This unique history offers the most detailed and best documented account of the early years of the CIA currently available. It reveals the political and bureaucratic struggles that accompanied the creation of the modern U. S. intelligence community. In addition, it proposes a theory of effective intelligence organization, applied both to the movement to create the CIA and to the form it eventually took.
The period covered by this study was crucially important because it was during this time that the main battles over the establishment, responsibilities, and turf of the agency were fought. Many of these disputes framed the forty years, such as the relationship of the CIA to other government agency intelligence operations, the role of covert action, and Congressional oversight of the intelligence community.
The sources upon which Darling drew for this study include the files of the National Security Council, the wartime files of the OSS, and interviews and correspondence with many of the principal players.