Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Intended for use in future years

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 13 Hours.
Seminars / Tutorials 10 Hours. (5 x 2 hours - 1 per fortnight)


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 1 x 2,500 word essay  40%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   (1 x 2 hour exam)  60%
Supplementary Exam

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

On completion of the module, students will be able to:

- assess critically and discuss how the US intelligence community has developed
- assess critically and discuss what functions it currently performs on behalf of the US Government
- assess critically and discuss how important intelligence has been to American war-making, defence planning and foreign policy
- evaluate methodological and historiographical problems in the study of intelligence

Students will also improve their skills of research, analysis and expression during the course, as well as those of time and learning resource management.

Brief description

The module examines the history and current activities of the US intelligence community, looking above all to see how it has promoted the political, military and other interests of the USA.


The module examines the historical development and current activities of the US intelligence community. Within that framework, it examines: how intelligence has assisted the USA's armed forces in war; how it has assisted American defence planning; how it has assisted American foreign policy; the role that covert operations have played in American foreign policy; what role intelligence and covert operatons have played in domestic politics; and how the intelligence community is held accountable to the USA's political system.


1. US Intelligence from the First World War to Pearl Harbour (1918-41)
2. US Intelligence in the Second World War (1941-45)
3. Truman and the Cold War (1945-1953)
4. Eisenhower and the Cold War (1953-61)
5. Intelligence in the Sixties: Cuba and Vietnam
6. Intelligence from Detente to the Cold War's End
7. The Federal Bureau of Investigation under J. Edgar Hoover (1924-72): counter-subversion
8. The FBI: counter-espionage and counter-terrorism
9. The 'Year of Intelligence' and the Accountability of US Intelligence
10. Technical Collection Systems and Human Sources
11. Covert Action during the Cold War
12. US intelligence today 1: 9/11 and counter-terrorism
13. US intelligence today 2: counter-proliferation, Iraq and other challenges


1. Intelligence in the Second World War
2. Covert action
3. Intelligence during the Cold War
4. Counter-intelligence and counter-subversion; Accountability
5. Intelligence on WMD and terrorism


The aims of the module are to provide students with an understanding of how the US intelligence community serves the US Government and how it has developed since the latter part of the nineteenth century. The module will demonstrate to students how US Intelligence has assisted American war-making and defence planning, and how it has enabled the United States to influence political developments worldwide.

Transferable skills

Students have the opportunity to develop, practise and test a wide range of transferable skills. In sum, they learn to understand, analyse and organise information and ideas. Throughout the module, students practice and develop their reading, comprehension and thinking skills, as well as self-management. In seminars, students enhance and develop their analytical skills and practice listening, explaining and debating skills. Essay-writing encourages students to practise independent research, writing, analytical and IT skills; the examination will test these skills under conditions of time constraint.

10 ECTS credits

Reading List

Supplementary Text
editors, Richard K. Betts and Thomas G. Mahnken. Paradoxes of strategic intelligence : essays in honor of Michael I. Handel Portland, OR ; London: Frank Cass Primo search Ambrose, Stephen E. (1998) Ike's spies : Doubleday, Primo search Bamford, James. The puzzle palace : Penguin Books, Primo search Craig Eisendrath National insecurity : U.S. intelligence after the Cold War Temple University Press Primo search Jeffreys-Jones, Rhodri Cloak and Dollar Yale U.P. Primo search Johnson, Loch K, (1999) Secret agencies : Yale University Press, Primo search Johnson, Loch K. America's secret power : Oxford University Press, Primo search Lowenthal, Mark M. US Intelligence edition 2r.e. Praeger Primo search Prados, John. Presidents' secret wars : I.R. Dee, Primo search Ranelagh, John. (1998) The agency : Weidenfeld and Nicolson, Primo search Treverton, Gregory F. Reshaping National Intelligence for an Age of Information Camb.U.P. Primo search Wirtz, James J, The Tet offensive : Cornell University Press, Primo search Wyden, Peter. Bay of Pigs : Cape, Primo search

C Andrew (1995) For the President's Eyes Only: Intelligence and the American Presidency from Washington to Bush Primo search E Drea (1992) MacArthur's ULTRA Primo search J Richelson (1999) The US Intelligence Community Primo search


This module is at CQFW Level 6