Directors of Central Intelligence


U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. Office of Public Affairs. "Profiles in Leadership." Sep. 2013.

Brief "profiles" accompanied by pictures of the 23 leaders who have directed the CIA and its predecessors from 1941 to 2012.

Curl, Joseph. "Bush Signs Intelligence Orders." Washington Times, 28 Aug. 2004. [http://www.washingtontimes.com]

On 27 August, 2004, President Bush signed a executive order granting the DCI "many of the functions" of the proposed national intelligence director. According to a senior administration official, the move gives "the CIA director temporary authority over budgetary issues" at NSA, DIA, and NRO.

Another executive order creates "a new National Counterterrorism Center (NCC) tasked with enhancing information sharing among intelligence agencies." The DCI "will appoint the NCC director, with the approval of the president, and oversee the new agency." See also, Dan Eggen, "Bush Gives CIA Director More Power," Washington Post, 28 Aug. 2004, A1.

Garthoff, Douglas F. Directors of Central Intelligence as Leaders of the U.S. Intelligence Community, 1946-2005. Washington, DC: Central Intelligence Agency, Center for the Study of Intelligence, 2005.

According to Peake, Studies 50.3 (Sep. 2006) and Intelligencer 15.2 (Fall-Winter 2006-2007), this "study discusses every DCI.... It focuses on how the DCI interpreted and worked to fulfill his 'community' role. It also examines how his position as head of the CIA influenced his relationship with the other members of the community... This study is historically valuable, especially for those seeking to understand Intelligence Community management."

Richelson, IJI&C 20.2 (2007), notes the relatively brief treatment accorded each of the 19 DCIs covered, leading to some topics being "limited, or even omitted." Similarly, the author's "sourcing is also quite limited." Nonetheless, "Garthoff's book is a valuable contribution to both the history of the U.S. Intelligence Community and the study of the roles played by various" DCIs.

Hastedt, Glenn. "Controlling Intelligence: The Role of the D.C.I." International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 1, no. 4 (1986): 25-40.

Johnson, Loch K. "The DCI vs. the Eight-Hundred-Pound Gorilla." International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 13, no. 1 (Spring 2000): 35-48.

The "eight-hundred-pound gorilla" is, of course, the Secretary of Defense, who controls about 85 per cent of the intelligence budget. The author argues that "the intelligence 'community' remains essentially a confederation of disparate elements.... [O]ngoing struggles between the values of unity and diversity in the national security establishment can be anticipated."

Linzer, Dafna. "Goss, 8 Ex-Chiefs of CIA Mark Old Post's Passing: Responsibilities Now Held by Negroponte." Washington Post, 17 Aug. 2005, A11. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

At CIA headquarters in Langley, VA, on 16 August 2005, "CIA Director Porter J. Goss threw a wake.... With eight former intelligence chiefs at his side, including former president George H.W. Bush, Goss honored the influential and powerful position they have all held: director of central intelligence, a job that no longer exists."

Nolte, William. "Preserving Central Intelligence: Assessment and Evaluation in Support of the DCI." Studies in Intelligence 48, no. 3 (2004): 21-25.

Before we abandon the office of the DCI, "we should at least explore options to strengthen and preserve it." This article focuses on "suggestions for correcting two related deficiencies in the intelligence establishment, the absence of an effective internal assessment mechanism in service of the DCI and the absence of an equivalent to the US military's 'combatant command' structure, which has proven invaluable to the defense establishment over the past half-century."

Phillips, David Atlee. "'Goodbye, Mr. President.' 'Enjoy Your Retirement, Director.'" International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 1, no. 2 (1986): 127-132.

Re departures of CIA directors.

Price, Victoria S. The DCI's Role in Producing Strategic Intelligence Estimates. Newport, RI: Center for Advanced Research, Naval War College, 1980.

Lowenthal finds this to be "an extremely useful analysis of the roles played by successive DCIs (through DCI Turner) on strategic estimates of the Soviet Union."

