During 2001-2002, I was a Scholar-in-Residence at the Sherman Kent Center for Intelligence Analysis, the “think tank” attached to the CIA’s training center for analysts. The CIA has long used such scholars as expert analysts, but the Kent Center wanted to try something new: using an outside scholar to study the process of analysis itself. In particular, I was charged with looking at how the Directorate of Intelligence (DI) uses information technology (IT), and how it might use this technology more effectively.
On 1 March 1996, the Commission on the Roles and Capabilities of the United States Intelligence Community (the Brown Commission) issued its report to the President and to Congress. On 26 March, Studies in Intelligence board members Brian Latell, Robert Herd, John Wiant, and Bill Nolte met at the Commission’s offices in the New Executive Office Building with Ann Z. Caracristi, a member of the Commission; Staff Director L. Britt Snider; and staff members Douglas Horner, Brendan Melley, Kevin Scheid, and William Kvetkas. What follows is an edited transcript of the discussion with them, reviewed in advance by the participants.
If the spooks can’t analyze their own data, why call it intelligence?
For more than a year now, there has been a deluge of stories and op-ed pieces about the failure of the American intelligence community to detect or prevent the September 11, 2001, massacre. Nearly all of these accounts have expressed astonishment at the apparent incompetence of America’s watchdogs.
Hearing before the Subcommittee on Technology and Competitiveness of the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, U.S. House of Representatives, 102nd Congress, 1st Session, June 27, 1991 [No. 42].