John Diamond


Diamond, John. The CIA and the Culture of Failure: U.S. Intelligence from the End of the Cold War to the Invasion of Iraq. Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press, 2008.

Aftergood, Secrecy News, 1 Oct. 2008, finds that the author "writes without identifiable animus towards the CIA, and gives due weight to the agency's defenders and the critics of its critics. Even on well-rehearsed topics such as the CIA's failure to anticipate the collapse of the Soviet Union, he adds significant nuance and avoids cliche."

For George, Studies 53.1 (Mar. 2009), the title of this work "is off-putting and misleading," but the author is pointing to "a steady decline in CIA's status and performance." The focus is on analysis, and Diamond "says very little ... about collection and covert operaions.... [L]ike many books of the 'failure' genre, this one suffers from hindsight bias." Nonetheless, "the book makes an important contribution by highlighting the inherently inseparable nature of policy and the intelligence work behind it."

Jervis, I&NS 25.2 (Apr. 2010), notes that the author's concept of failure "refers to an atmosphere of declining confidence in the abilities of US intelligence to do its job." Despite Diamond's occasional conflating of the CIA and the wider intelligence community and being "surprisingly wordy" in his presentation, the work "is still a major achievement." It covers "a great deal of ground with care and thoroughness and develop[s] an important argument that ... differs from more conventional accounts."


Diamond, John. "Cost of Building Unmanned Spy Planes Rises Sharply, Audit Finds." Philadelphia Inquirer, 16 Dec. 1998. []

A General Accounting Office report says that "[t]he cost of building unmanned spy planes for the U.S. military is shooting up by nearly 50 percent, but the Pentagon has no plans to scrap the program.... Global Hawk, a non-stealthy aircraft being designed by Teledyne Ryan Aeronautical, will cost an estimated $13.7 million, the GAO said. The radar-evading DarkStar aircraft designed by Lockheed Martin will cost $14.8 million, according to the latest estimate."


Diamond, John. "Ex-CIAer Pleads Guilty to Extortion." Washington Post, 27 Jul. 1998. []

On 27 July 1998, Douglas Groat pleaded guilty to trying to extort a million dollars from the Agency, avoiding a trial for espionage.


Diamond, John. "Ex-Pentagon Analyst Indicted on Spy Charges." Associated Press, 6 Nov. 1998. []

On 5 November 1998, a grand jury in Alexandria, VA, indicted former NSA analyst David Sheldon Boone on charges of spying for the KGB.


Diamond, John M. "Problems and Prospects in U.S. Imagery Intelligence." National Security Studies Quarterly, Spring 1997.

The discussion is of U.S. space-based imagery intelligence.

[NRO/90s & Sats/Arts]

Diamond, John M. "Re-examining Problems and Prospects in U.S. Imagery Intelligence." International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 14, no. 1 (Spring 2001): 1-24.

The focus here is on space-based imagery intelligence. The discussion flows out of five "key points" identified by the author:

"1. The U.S. space imagery community has yet to clearly lay out a path forward that is unanimously supported within the intelligence community and by congressional overseers.

"2. The current space imagery intelligence architecture has yet to demonstrate an ability to contribute decisively in one of the nation's most important national security areas: terrorism and weapons proliferation.

"3. The primary mission of imagery intelligence is trending away from the national strategic mission of the Cold War and toward a real-time battlefield information role....

"4. Despite a major transformation of the major national security challenges facing the United States, the imagery intelligence system in use today is essentially the same as that used during the Cold War.

"5. Among sophisticated adversaries, development of the skills involved in denying and deceiving observation from space appears to be outpacing advancement in satellite intelligence collection."

[MI/Imagery; NRO/01; Recon/Sats/Arts/00s]

Diamond, John. "U.S. Verifies Arms Reduction with Espionage Photos: Old Pictures Help Locate Secure Sites for Storage of Nuclear Warheads." Detroit News, 17 Feb. 1999. []

Report on a symposium about the declassified photographs from CIA's Corona program, held 16 February 1999 at the Carnegie Endowment for Peace. The report errs in stating that Corona "was developed by rocket scientists pressing to find a replacement for U-2 spy planes after the downing of Francis Gary Powers' U-2 in 1960"; the program was well advanced by May 1960.


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