One of the least appreciated facts about the intelligence profession is that it exists in, and is influenced by, a very complex environment—one that includes everything from its relationships with policymakers, legislatures, military services, foreign partners, and last but not least, to its interaction with the public. How intelligence relates to all of these arenas—and how it is regarded within them— ultimately affects everything from intelligence performance to funding to recruitment of personnel. The public is a particularly important part of this environment. But unlike military services, intelligence organizations do not have recruitment centers in every mid-sized town; nor do most families have some member who has served in intelligence. Hence, what most in the public think about intelligence depends to a large extent on what they see in cinematic, documentary, and novelistic sources like those reviewed in this issue. This is particularly the case in the United States, but I suspect it is true by varying degree in all of the countries our reviewers represent or have spent time in.
As the reviewers make clear, what the public sees and reads is with rare exception fantasy mixed with a few kernels of truth. This is particularly true when it comes to American authors and directors. We have not yet produced an espionage novelist with the maturity and perfect pitch so frequently found in the work of British masters such as John le Carré [...]
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