Aerial Photography and Imagery Intelligence

A - C


American Intelligence Journal. "Reconnaissance Intelligence." 19, nos. 3 & 4 (1999-2000): Entire issue.

Click for the individual articles in this issue.

American Society of Photogrammetry. Manual of Photographic Interpretation. Washington, DC: 1960. [Petersen]

Best, Richard A., Jr. Imagery Intelligence: Issues for Congress. Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress, 12 Apr. 2002. Available at

The importance of imagery intelligence "has been growing significantly in recent years. The challenge is to design organizations to obtain, analyze, and disseminate the result of new technologies to support an evolving defense and national security structure while remaining within budgetary constraints. The mixture of cutting-edge technologies, complex organizational structures, and budgetary limitations complicate decision-making." Includes useful appendices focused on the NRO and NIMA.

Boxhall, Peter. "Aerial Photography and Photographic Interpreters: 1915 to the Gulf War." Army Quarterly and Defense Journal, Apr. 1992, 204-209.

Brugioni, Dino.

1. "Aerial Photography: Reading the Past, Revealing the Future." Smithsonian 14, no. 12 (Dec. 1984): 150-161.

2. "The Art and Science of Photo Reconnaissance." Scientific American, Mar. 1996, 78-85.

3. "Auschwitz and Birkenau: Why the World War II Photo Interpreters Failed to Identify the Extermination Complex." Military Intelligence 9, no. 1 (Jan.-Mar. 1983): 50-55.

4. and Robert Poirier. "The Holocaust Revisited: A Retrospective Analysis of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Extermination Complex." Studies in Intelligence 22, no. 4 (Winter 1978): 11-29. Studies in Intelligence: 45th Anniversary Special Edition (Fall 2000): 87-105.

Brugioni, Dino A. Eyeball to Eyeball: The Inside Story of the Cuban Missile Crisis. New York: Random House, 1991.

Clark comment: This is a truly marvelous piece of work in terms of its explanation of the integration of a specific form of intelligence -- imagery -- into the decisionmaking process. It is a tale told by someone who was in a position to know what was going on "in the trenches" and who has spent considerable time and thought in the intervening years coming to terms with the place of his and others' efforts in one of the defining moments of the nuclear age. While we are unlikely to see a better intelligence-oriented study of the Cuban Missile Crisis than Brugioni's, I recommend that a reader coming to the crisis for the first time and without a strong policy background consider reading Allison's Essence of Decision along with Eyeball to Eyeball.

Chambers calls Eyeball to Eyeball "a terrific account from an insider at the NPIC," while Allen, DIJ 1.2, says the work is a "monumental accomplishment and ... a first-rate contribution." According to Knoche, IJI&C 5.4, Brugioni provides "new dimensions and insights." The book's "strength ... is its description of the crucial role played by American intelligence in its illumination of the gathering threat." This is a "marvelous piece of research" and "a seminal work." Surveillant 2.2 sees the book as the "ultimate insiders high-tech view of the Cuban Missile Crisis.... All the excitement of a four-star movie."

In a more critical vein, Sheinin, I&NS 9.1, comments that the author's "confidence in the significance of the spy data he helped to develop is overstated.... In spite of the range of technical and evidence data supplied, the author is telling no secrets." In an article in NIPQ 8.4, Hal Feeney, CDR/USN (Ret.) -- who was Chief, Cuba Branch, DIA Estimates, in 1962 -- argues that while Brugioni's work is "the definitive work" on the Cuban Missile Crisis, his broader political analysis is flawed by "his general adulation of President Kennedy."

Bates, NIPQ 14.2, notes in retrospect that Brugioni clearly had access to the tapes from the recording system President Kennedy installed in the Oval Office and Cabinet Room in the Summer of 1962. Therefore, the previously troublesome quotation marks around conversations to which Brugioni could not have been privy are not so troublesome after all.

Brugioni, Dino A. From Balloons to Blackbirds: Reconnaissance, Surveillance, and Imagery Intelligence -- How It Evolved. Intelligence Profession Series, No. 9. McLean, VA: Association of Former Intelligence Officers, 1993.

Brugioni, Dino A.

1. Photo Fakery: A History of Deception and Manipulation. New York: Brassey's, 1999.

According to Jonkers, AFIO WIN 17-00 (28 Apr. 2000), the author "covers some of the tricks of the trade, ways of enhancing, faking, altering, or manipulating photographic images." The book "abounds in anecdotes and stories, well written, readable and useful." Cohen, FA 79.4, calls this a "fascinating book" that "is a primer on how purveyors of [photographic] information manipulate or falsify it." The author "unveils some of the techniques for detecting photo fraud, using a rich array of examples from the Cold War."

2. "Spotting Photo Fakery." Studies in Intelligence 13, no. 1 (Winter 1969): 57-67.

Westerfield: "A guide for the layman."

Brugioni, Dino. "The Unidentifieds." Studies in Intelligence 13, no. 3 (Summer 1969): 1-20. In Inside CIA's Private World: Declassified Articles from the Agency's Internal Journal, 1955-1992, ed. H. Bradford Westerfield, 8-26. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1995.

Brugioni, Dino.

1. and Frederick J. Doyle. "Arthur C. Lundahl: Founder of the Image Exploitation Discipline." In Corona -- Between the Earth and the Sun: The First NRO Reconnaissance Eye in Space, ed. Robert A. McDonald, 159-168. Bethesda, MD: American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing, 1997.

2. and Robert F. McCort. "British Honors for Lundahl." Studies in Intelligence 19, no. 1 (Spring 1975): 9-12.

"Arthur C. Lundahl, Director of the National Photographic Interpretation Center [NPIC] from its inception [in 1953] to 1973, was awarded the Order of the British Empire, with rank of Honorary Knight Commander, in ceremonies at the British Embassy on 17 December 1974." The article reviews Lundahl's contributions to the history of U.S. photointerpretation.

Cain, John W. "Technical Factors in Aerospace Photography." Studies in Intelligence 6, no. 4 (Fall 1962): 1-8.

The author offers "insight into some of the technical factors involved in getting high-quality aerial photographs."

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