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For the President's Eyes Only

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In this impressive survey, British historian Andrew (Her Majesty's Secret Service) assesses the extent to which U.S. secret intelligence has been influenced by the personalities and policies of our presidents. Although George Washington and Woodrow Wilson made good use of secret intelligence, the author shows there was no official American intelligence community until WWII, when Franklin D. Roosevelt relied more attentively on intelligence collection and analysis than any previous president. But, Andrew notes, only Dwight Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy and George Bush showed a flair for using intelligence. Eisehower's wartime command experience exploiting covert resources served him well when he became chief executive; JFK presided over the most spectacular intelligence success of the Cold War, the Cuban missile crisis (the author, however, faults Kennedy for poor judgment in the Bay of Pigs invasion). As for George Bush, the first former CIA director elected to the White House, Andrew demonstrates that he had a better grasp of intelligence capabilities than any of his predecessors. Andrew's interpretations are often striking: "The most powerful government ever to fall as a result of covert action was the administration of Richard Nixon."

-Publisher's Weekly

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