Failing History – By Amy Zegart | Foreign Policy


The more important and overlooked lesson…. is that the structure of the U.S. intelligence system made a tough job nearly impossible. Although the CIA was created in 1947 to prevent another Pearl Harbor, the agency has never really been central. Intelligence agencies in the State, War, Navy, and Justice departments hobbled the CIA from its earliest days to protect their own turf. As a result, in 1962 intelligence reporting and analysis about Cuba was handled by half a dozen agencies with different missions, specialties, incentives, security clearance levels, access to information, and no common boss with the power to knock bureaucratic heads together short of the president. In this bureaucratic jungle, signals of Khrushchev’s true intentions — and there were several — got dispersed and isolated instead of consolidated and amplified to sound the alarm.

Sound familiar? Before 9/11, this same fragmentation kept U.S. intelligence agencies from seizing 23 different opportunities to disrupt the terrorist plot…….

via Failing History – By Amy Zegart | Foreign Policy.