Philip Davies – The CIA versus the NIE

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Event Date: 29 April – 1 May 2011
East Midlands Conference Centre
University of Nottingham  
University Park
Nottingham NG7 2RJ



Landscapes of Secrecy: The CIA in History, Fiction and Memory


Dr Philip Davies (Brunel University) – The CIA versus the NIE

One of the most common misunderstandings in intelligence literature is the common view that National Intelligence Estimates are a CIA product, or at least were prior to the 2004 Intelligence Reorganization and Terrorism Prevention Act. In fact NIE’s have been produced formally outside CIA since 1965 and the Agency’s relationship with national assessments has been one of the most persistently troubled aspects of the US intelligence community since the modern system’s inception in the mid-1940s. Not only did the production of NIEs embody and drive interagency divisions and rivalries in what Amy Zegart has evocatively called the ‘intelligence cacophany’ it was also one of a number of increasingly significant wedges steadily driven between the Director of Central Intelligence and CIA by the DCI’s dual role as chief of the Agency as well as head of the intelligence community as a whole. This paper examines three critical steps in the progressive divorce of NIE production from CIA and its transfer to the Office of the DCI in order to try credibly cast the NIE as a ‘community’ rather than ‘agency’ product that culminated in the eventual establishment of the National Intelligence Officers in 1974 and the National Intelligence Council. The three points examined in this paper are the 1949 Dulles-Jackson-Correa review, the 1952 establishment of the Office and Board of National Estimates and finally the 1965 transfer of the ONE/BNE machine from CIA to the ODCI.

Dr. Philip H.J. Davies is Director of the Brunel University Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies (BCISS) which he co-founded in 2003 and then served as then Deputy as its Deputy-Director until 2008. He recently led Brunel’s participation in the production of the UK’s new military Joint Intelligence Doctrine (JDP 2-00) and innovative joint doctrine on Understanding (JDP 04 in partnership with Defence Intelligence and the MoD’s Development, Concepts and Doctrine Centre. He has published extensively on the organisation and management of intelligence institutions initially with a study of the UK’s Secret Intelligence Service (MI6 and the Machinery of Spying (T&F 2004)) and most recently completed a 2-volume comparative study of national intelligence in Britain and the United States (Intelligence and Government in Britain and the United States (forthcoming in late 2011/early 2012 from Praeger Security International))11. He also developed Brunel’s innovative and highly subscribed MA in Intelligence and Security Studies and is currently heading Brunel’s participation in the EU-funded Leonardo da Vinci consortium on Competitive Intelligence in Trade and Export (CITEX).

Contact information: Brunel Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies, School of Social Sciences, Brunel University, Uxbridge, Middlesex, UB8 3PH, UK.

Email: philip.davies@brunel.ac.uk

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