Review: Breakdown–How America’s Intelligence Failures Led to September 11

4 Star, 9-11 Truth Books & DVDs, Executive (Partisan Failure, Reform), Intelligence (Government/Secret)

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4.0 out of 5 stars Helpful,

August 29, 2002
Bill Gertz
The author has done a wonderful job, without reference to any of the fifteen books on intelligence reform published between 1999 and 2000, in quickly reviewing the key elements of intelligence failure and in recommending some specific reforms that thus far have been denied by successive Administrations.If this book forces policymakers to think, and makes it possible for the public to get very angry about the various failures of intelligence that contributed to 9-11, then it will be in the running for most patriotic and useful book of the year.

The author leaves one aspect of the 9-11 failure untouched–although he makes references to Democratic and to Republican policymakers, what he does not tell the American people is that intelligence failures do not occur without very substantive policy failures of two kinds: first, policy failures where the intelligence professionals are gutted, abused, intimidated, and generally prevented from being effective. The Director of Central Intelligence usually serves as the policy representative to intelligence in carrying out these abuses, rather than as the intelligence representative to policy. The second failure is one of “inconvenient warning,” where solid professional intelligence estimates are set aside and ignored because the politicians don't want to be bothered, don't think it will cost them with their domestic constituencies, and are not truly committed to long-term national security. This is a bi-partisan problem–until the American people appreciate the connection between voting, policymaker character, and intelligence success, we will continue to get the government–and the intelligence community–that our citizens deserve.

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