American Covert Operations
A Guide to the Issues
by J. Ransom Clark
July 2015, 224pp, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-0-313-38328-1
$63, £49, 55€, A87
Please contact your preferred distributor for pricing.
eBook Available: 978-0-313-38329-8
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Almost every president has used covert tactics and special operations.

Traces our country's long history of covert and special operations, focusing on the similarities and differences in the practice from the Revolutionary War to the present.

Long before the creation of the CIA, the American government utilized special intelligence strategies with varying degrees of success. Even though critics throughout time have questioned the effectiveness and legitimacy of these tactics, presidents from George Washington to Barack Obama have employed secret operations to benefit the nation’s best interest. This book follows America’s history of intelligence gathering, undercover operations, and irregular warfare. Through chronologically organized chapters, the author examines secret military maneuvers, highlighting the elements common to covert and special operations across historical eras, and concluding with a chapter on national security since the attacks of September 11, 2001.


  • References literature supporting both sides of the special and covert operations debate
  • Explains how covert operations is used as a tool of American foreign policy
  • Examines the changes in covert operations since the attacks of September 11, 2001
J. Ransom Clark, JD, served 25 years with the Central Intelligence Agency, including assignments in Asia, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, and Washington, DC; and 15 years as faculty member and administrator at Muskingum University, New Concord, OH. His published writing includes Praeger's Intelligence and National Security: A Reference Handbook and ongoing work at his website at He received his juris doctorate from George Mason University School of Law.

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