The Truman administration established the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in 1947. The agency enjoyed successes in the Cold War, but then declined until, during the post-2001 Bush administration, it fell into disrepute and was effectively marginalized. The fall of the CIA coincided with a nadir in the history of American intelligence; rarely have analysts been held in such universally low esteem as in the last few years. Meantime, however, there have been stirrings of a new intelligence vigour in the European Union. This article asks whether the EU can learn from the American experience, and whether it can avoid the current analytical deficiencies of its American cousin. It argues that some lessons can be learned, but urges caution about both the lessons and the prospects of their implementation. The origins, philosophy and history of the CIA do reward scrutiny, but

also remind the student that learning from the past is never a simple matter. In explaining the origins of the CIA, for example, it is useful to distinguish between the reasons why politicians supported it, and principles of effective

To the following who supplied critiques of an earlier version of this essay, I would like to give my thanks: Peter Foot, Fabian Hilfrich, Claudia Hillebrand, Gwenda Jeffreys-Jones, Yukiko

intelligence as propounded by theorists. In the case of political support, a further distinction is necessary. It came about on the one hand because Congress wanted no more Pearl Harbors, and on the other hand because President Harry Truman demanded an agency that would be able to inform him about the threat that the Soviet Union posed to US national security.1