Why Intelligence Fails
SPY MUSEUM, Washington DC
Tickets: $10 Members of the Inner Circle: $8
“What you’re surprised with depends on who you are…” –Philippe Silberzahn
Who lives in caves, only holy men or primitive cavemen? Dr. Milo Jones, visiting professor at IE Business School in Madrid, Spain, thinks that the answer to that question helps explain the intelligence failure of 9/11. He comes to the International Spy Museum to argue that the CIA’s repeated intelligence failures are a result of the fact that the CIA thinks that intelligence analysis is science while it is really a social process in which identity and culture play a major role.
Also joining us for the evening will be Dr. Mark Lowenthal, CEO of the Intelligence and Security Academy and former assistant director of Central Intelligence for Analysis and Production. He will engage with Dr. Jones on the provocative conclusions of the book Constructing Cassandra: Reframing Intelligence Failure at the CIA, 1947–2001, that Jones co-authored with Philippe Silberzahn of EMLYON Business School in France.
One Review of the Book:
It’s hard to overstate how useful this book is in explaining why the enormous resources the United States has put into intelligence gathering and analysis have so often yielded so little – and actually yielded the reverse of what was necessary, worse yet, in specific cases where available “Cassandra” sources could have guided American analysts (and were trying to) in directions that might well have saved us four costly “strategic surprises.”
The case of a Russian Cassandra, the late Soviet émigré economist Igor Birman, offers an example of institutional analytical failure that was both unfortunate for American interests and saddening for people who knew the principal: Birman was a difficult man telling inconvenient truths about the state of the Soviet economy and the society around it; “Constructing Cassandra” does an excellent job of dispassionately demonstrating why the real intelligence and reasoned projections he had to offer were downplayed and/or dismissed – a mistake for which we paid in 1991 and, in very real ways, continue to pay today.
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