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Outsourcing US IntelligenceContractors and Government Accountability$
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Damien Van Puyvelde

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781474450225

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474450225.001.0001

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A Shared History of Successes and Excesses

A Shared History of Successes and Excesses

Chapter:
(p.39) 2 A Shared History of Successes and Excesses
Source:
Outsourcing US Intelligence
Author(s):

Damien Van Puyvelde

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9781474450225.003.0003

This chapter provides an in-depth account of the relationship between the U.S. intelligence apparatus and its private outriders, from the earliest days of the Republic to the end of the Cold War. Covering such a large period sheds light on the deep roots, the broad evolution, and the multiple opportunities and risks accompanying intelligence outsourcing. In the United States, the legitimacy of the federal government has always been entwined with the private sector and this is related to the values underpinning American political culture. As a result, the private intelligence industry continued to thrive, deepen and diversify its involvement in national security affairs when the federal government established itself more firmly in this realm. The institutionalization of intelligence in the twentieth century was accompanied by the diversification and formalisation of the ties between the intelligence community and its contractors. Contractors and their government sponsors share the responsibility for some of the greatest achievements and controversies in U.S. intelligence history, from the success of the U2 spy plane to the excesses of Project MKUltra. The history of U.S. intelligence is characterized by successive movements of expansion and regulation through which outsourcing and accountability have become increasingly intertwined.

Keywords:   Intelligence history, Institutionalisation, Outsourcing, Contractors, Cold War

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