The U.S. Intelligence Community: Information Resources

This is a selective guide to resources at Columbia University Libraries and on the Internet, for conducting research on U.S. government agencies involved in intelligence activities, the classification and declassification of government documents related to intelligence activities, and Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. Some of the items included may also have information about commercial espionage or intelligence activities of foreign governments, but that is not the focus of this guide.

Start your research with a guide:

  • Chapman, Bert.
    Researching National Security and Intelligence Policy.
    Washington, D.C. : CQ Press, c2004.
    Call Number: UA 23 .C5135 2004

Resources marked with this symbol are restricted to Columbia affiliates.

Online Catalogs

  • CLIO: Columbia Libraries Online Catalog
    CLIO is the online catalog for the Columbia and Barnard libraries. It includes over 4 million records for books, journal or newspaper titles (not articles), online resources, government documents, microforms, sound or video recordings, archival collections, etc.
  • Pegasus: Columbia University Law School Library Online Catalog
    Pegasus includes: U.S. federal and state law, selected Commonwealth jurisdictions, major foreign language collections and, since 1983, vernacular and Western language materials pertaining to law in Japan and the People's Rep. of China.
  • WorldCat
    An online catalog of the collections of 24,000 member libraries of the OCLC consortium, comprising more than 36 million records for books, serials, manuscript collections, audiovisual materials, computer files, and other media.
  • Borrow Direct
    A borrowing service offered by the university libraries of Columbia, Brown, Cornell, Dartmouth, Pennsylvania, Princeton, and Yale. It is designed to allow students, faculty and staff to request (and receive in four days) books directly from each other's collections.

Background Information

For books about the history of intelligence services in the U.S. , check CLIO under the subject heading: Intelligence service --United States--History.

Bibliographies, Indexes and Databases

  • Air University Library Index to Military Periodicals. Quarterly.
    Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.: Air University Library,1949-
    Call Number: Z 5063.A2 U8
  • American Foreign Policy and Treaty Index (AFPTI).
    Washington, D.C. : Congressional Information Service, 1993-1999.
    Call Number: Z 1245 .A45 (Copies available in multiple locations)
       A comprehensive index, with abstracts, to key foreign policy documents produced by the executive branch, Congress, and independent agencies, including some of the intelligence agencies. Both depository and non-depository publications are indexed, with an accompanying AFPTI microfiche set of the full text of the non-depository publications.
  • Clark, J. Ransom.
    The Literature of Intelligence: a Bibliography of Materials, with Essays, Reviews, and Comments, 2004
    Compiled by a former CIA officer.
  • Current Military and Political Literature: Comment and Abstracts & Citations of Important Articles from International Military and Defence Periodicals. Bimonthly.
    Oxford : Military Press, 1983-1993.
    Call Number: Z 6721 .C82
  • Intelligence, Espionage and Related Topics : an Annotated Bibliography of Serial, Journal and Magazine Scholarship, 1844-1998.
    Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, 1999.
    Call Number: R016.355 In8
  • International Political Science Abstracts. Bimonthly.
    Paris: International Political Science Association, 1951-
    Call Number: JA 36 .I5 (Copies available in multiple locations)
  • Jane's Online
    Jane's Online provides full text access to Jane's Geopolitical Library, Defence Weekly, International Defense Review, Intelligence Review, All the World's Aircraft, Fighting Ships, and World Defense Industry, as well as news and information sources.
  • ProQuest Congressional
    A comprehensive index, mostly with full text, to congressional publications. Intelligence community materials may be located under the subject heading "Intelligence Services" and the names of the individual agencies.
  • Lowenthal, Mark M.
    The U.S. Intelligence Community: an Annotated Bibliography.
    New York: Garland Publishing, 1994.
    Call Number: Z 6724.I7 L69 1994
       Contains not only valuable annotations to items on intelligence theory and practice, history and organization, oversight, and other bibliographies, but also a very useful appendix with the full text of the most important legislation and executive orders pertaining to U.S. intelligence.
  • PAIS International. Monthly.
    New York: Public Affairs Information Service, 1915- .
    Call Number: Z 7163 .P922 (Copies available in multiple locations)
  • Petersen, Neal H.
    American Intelligence, 1775-1990: a Bibliographical Guide.
    Claremont, CA : Regina Books, 1992.
    Call Number: Z 6724.I7 P48 1992
  • Rand Corporation. Search Rand Documents. Quarterly.
    Santa Monica, CA.: Rand, 1964-
        Most RAND reports and documents are available full text.
  • Strategic Intelligence. 5 vol.
    Westport, Conn. : Praeger Security International, 2007.
    Call Number: UB 250 .S6385 2007
  • Worldwide Political Science Abstracts
    The database contains abstracts of books and articles from professional journals and major news magazines, devoted to North American and international politics.

