This study examines British and American domestic intelligence efforts, their convergence, and the resulting ‘culture:’ our particular focus is on the evolution of this effort into a potentially autonomous entity and the implications of this development for the United Kingdom and the United States, particularly from the standpoint of civil liberties. The analysis takes place within the larger and more generalized analytical context of the Anglo-American intelligence community.
Domestic Intelligence and the Emerging Anglo-American Branch of Government: Analysis of Intelligence, Political, and Organizational Culture in the United Kingdom and the United States evaluates the differences between British and American conceptualizations of intelligence work and culture, as well as the unique elements that result from their collaboration, in tandem with the autonomy afforded to them by virtue of ‘secrecy.’ Specifically, this study is concerned with the degree to which the convergence of British and American efforts have developed into a type of free-standing entity, straddling two state lines but largely unaccountable to them. The questions it raises are largely focused on understanding whether an assessment of common and unalike elements between the two is only an initial step toward understanding something more complicated and elusive: the unique elements that arise as a result of these two forces blending in those similarities but concurrently pulling apart at their differences. In this space and these gaps, we look for something that is identifiably distinct from both and giving life to a discernibly unique entity. Given the social and cultural characteristics of its two root states, the analysis also considers how the evolution of this collaboration – and particularly domestic efforts that run anathema to state sovereignty – run against the grain of the stabilizing elements of democratic culture Gabriel Almond made a case for in “The Civic Culture.”
Hence, our analytical and theoretical framework is political culture: the theory is applied in number of ways to convey the span of disciplines that overlap under this umbrella. In addition, we consider the developing concept of ‘intelligence culture’ and aim to help inform what it might constitute.
The objective is to contribute to several dialogs: on the academic end, to contribute to a growing body of work devoted to establishing as consistent a paradigm as possible in the study of intelligence culture – in the employment of a theoretical framework that might not only help discern when and where intelligence entities arise but to help scholars understand what gives rise to them. It also aspires to help improve the understanding a broader audience might have of intelligence organizations, how they affect their everyday lives, and to better understand the complicated and at times international coordination that takes place in order for this work to be executed – particularly in those areas where concerns over civil liberties, sovereignty, privacy, and other similar issues reside.
Although the ambitions of this endeavor might appear to address intelligence work at a ‘macro’ level and to even focus on international relations issues from time-to-time, the foci is on identifying common tendencies and impulses that arise as a result of multiple units of its culture coming together. In a sense, the effort covers an expansive cultural territory in search of common, abstract threads in the behaviors and reactions of its multiple internal units as they respond to each other through interaction – a ‘micro’ focus. Hopefully, this effort will give scholars and practitioners of intelligence work, as well as the civilians in each of our two nation-states, a truer sense of how a democratically sanctioned effort can develop into something much farther-reaching than they imagine.
In addition to the theoretical tools applied, first-hand practitioner experiences supply the glue that pulls this analysis together.