Intelligence: Crisis in Spooksville

As the Senate grilling of Robert Gates begins, the CIA starts to rethink its own mandate in a rapidly changing world

Life could be worse for the Central Intelligence Agency. There are no jeering crowds in front of its headquarters in Langley, Va., and no one has tried to pull down the statue of agency founder William ("Wild Bill") Donovan. Nonetheless, the meltdown of Soviet power has startled the CIA nearly as much as it has the KGB. So long as the Soviet Union faced off against the U.S., the chief mission of American intelligence gathering could be summarized in a microdot: watch Moscow and all its worldwide doings. Now, confronted by the spectacle of a dissolving Soviet Union, intelligence agencies face...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!