Intelligence Reform

Congressional Oversight & Budget

Intelligence activities are conducted by numerous departments, agencies, and bureaus within the executive branch of the government. Congress plays a role in the areas of authorization, funding and accountability. The items in this section address that often contested relationship.

The variety of documents (located in the U.S. Government Documents Collection on microfiche) related to appropriations for intelligence activities can be located in CLIO by the following subject searches:

There is a useful compilation of intelligence laws issued biennally:

  • Compilation of Intelligence Laws and Related Laws and Executive Orders of Interest to the National Intelligence Community.
    Washington, D.C.: U.S. House of Representatives, 1983-
    Call Number: U.S. Government Documents (microfiche) Y 4.In 8/18:L 44 [date]

Other sources:

Classified/Declassified Documents

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

Other Web Resources

  • Association of Former Intelligence Officers
    AFIO's educational focus is on fostering understanding of the vital importance and role of US intelligence, firstly in terms of understanding the critical need for US foreign intelligence collection and evaluation as well as special operations and covert activities, using both high technology and human sources, supporting the President, US policy and decision makers, diplomacy, strategy, security and defense, and secondly, in terms of understanding the critical need for effective counterintelligence against foreign political, technological or economic espionage as well as clandestine actions and covert, terrorist or criminal operations threatening US security, the national infrastructure, or corporate and individual safety.
  • Centre for Counterintelligence and Security Studies
    The Centre for Counterintelligence and Security Studies (called the CI Centre) and the Centre for Counterterrorism Studies (CT Studies) of Alexandria, Virginia is a non-governmental center committed to excellence in counterintelligence, counterterrorism and security education, analysis and leadership to serve you and your organization's needs. We provide advanced counterintelligence and security training, counterterrorism training, research and analysis for the US Government, the Intelligence Community and private sector companies. Our aim is to increase the number of people within these communities who have a broad and deep understanding of the counterintelligence discipline and its strategic importance to mission success.
  • Cold War International History Project
    CWIHP was established at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C., in 1991. The project supports the full and prompt release of historical materials by governments on all sides of the Cold War, and seeks to disseminate new information and perspectives on Cold War history emerging from previously inaccessible sources on "the other side" -- the former Communist bloc. Registration required.
  • Cryptome
    A database of more than 6000 documents, articles, and news reports related to U.S. intelligence and classification matters, provided by John Young.
  • The FAS Intelligence Resource Program
    A "comprehensive resource on the past and future of the American intelligence community," from the Federation of American Scientists, it includes sections on Intelligence Systems and Programs, Intelligence Agencies and Budgets, Worldwide Intelligence Agencies, Documents and Records, Congressional Material, News Reports and Analysis, and more.
  • The FAS Project on Government Secrecy
    This is an extremely rich web site, also maintained by the Federation of American Scientists, which features the texts of White House memos and executive orders, Security Policy Board documents, other government documents related to secrecy questions, as well as issues of their publication, Secrecy and Government Bulletin.
  • National Military Intelligence Association
    The NMIA was formed in 1974 as an organization to network intelligence professionals in the Military Services, the Intelligence Agencies and Offices of the U.S. Government and Congress, within which they can share and exchange ideas for their individual professional enhancement and the good of the entire Intelligence Community.
  • Stratfor: Global Intelligence
    A private intelligence company which provides open-source information, current-awareness and analysis. Areas of focus are three Intelligence Centers: Global, CIS & Eastern Europe, and Asia; Hotspots (areas of current world conflict); Global Intelligence Update (GIU), a weekly and quarterly summary of events arranged around a specific theme; and quarterly and annual forecasts of economic and political events worldwide.
    Columbia University does NOT subscribe.

Office of the Director of National Intelligence

The Director of National Intelligence (DNI) serves as the head of the Intelligence Community (IC). The DNI also acts as the principal advisor to the President; the National Security Council, and the Homeland Security Council for intelligence matters related to the national security; and oversees and directs the implementation of the National Intelligence Program. The major publication of the DNI is:

The DNI establishes community-wide policy through a series of directives, which remain in force until they are updated or replaced. The nomenclature for these directives change over time. The following links are to web pages from the Federation of American Scientists, with lists of the directives, including full text of any directives which have been released, usually as a result of FOIA requests.

