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From Secrets to Policy

Seventh Edition


October 2016 | 624 pages | CQ Press
Mark M. Lowenthal’s trusted guide is the go-to resource for understanding how the intelligence community’s history, structure, procedures, and functions affect policy decisions. In this Seventh Edition, the author addresses cyber security and cyber intelligence throughout, expands on previous coverage of collection, comprehensively updates the chapters on nation states and transnational issues, and takes a look at various foreign intelligence services, both large and small.

Intelligence: From Secrets to Policy remains the standard by which all other intelligence studies textbooks should be evaluated.”  
–Greg Moore, Notre Dame College

Tables, Figures, and Boxes
Chapter 1. What Is “Intelligence”?
Why Have Intelligence Agencies?  
What Is Intelligence About?  
Key Terms  
Further Readings  
Chapter 2. The Development of U.S. Intelligence
Major Themes  
Major Historical Developments  
Key Terms  
Further Readings  
Chapter 3. The U.S. Intelligence Community
Alternative Ways of Looking at the Intelligence Community  
The Many Different Intelligence Communities  
Intelligence Community Relationships That Matter  
The Intelligence Budget Process  
Key Terms  
Further Readings  
Chapter 4. The Intelligence Process—A Macro Look: Who Does What for Whom?
Processing and Exploitation  
Analysis and Production  
Dissemination and Consumption  
Thinking About the Intelligence Process  
Key Terms  
Further Readings  
Chapter 5. Collection and the Collection Disciplines
Overarching Themes  
Strengths and Weaknesses  
Key Terms  
Further Readings  
Chapter 6. Analysis
Major Themes  
Analytical Issues  
Intelligence Analysis: An Assessment  
Key Terms  
Further Readings  
Chapter 7. Counterintelligence
Internal Safeguards  
External Indicators and Counterespionage  
Problems in Counterintelligence  
Economic Espionage  
National Security Letters  
Key Terms  
Further Readings  
Chapter 8. Covert Action
The Decision-Making Process  
The Range of Covert Actions  
Issues in Covert Action  
Assessing Covert Action  
Key Terms  
Further Readings  
Chapter 9. The Role of the Policy Maker
The U.S. National Security Policy Process  
Who Wants What?  
The Intelligence Process: Policy and Intelligence  
Key Term  
Further Readings  
Chapter 10. Oversight and Accountability
Executive Oversight Issues  
Congressional Oversight  
Issues in Congressional Oversight  
Internal Dynamics of Congressional Oversight  
The Courts  
Key Terms  
Further Readings  
Chapter 11. The Intelligence Agenda: Nation-States
The Primacy of the Soviet Issue  
The Emphasis on Soviet Military Capabilities  
The Emphasis on Statistical Intelligence  
The “Comfort” of a Bilateral Relationship  
Collapse of the Soviet Union  
Intelligence and the Soviet Problem  
The Current Nation-State Issue  
Key Terms  
Further Readings  
Chapter 12. The Intelligence Agenda: Transnational Issues
U.S. National Security Policy and Intelligence After the Cold War  
Intelligence and the New Priorities  
Health and the Environment  
Peacekeeping Operations  
Support to the Military  
Key Terms  
Further Readings  
Chapter 13. Ethical and Moral Issues in Intelligence
General Moral Questions  
Issues Related to Collection and Covert Action  
Analysis-Related Issues  
Oversight-Related Issues  
The Media  
Further Readings  
Chapter 14. Intelligence Reform
The Purpose of Reform  
Issues in Intelligence Reform  
Key Terms  
Further Readings  
Chapter 15. Foreign Intelligence Services
Other Services  
Other Services in Brief  
Further Readings  
Appendix 1. Additional Bibliographic Citations and Websites
Appendix 2. Major Intelligence Reviews or Proposals
Author Index
Subject Index

“Mark Lowenthal’s Intelligence: From Secrets to Policy is a marvelous guide to the discipline’s concepts and theories, and it keeps getting better with each edition. It is nuanced and comprehensive without losing sight of the big picture–that is, the key points that every scholar and practitioner must understand when it comes to the real world of strategic intelligence. Whether as an intelligence analyst, a manager, an overseer on Capitol Hill, or an outside scholar, Lowenthal has been there, done that.  He brings a superb sense of realism and practicality into his book, while at the same time tapping into the most important scholarly research on the topic. Bravo!”

Dr. Loch K. Johnson
University of Georgia

Intelligence: From Secrets to Policy remains the standard by which all other intelligence studies textbooks should be evaluated. Each chapter covers its topic clearly and concisely, conveying the information within with just the right amount of detail; the sidebar boxes offer excellent topics for classroom discussion. The book is comprehensive and covers topics that are themselves each book worthy.”

Greg Moore
Notre Dame College

“Lowenthal’s Intelligence: From Secrets to Policy is a comprehensive text which reflects current events and new developments in the field. It is able to introduce difficult to understand concepts in ways that students are readily able to comprehend.”

John Comiskey
Monmouth University

Intelligence: From Secrets to Policy is incredibly informative, timely, well-written, and easily accessible by students and professionals alike. Mark Lowenthal starts by providing a baseline for understanding the role that "intelligence" plays in the operation of a government and its interactions with other countries. He then provides historical context for the development of the U.S. intelligence community. From there, we get a deep look into the practice of intelligence and the broad spectrum of roles with the intelligence community, from protecting our secrets and obtaining the secrets of others. The use of intelligence in formulating policy is also an essential element discussed here and, in a "post-Snowden" era, Lowenthal's discussions of accountability, ethics, and reform are very timely and insightful.”

Gary C. Kessler, Ph.D.
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach, Florida

A comprehensive text about everything intelligence

Mr Christopher Martinez
History/Phil/Pol Science Dept, Kingsborough Community College
June 17, 2019
Key features


  • New discussion of the implications of several major events including the rise of the Islamic State, the nuclear agreement with Iran, and the Senate Intelligence Committee’s staff report on enhanced interrogation techniques.
  • New sections added including a brief summary of the major laws, discussion of whistleblowers vs. leakers, and the growing field of Financial Intelligence.
  • New re-evaluation of the cyber issue and discussion of cyber as a possible new collection "INT."
  • Includes an updated and expanded chapter on the foreign intelligence services.
  • Contains fully updated bibliographies at the end of each chapter.


  • Offers the most comprehensive, unbiased treatment of US Intelligence in the market.
  • Up-to-date coverage of recent events and trends keeps the topics current and relevant.
  • Clear and concise writing style makes this book suitable for students at every level of experience. 

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 5

Chapter 12

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