262 St. Augustine Center
800 Lancaster Avenue
Villanova, Pennsylvania 19085

Email: david.barrett@villanova.edu


University of Notre Dame Ph.D., 1990 Political Science

University of Essex (England) M.A., 1985 Political Science

University of Notre Dame B.A., 1973 American Studies


The CIA and Congress: The Untold Story from Truman to Kennedy (2005, University Press of Kansas) explores the confidential interactions between heads of the Central Intelligence Agency and congressional leaders. Since the Constitution gives Congress lawmaking powers (including the power to fund or not fund executive branch agencies), legislators have long claimed the power to oversee such bureaucracies. Still, it has been widely believed that Congress mostly ignored CIA in the years of Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower’s presidencies. Based on research at 25 archives, plus interviews with former officials, my book shows that substantial but very uneven oversight occurred, that congressional views affected what CIA did, and that such oversight was shrouded in almost as much secrecy as operations of CIA. No history of CIA and Congress in this era has ever been published.

Lyndon B. Johnson's Vietnam Papers: A Documentary Collection (1997, Texas A&M University Press), brings together 600 important primary documents from various archives, originating in the Johnson White House during the Vietnam War. Features an introductory essay, explanatory notes, and a detailed index. Reviewed in The New York Review of Books, Foreign Affairs, The London Review of Books, and elsewhere.

Uncertain Warriors: Lyndon Johnson and His Vietnam Advisers, (University Press of Kansas, 1993; paperback, 1994), explores change over time in Vietnam War advisory interactions in the Johnson administration. It is based on research conducted at presidential and other archives, and on interviews with former administration officials. In contrast to prevailing views of Johnson, it finds that he frequently sought out diverse and critical points of view. It pays close attention to unofficial but influential advisers. The book was favorably reviewed in Foreign Affairs, The American Political Science Review, The American Historical Review, and the Washington Post.

Other Publications

"Sampling CIA’s New Document Retrieval System: McCone Telephone Conversations During the Six Crises Tempest," co-authored with Villanova graduate student Raymond Wasko, forthcoming, 2005, Intelligence and National Security.

"An Early ‘Year of Intelligence’: CIA and Congress, 1958," International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence, Fall 2004.

"Sterilizing A ‘Red Infection’: Congress, the CIA, and Guatemala, 1954," Studies in Intelligence, Winter-Spring 2001.

"Glimpses of a Hidden History: Sen. Richard Russell, Congress, and Oversight of the CIA," International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence, Fall 1998.

"Carl Vinson," 1200-word biographical essay on a congressional leader who shaped U.S. defense and intelligence policies from the 1920s through the mid-1960s, The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives (New York: Scribner’s, 1998)

"The National Security Council," co-authored chapter with Villanova graduate student Christopher Ryan, in book The Executive Office of the President: A Reference History, edited by Harold Relyea, 1997, Greenwood Press.

"Presidential Foreign Policy," chapter in John Dumbrell's The Making of U. S. Foreign Policy, 2nd ed., (Manchester, England and New York: University of Manchester Press and St. Martin's Press, 1997).

"McNamara's War," (review of Robert McNamara's In Retrospect: The Tragedy and Lessons of Vietnam), Newhouse Newspapers, April 16, 1995.

"The Senate Judiciary Committee and Supreme Court Nominees: Measuring the Dynamics of Confirmation Criteria," The Journal of Politics, co-authored with Frank Guliuzza and Daniel Reagan, August, 1994

"Secrecy and Openness in Lyndon Johnson's White House: Political Style, Pluralism, and the Presidency," The Review of Politics, Winter 1992.

"Character, Competency, and Constitutionalism: Did the Bork Nomination Represent a Fundamental Shift in Confirmation Criteria?", co-authored with Frank Guliuzza and Daniel Reagan, Marquette Law Review, Winter 1992.

"Doing 'Tuesday Lunch' at Lyndon Johnson's White House: New Archival Evidence on Vietnam Decisionmaking," P. S.: Political Science and Politics, December 1991.

"The Mythology Surrounding Lyndon Johnson, His Advisers, and the 1965 Decision to Escalate the Vietnam War," Political Science Quarterly, winter 1988-1989 issue.

"Six Who Told Johnson to Get Out of Vietnam," The New York Times Op-Ed page article, April 12, 1989

"Senator Richard Russell and the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution," research note published as correspondence, Georgia Historical Quarterly, (Fall, 1989)

Book reviews in The American Political Science Review, The Journal of American

History, The Review of Politics, The American Review of Public Administration, The New England Quarterly, Pacific Historical Review, and various newspapers.

Fellowships, Grants, and Honors

2003 Villanova University Summer Research and Writing Fellowship.

1998 Writing Residency, Bellagio Study and Conference Center, Rockefeller Foundation, Bellagio, Italy, May.

Dirksen Congressional Center, Research Grant.

1996 Honorable Mention, Lindback Teaching Award, Villanova University.

1995 Finalist, American Political Science Association's Congressional Fellowship.

Honorable Mention, Lindback Teaching Award, Villanova University. Faculty Summer Research Grant, Villanova University.

1994 American Political Science Association, Research Support Award; the Dirksen Congressional Center, Research Grant; Villanova University, Small Summer Research Grant.

1993 Uncertain Warriors one of a select group of books chosen by U.S. Commission on Military History for inclusion in Volume 15 of Bibliographie Internationale d'Histoire Militaire, published annually by the International Commission on Military History.

1991 Moody Grant, Lyndon Johnson Foundation, Austin, Texas. (Awarded by an anonymous committee of University of Texas faculty members.)

1988-89 Dissertation Year Fellowship, the University of Notre Dame.

1988-89 Moody Grant, Lyndon B. Johnson Foundation.

