PJ Neal

Thoughts from a more-than-occasional writer

Intelligence Community Leaders Are Readers – and Writers, Too [North American Society for Intelligence History]

Harry Truman famously said, “all leaders are readers.” In the Intelligence Community, they are writers, too. This bibliography, created as part of a larger research effort, includes all the book-length works written by heads of US Intelligence Community member organizations.

The list is long – 204 entries – and the topics covered are both impressive and diverse. They reflect the histories and focus areas of specific agencies, the careers and professional backgrounds of the individuals who led them, and the unique personal interests of authors who are, at the end of the day, human: Roger Hilsman, the Director of the Bureau of Intelligence and Research from 1961 to 1963 wrote about nuclear issues and foreign relations, as well as a Chinese cooking. His successor, William Hyland (1974-1975) produced thoughtful works on US-Russian relations, as well as a biographies of songwriters Richard Rodgers and George Gershwin. William Casey, the head of the Central Intelligence Agency from 1981 to 1987, wrote extensively about tax and legal issues, reflecting his long career as a corporate lawyer. Thomas Reed, who led the National Reconnaissance Office (1976 – 1977), is a novelist. The list goes on.

Any bibliography requires the editor to establish some subjective criteria for inclusion. Books by acting agency heads are included here, as are collections of speeches, but not reprints of individual remarks. It ignores book chapters, academic works, think tank reports, and government publications, and includes only English-language publications. Defunct organizations, such as the Black Chamber, are not included, and in situations where a single office within a larger agency is a member of the IC, but no office heads have written books, I have included those written by the overall agency heads (Department of Energy, Federal Bureau of Investigation). Lastly, three forthcoming books – from James Clapper, James Comey, and Michael Hayden – are included.

Taken in aggregate, the collective writings of these agency leaders is staggering in both breadth and depth. The provide insight into not only the challenges the United States has faced since its founding, but also on the individuals who serve our nation in and out of the spotlight.

Read the full piece in the newsletter of the North American Society for Intelligence History.