Why Central Intelligence Thrives Amid Dogmas of Decentralization and Privatization

Nick Cullather
Indiana University

The CIA was not the first U.S. intelligence agency, but it was the first to aspire to collect all relevant facts into a single information stream under a single authority. From inception therefore, it has conflicted with anti-bureaucratic and neoliberal discourses that see unitary state monopolies as inherently inefficient and dangerous. Starting with the agency’s origins in 1947, this paper will survey some of the ways in which intelligence officials have sought to defend their agency’s position and to defuse–or to turn to their advantage–the rhetoric of anti-statism.