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Digital National Security Archive (DNSA): U.S. Espionage and Intelligence, 1947–1996

About this Collection

This collection provides a detailed description of the varied civilian and military organizations that constitute the U.S. intelligence community, their past and present operations, and the mechanisms by which the community's activities are managed. The collection consists of 1,180 documents, totaling 36,023 pages.

Research Value of the Collection

The documents reproduced in U.S. Espionage and Intelligence provide a unique documentary record of U.S. intelligence community organizations, operations, and management. They portray the bureaucratic reality underlying " some of the most highly secret activities of the U.S. government. Thus, the varied organization and functions manuals provide detailed information on the structure and responsibilities of the numerous and often obscure intelligence organizations that make up the U.S. intelligence community.

The regulations issued by the various intelligence organizations give the researcher insight into the procedures and activities involved in performing specific missions — whether the mission be intelligence analysis, intelligence collection (such as signals intelligence or nuclear monitoring), or the acquisition of foreign military equipment. A researcher will be able to examine entire regulations of interest, rather than to rely solely on the portions quoted or paraphrased in other works.

Also of great value are the interagency directives (such as presidential national security directives, National Security Council Intelligence Directives, Director of Central Intelligence Directives) that form a significant part of the document collection.

Two further categories of documents will be of significant value to researchers — command histories and official studies of intelligence community structure and performance. Command histories of military intelligence units provide yearly, often detailed, accounts of the activities of these units. Also included are all official studies performed concerning the intelligence community's structure and performance that have been released or appeared since the publication of the Archive's The U.S. Intelligence Community document set.

Documents in the set that cut across all categories will be useful to researchers exploring changes in the intelligence community in reaction to the collapse of the Soviet Union and the lessons of the Persian Gulf War.