates and starting new ones.

The book has lots of useful and practical charts and examples, so it should definitely be on the bookshelves of the people interested in intelligence.
 

back Published in 2008-03-20 Print up