Central Intelligence Agency

For a list of books about the CIA, check CLIO under the subject heading: United States Central Intelligence Agency

Defense Intelligence Agency

Department of Energy

Department of Homeland Security

Department of State

  • United States. Dept. of State.
    Foreign Relations of the United States. Irregular.
    Washington : GPO, 1861-
    Call Number: JX 233 .A3 (Copies available in multiple locations)
    For additional print versions, search CLIO Title Search.
       Web Access: The Foreign Relations of the United States series presents the official documentary historical record of major U.S. foreign policy decisions and significant diplomatic activity. The series, which is produced by the State Department's Office of the Historian, began in 1861 and now comprises more than 350 individual volumes. The volumes published over the last two decades increasingly contain declassified records from all the foreign affairs agencies.
    Foreign Relations volumes contain documents from Presidential libraries, Departments of State and Defense, National Security Council, Central Intelligence Agency, Agency for International Development, and other foreign affairs agencies as well as the private papers of individuals involved in formulating U.S. foreign policy. Publication of FRUS volumes occurs after the declassification of the documents, therefore publication is delayed for the last (approx.) 30 years at any one time. It is edited by the State Department Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation, whose reports outline some of the conflicts between the academic concerns of the historians involved with FRUS and the agencies responsible for supplying the material.
  • Bureau of Intelligence and Research
  • Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism

Department of the Treasury

Federal Bureau of Investigation

The FBI is the lead counterintelligence agency in the United States. It has the principal authority to conduct and coordinate counterintelligence and counterterrorism investigations and operations within the United States. The FBI, supported by other U.S. agencies as needed, conducts espionage investigations when the subject of the investigation is not under the jurisdiction of the Department of Defense, Uniform Code of Military Justice.

National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA)

NGA provides timely, relevant, and accurate Geospatial Intelligence in support of national security. NGA was formerly known as National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA).

National Reconnaissance Office

The NRO designs, builds and operates the nation's reconnaissance satellites. NRO products, provided to an expanding list of customers like the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Department of Defense (DoD), can warn of potential trouble spots around the world, help plan military operations, and monitor the environment.

Its site also contains information and images from Corona, the nation's first photo reconnaissance satellite system, operating from August 1960 until May 1972. The program was declassified in February 1995.

National Security Agency

  • Memorandum from President Truman Establishing the NSA, October 24, 1952, courtesy of the National Security Archive
  • Bamford, James.
    The Puzzle Palace: a Report on America's Most Secret Agency.
    Boston : Houghton Mifflin, 1982.
    Call Number: UB 251.U5 B35 1982
  • Bamford, James.
    Body of Secrets : Anatomy of the Ultra-secret National Security Agency: from the Cold War Through the Dawn of a New Century.
    New York : Doubleday, c2001.
    Call Number: UB 256.U6 B36 2001
  • Burns, Thomas L.
    The Origins of the National Security Agency, 1940-1952
    Published in-house by the NSA's Center for Cryptologic History in 1990, it was originally classified as Top Secret. On 08 Sept 2004, it was declassified - minus certain passages - thanks to a Freedom of Information Act request; from the Memory Hole
  • National Security Agency: 60 Years of Defending Our Nation (2012)
  • The National Security Agency: Organization and Operations, 1945-2009
    Alexandra, VA : Chadwyck-Healey; Washington, D.C. : The National Security Archive, 2009
        A uniquely detailed collection of records documenting the history, mission, and intelligence collection and analytic operations of America's largest and most secretive intelligence agency, the National Security Agency (NSA) and its predecessor organizations. Documents have been culled from both archival sources and FOIA requests submitted to more than a dozen government departments and intelligence agencies over the past 25 years.
  • The National Security Agency Declassified, January 2000
    Fifteen documents concerning the creation and operations of the NSA, declassified courtesy of the National Security Archive.
  • The National Security Agency: Issues for Congress
    A CRS report, January 16, 2001
  • The National Security Agency's Declassification Initiative
    Under the provisions of Executive Order 12958 (Classified National Security Information), dated 17 April 1995, NSA is reviewing for declassification all permanently classified documents 25 years or older. This declassification effort, which NSA has named OPENDOOR, will include information about all documents declassified and made available to the public under E.O. 12958. As these documents are declassified, they will be turned over to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).

National Security Council

The National Security Council is the President's principal forum for considering national security and foreign policy matters with his senior national security advisors and cabinet officials. Since its inception under President Truman, the function of the Council has been to advise and assist the President on national security and foreign policies. The Council also serves as the President's principal arm for coordinating these policies among various government agencies. It's main publication is:

Military Service Intelligence Agencies

The intelligence organizations of the four military services (Air Force, Army, Navy, and Marines) concentrate largely on concerns related to their specific missions. Their analytical products, along with those of DIA, supplement the work of CIA analysts and provide greater depth on key technical issues.

Other Agencies