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in peacetime, but the lessons of its aftermath should bebut sadly, usually are notat the center of current debates about the role of intelligence in the “war” against terrorism. The problem with the intelligence failure of Pearl Harbor was not that information wasn’t gathered, but that there was no mechanism for coordinating all the bits of intelligence from all the various sources. The new CIA would prevent future failures on the scale of Pearl Harbor by coordinating and analyzing information collected by its own staff and by operatives in all the other intelligence agencies. There are unique attributes of the CIA compared to other American intelligence agencies \(National Security Agency, Office of Strategic Services, Office of Naval Jones concedes, such as its legislative genesis and its independence from the military. But in too many ways, the new organization repeated and even amplified the features of the intelligence agencies that preceded and became enfolded into it: a culture of hyperbole, self-promotion, and deception. And because the CIA came into its own during the Cold War and benefited both from the “blinding hyperbole of single-issue anti-communism” and from the resource building of policies of rewarding failure, new professional employees of the CIA “competed with one another to dream up schemes that would justify their salaries.” The creation of the CIA doesn’t end the tradition of the confidence man in American secret intelligence, he contends, it extends and institutionalizes it. The rest of Cloak and Dollar recounts the successes \(there are somethe failures of the CIA from the 1950s to the present. Jeffreys Jonescharges that as CIA operatives meddled in Guatemala and Iran, among other places, the habit of hyperbole “became part of a culture of mendacity, fusing seamlessly with disinformation campaigns at first aimed at foreigners but increasingly contaminating U.S. institutions and citizens.” The decades of the sixties and seventies form a “meaningful rhetorical interlude between the tenancies of those two great exponents of the mythology of espionage, Allen Dulles \(Director of significant event of this interlude was the investigation led by Senator Frank Church in the 1975. Jeffreys-Jones devotes an entire chapter to the Church hearings and concludes that the investigation yielded mixed results. The Church hearings reminded the public of the need for Congressional oversight of intelligence activities and inspired some specific reforms, but more important, Jeffreys-Jones argues, the hearings “educated the public about both the problems that can stem from a secret state and the need for an efficient foreign intelligence service” \(lessons we mittee, however, did nlhing to “dispel that great and abiding illusion, the belief in the confidence man as intelligence leader.” For proof of this assertion, one need only “review the stewardship of Ronald Reagan and William Casey in the 1980s.” The era of the confidence man achieves frightening new heights with the election of the supreme confidence man himself, Ronald Reagan, in 1980. Under the stewardship of Casey and Reagan, the CIA was “unleashed,” which meant “attacks on open government, a renewed surge in covert opera. tions, and a larger budget.” JeffreysJones’s criticism of this era of intelligence is particularly harsh: “Casey’s two-pronged, if inconsistent, strategy became an inheritanceaccording to the hype, he had battled the beast of communism and defeated it, conferring everlasting glory and appropriationsworthiness on the intelligence community.Yet, he had retasked the CIA and its intelligence siblings to combat drugs, nuclear proliferation, and alternative `menaces’ lying conveniently at hand. Victory and diversification would be potent companions in the great rhetorical carpetbag of the post-Cold War intelligence confidence man.” Of course we now live in an era of a new menace, terrorism, though some of the old ones still apparently stalk us as \\vell. The attempts to marry drugs to terrorism in the public imagination, which already seemed shameful and pandering, now seem especially insidious in light of the author’s argument that the practice of secret intelligence in America has ‘always used the confidence man’s strategy of painting the menace. This doesn’t suggest that terrorism isn’t a real threat and that secret intelligence isn’t a vital and necessary tool to protect American citizens and interests, but it’s critically important at this juncture to use history to frame debates about the menace of terrorism and the role of intelligence in combating it. Writing about the attacks on the World. Trade Center in the last paragraph of Cloak and Dollar; JeffreysJones warns: “The situation was custom-made for the intelligence confidence man and his political allies. Once again, the cries were heard: give them more money, unleash the CIA. Once again it was tempting to reward failure, and to resort to expensive, static, and home-based solutions.” Everyone agrees that the government should use all its intelligence resources to prevent another terrorist attack on the United States. But the proposed solution to the perceived failure in intelligence, as it has been for a century and a half, is to centralize and expand the bureaucracy, throw money at the new agency, and unfetter its operations from as many legal and ethical constraints as possible. Creating a cabinet-level post in charge of homeland security funded by $34.7 billion, suspending civil liberties in the name of national security, and charging the FBI and the CIA to play nice with each other are not novel solutions to an unprecedented menace. In JeffreysJones’s view, what we’re witnessing is just the latest instance of the confidence man’s game: While we bend in close to hear his urgent whispers in our ears, he pulls wallets out of our pockets and then convinces us that only he can protect us from dangers real and imagined. Elisabeth Picihnont-Nlarton is 0 writer who lives in Austin and an assistant prokssor of Evlish iii ,tionthwestern University. 715102 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 25