1987-88 Editorial Fellowship, The Review of Politics.

Teaching and Research Interests

My chief research interests are American national political institutions (primarily the presidency, secondarily the legislative and judicial branches) and American foreign/defense/intelligence policy. American government was my first field of concentration during graduate studies, and I have taught courses on the presidency, introductory American politics, the civil rights movement, and southern politics. Due to my interest in the domestic sources of American foreign policy, I also was trained in international relations and have taught courses on U.S. defense and foreign policy, congressional oversight of intelligence agencies, and problems of post-Cold War international politics.

I am currently researching the nature and evolution of congressional oversight of intelligence activities from 1940s through the early 1970s. I do so at various presidential and congressional archives and am conducting interviews with former policymakers.

Teaching Experience

--Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, Villanova University, since 1990. Courses taught:

"National Security Policy": Examines the domestic and international political roots of American foreign/defense policies (1-2 sections every semester).

"The U. S. Presidency" (1-2 sections every year)

"U.S. Foreign Policy"

"Introduction to American Government"

Senior seminars: "Intelligence Oversight by Congress," "Beyond the Cold War," "The U.S. Presidency and the Vietnam War," and "The Civil Rights Movement and U.S. Government Institutions".

Graduate seminars: "National Security Policy," "The U.S. Presidency," "American Presidents and the Vietnam War."

--Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 1989-90.

Participation at Scholarly Conferences

2003: "Congress, CIA, and Covert Action Against Guatemala, 1954: Addressing the ‘International Communist Conspiracy’," presented at the "New Perspectives on the 1954 Coup" conference, U. S. Department of State, Washington, D. C.

2001: "Congress, the CIA and Covert Action in the Early Cold War Period: ‘Sterilizing the Red Infection’ in Guatemala, 1954," presented at annual meeting, Society for History of American Foreign Relations, Washington, D. C.

2000: Participant in roundtable in honor of the scholarship of Harry Howe Ransom on the Central Intelligence Agency, International Studies Association (ISA), Los Angeles.

1999: "1958: An Early ‘Year of Intelligence’ in CIA-Congressional Relations," presented at annual meeting, ISA, Washington, D. C.

1998: "Presidential Selection and Behavior," discussant, annual meeting of the Southwest Social Science Association, Corpus Christi, Texas.

1996: "Congress and Foreign Policy Making," discussant; "Institutional and Individual Influences on the Presidency," chair; both panels at annual meeting, American Political Science Association (APSA), San Francisco.

"Researching a Black Hole: Senator Richard Russell, Congress, and the CIA in the 'Era of Trust' (The Truman/Eisenhower/Kennedy Years), presented at two conferences: annual meeting of the ISA, San Diego, and the annual meeting, Society for Military History (co-sponsored by the Center for the Study of Intelligence of the CIA), Washington, D.C.

1995: "Researching a Black Hole: Sen. Richard Russell, Congress, and the CIA in the 'Era of Trust' (pt. 1--the Truman/Eisenhower Era)," annual meeting, APSA, Chicago.

"American Foreign Policy in Transition," discussant, annual meeting, Midwest Political Science Association, Chicago.

1993: "Is the Presidency Still Organized to Fight the Cold War?", roundtable participant, annual

meeting, APSA, Washington.

"The Evolution of the National Security Council, from Truman to Bush," annual meeting, Southwest Social Science Association, New Orleans.

1992: "The Presidency and World Change, 1992," discussant, annual meeting, Midwest Political Science Association, Chicago.

"A Model for Evaluating 'Process' vs. 'Outcome' in Senate Confirmation Hearings," with co-authors Frank Guliuzza and Daniel Reagan, annual meeting, Midwest Political Science Association, Chicago.

"Mentors From History: Role Models for Contemporary Presidents," annual meeting, APSA, Chicago.

"Lyndon Johnson's Vietnam Advisory System During the Tet Offensive," presented at "Remembering Tet, 1968: An Interdisciplinary Conference on the War in Vietnam," Salisbury State University, Salisbury, Maryland.

1991: "Mentors From History: Presidents' Choices of Distant Predecessors as Role Models," annual meeting of the Northeast Political Science Association, Philadelphia.

"Secrecy and Openness in the Johnson White House: Domestic and Foreign Policy Advisory Interactions," annual meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association, Chicago.

"Character, Competence, and Constitutionalism: Did the Bork Nomination Represent a Change in the Senate's Criteria for Assessing Supreme Court Nominees?", presented with collaborators Prof. Frank Guliuzza and Prof. Daniel Reagan at the annual meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association.

1989: "The 'European Initiative' of 1980-81 in the Middle East: European Political Cooperation and Political Theory," presented at the annual meeting, ISA, London, England.

1988: "Political and Personal Intimates as Advisers: Lyndon Johnson, His Advisers, and the 1965 Decision to Enter the Vietnam War," presented at the annual meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association, Chicago.

"Domestic Dissensus and U.S. Foreign Policy," discussant, annual meeting of the ISA, St. Louis.

Professional memberships American Political Science Association; editorial advisory board of International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence

Other Professional Experience

After two years as a radio news director I was Public Affairs Director for WNIT Public Television, South Bend, Indiana for eight years. There, I produced documentaries, moderated political debates, and (for six years) hosted and produced a nightly interview program. I occasionally contributed background information for use by "The MacNeil-Lehrer News Hour," and appeared as a guest interviewer on William F. Buckley's "Firing Line" in January 1984. I conducted occasional interviews for two syndicated television series produced by Oblate Media, Golden Dome Productions, and the University of Notre Dame's Institute for International Peace

Studies from 1988 to 1991. They were shown on the Vision cable television network.

In 1984, I was a candidate in the Democratic primary election campaign for the United States House of Representatives from Indiana's third congressional district.