Although the cold war has ended and the Soviet Union has disbanded, there is still a need of intelligence collection for the United States. Finding itself as the leader of the rest of the world, the United States must prepare to identify problems as they arise, the earlier the detection, the more likelihood for success. With any one intelligence agency having too much information, problems could arise; therefore, it is imperative to keep a close watchful eye on these agencies to ensure that personal rights are not infringed upon. The success of intelligence gathering agencies is hard to determine. It is difficult to argue that covert operations had much of an impact on the outcome of the cold war (Nutter), but the cold war was not and is not the only objective for intelligence agencies. In fact, since the cold war the intelligence agencies of the United States have accomplished several tasks set before them; for instance, assisting other countries in identifying terrorists like Carlos the Jackal in Sudan, the head of the Shining Path in Peru, and the ring leader of the World Trade Center Bombing in the Philippines.
As the leader of the world in the 21 ST century, the United States intelligence agencies must keep up this highest level of information gathering procedures in order to stay ahead of any upcoming problems down the road. With intelligence gathering operations being utilized as collection assets on embassies of opposing nations based in the United States, careful consideration must be used when working so close with the American public. Everyday information that may appear irrelevant could be very valuable to domestic or foreign-based companies for advertising campaigns, marketing forecasts, and price gouging. This type of information leakage is a violation of an American’s rights. One problem with having so much information at home and abroad is seeing the correct way to solve dilemmas before they occur. While in war actions of questionable ethics often go unanswered and are hardly given a second thought.
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In 1941 when the Czech military intelligence service approached the British Special Operations Executive for assistance in an assassination of a German SS Officer no questions were raised, not even about who the target maybe (Rich elson).
With any agency possessing too much knowledge internally, it may choose to take the short road to ensure success of a mission. Thus, the American public should support the United States intelligence agencies, but keep a close watchful eye on them as well. Other sources are not so easy to compromise. A high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft was designed during Eisenhower’s Presidency. This aircraft was thought to be nearly undetectable as was required for its Soviet Union missions (Bissell).
The missions were closely watched and the aircraft was rarely authorized to deviate from the fight plan due to possible compromise of the mission. Since there was little opportunity for the flight path to deviate there was also little opportunity for misuse of aircraft’s sensors. This cutting edge technology in the 1950’s was very dangerous as was apparent when the Soviets shot down Francis Gary Powers on May 1, 1960 (POW-MIA).
With the new technologies in overhead reconnaissance flourishing and the U-2 missions of the Eisenhower administration now obsolete, the United States turns to the new eyes in the skies, which are capable of deviation without compromising missions. Today we have satellite technology and with this fairly new type of overhead reconnaissance there is a greater risk of misuse, which requires more responsibility. Despite their sophisticated photo-technology, these satellites do not have x-ray vision and cannot see through roofs, but they have become imperative to information collecting on opposing nations (Johnson).
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One problem with a satellite is it is easy for the cameras to wonder around while in orbit and the United States is not authorized to gather intelligence on American citizens. These satellites are an absolute must for the United States intelligence agencies, but they do require a close watchful eye. For the United States to remain the leading world power over all other nations, intelligence agencies must be allowed to collect, analyze, and disseminate appropriate data, but this information must be carefully guarded and not allowed to fall into the wrong hands or compromise the rights of American citizens. WORKS CITED Bissell Jr. , Richard. Reflections of a Cold Warrior.
NewHaven: Yale University Press, 1996. Johnson, Loch. Secret Agencies. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1996. Nutter PhD, John. The CIA’s Black Ops.
New York: Amherst, Prometheus Books, 2000. POW-MIA, Francis Gary Powers, the U-2, US & USSR. < web Jeffrey. A Century of Spies.
New York: Oxford University Press, 1995.