This amounts to a textbook giving the battle order for the United States' intelligence systems and describing, in a spare style, certain American intelligence practices and experiences of the postwar era. It is hard but, at times, rewarding reading.
What will surprise many laymen is the sheer complexity of the intelligence network. There are agencies few will have ever heard of that are annually eating up hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars of the federal budget.
For instance, the National Reconnaissance Office, charged with managing satellite reconnaissance, was established secretly in 1960, and, the author tells us, only came to public knowledge in 1973 because of an error made in the editing of a Senate committee report, when those responsible for routinely deleting mention of it for security reasons somehow slipped up. "The NRO's present budget," Jeffrey Richelson writes, "appears to be in the $3- to $4-billion range."
The Central Intelligence Agency is only a very small part of the network, although for many years it has been the focus of public attention. In fact, not only do all of the armed services have their own intelligence agencies, but the major regional commands and forces have them as well, and many federal agencies, such as the Commerce Department, the Energy Department, the Agriculture Department, the Drug Enforcement Administration, not to mention the State Department, also have their own units. It is such a bewildering plethora of groups that the author goes on for better than 90 pages just listing each and giving brief summaries about where it fits in and what it is supposed to do.