Robarge, David S. "A Long Look Back: Directors of Central Intelligence, 1946-2005." Studies in Intelligence 49, no. 3 (2005).

"The DCI really did not 'direct' something called 'central intelligence.' He was responsible for coordinating national collection and analysis, but he lacked the authority to do so, faced formidable competitors in other agencies, and had no constituency to support him. He had to walk the knife's edge between politics and politicization, and was the handy scapegoat for intelligence missteps often committed or set in train years before."

Thomas, Stafford T.

1. "On the Selection of Directors of Central Intelligence." Southeastern Political Review 9 (Spring 1981): 1-59.

2. "Presidential Styles and DCI Selection." International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 7, no. 2 (Summer 1994): 175-198.

3. "Presidential Styles and DCI Selection." Paper prepared for delivery at the 1993 Annual Meeting of the International Studies Association, Acapulco, Mexico, 24-27 Mar. 1993. [Private]

Turner, Stansfield. Burn Before Reading: Presidents, CIA Directors, and Secret Intelligence. New York: Hyperion Books, 2005.

Clark comment: Beyond its ridiculous title, Admiral Turner's survey of the relationships between Presidents and their DCIs is relatively brief, reads easily, and is filled with insights from the perspective of one who has been there. It is not necessary to agree with Turner's take on the history of the DCIs and their presidents, nor with his view of what needs to be done, to acknowledge the importance of his thoughts on such matters.

DKR, AFIO WIN 34-05 (6 Sep. 2005), notes that President Carter's DCI believes that "very few presidents worked well with their DCIs. Relationships were often severely strained over matters of politics, personality and loyalty.... In Turner's view, the difficulties in relations between presidents and DCIs led directly to the agency failing to prevent 9/11 and its faulty views on Saddam Hussein’s WMD program."

For Peake, Studies 50.1 (Mar. 2006), this as "a very interesting book." The former DCI "has given us an insightful, top-down look at the relationships between all heads of American intelligence from William Donovan to George Tenet and the presidents they served." He "is unexpectedly candid in discussing" his tenure as DCI. The admiral "takes no glee in the fact that most of his recommendations" for increasing the DCI's authority to manage the Intelligence Community "were echoed in the 9/11 Commission Report.... In the end, Turner suggests that breaking up the CIA ... would be best for the nation.... There is historical food for thought and discussion here."

Hutchinson, IJI&C 19.3 (Fall 2006), finds that "[t]he two most prominent issues in Turner's book are his continuing distrust of the CIA's Directorate of Operations and his strong emphasis upon increasing the authority of the DCI, now the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), to match the responsibilities of the office." To Singley, DIJ 16.1 (2007), this work "must be given high marks overall for the information on the foundations" of the American Intelligence Community.

U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. Center for the Study of Intelligence. History Staff. "Fifteen DCIs' First 100 Days." Studies in Intelligence 38, no. 5 (1995): 53-63.

Vignettes of the first 100 days of DCIs from Souers to Gates. Originally prepared in January 1993 as a background paper for incoming DCI Woolsey.

Warren, Ward. "Politics, Presidents, and DCIs." International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 8, no. 3 (Fall 1995): 337-344.

From the CIA's beginning "up to the end of Bush's tenure in January 1977, directors and lower officers alike took the agency's non-political and non-ideological approach as a point of pride.... Jimmy Carter changed all this when he refused George Bush's offer to stay on through the change of administration.... For the first time, the director was replaced at the beginning of a new regime, and by someone who was chosen purely for his political ideology."

Reagan followed by nominating "the most overtly political director possible." However, Webster, Gates, and Woolsey were non-ideological appointments, "at least to the extent that party affiliation was not an issue." Warren notes that the "political" directors (Dulles, Turner, and Casey) have involved -- or failed to prevent involvement of -- their presidents and the CIA in some sort of difficulty that should have been anticipated. Warren concludes that "excessive political influence within an administration is not a quality that enhances a Director of Central Intelligence." (At the time this article appeared, Warren was the Curator, Historical Intelligence Collection, Central Intelligence Agency.)

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