Spying: Assessing U.S. Domestic Intelligence Since 9/11, Darren E. Tromblay

Reviewed by Douglas M. Charles



This book offers a bold analysis of post–September 11 domestic intelligence reforms—primarily but not exclusively focusing on the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Department of Homeland Security—and offers recommendations for, in the author’s view, setting them right. The evolution of domestic intelligence was episodic and in response to various crises, thus creating a convoluted and complex domestic intelligence system. The author describes the end result with an apt metaphor, likening the domestic intelligence system to an “unstable pile of sediment” not supportive of policymakers’ needs (p. 2).

This book is a valuable contribution to our understanding of how, in particular, the FBI has evolved since September 11. The author offers historical background, albeit limited, about the FBI’s different areas of responsibilities and how they have evolved in the last 18 years. The book’s research is solid and based on government reports, analyses, and secondary sources.

The author’s critical analysis of FBI reforms is the most significant. He rightly points out the FBI’s history of changing not with forethought but with each “crisis du jour” (p. 13). He also perceptively notes that

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