Dino A. Brugioni, author of the best-selling account of the Cuban Missile crisis, Eyeball to Eyeball, draws on his long CIA career as one of the world's premier experts on aerial reconnaissance to provide the inside story of President Dwight D. Eisenhower's efforts to use spy planes and satellites to gather intelligence. He reveals Eisenhower to be a hands-on president who, contrary to popular belief, took an active role in assuring that the latest technology was used to gather aerial intelligence. This previously untold story of the secret Cold War program makes full use of the author's firsthand knowledge of the program and of information he gained from interviews with important participants. As a founder and senior officer of the CIA's National Photographic Interpretation Center, Brugioni was a key player in keeping Eisenhower informed of developments, and he sheds new light on the president's contributions toward building an effective and technologically advanced intelligence organization.
The book provides details of the president's backing of the U-2's development and its use to dispel the bomber gap and to provide data on Soviet missile and nuclear efforts and to deal with crises in the Suez, Lebanon, Chinese Off Shore Islands, Tibet, Indonesia, East Germany, and elsewhere. Brugioni offers new information about Eisenhower's order of U-2 flights over Malta, Cyprus, Toulon, and Israel and subsequent warnings to the British, French, and Israelis that the U.S. would not support an invasion of Egypt. He notes that the president also backed the development of the CORONA photographic satellite, which eventually proved the missile gap with the Soviet Union didn't exist, and a variety of other satellite systems that detected and monitored problems around the world. The unsung reconnaissance roles played by Jimmy Doolittle and Edwin Land are also highlighted in this revealing study of Cold War espionage.