Zegart - September 11 and the Adaptation Failure of US Intelligence Agencies

Zegart - September 11 and the Adaptation Failure of US Intelligence Agencies

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Summary – September 11 and the Adaptation Failure of U.S. Intelligence Agencies By Amy B. Zegart (First Half) By Tais McNeill October 26, 2009 This reading questions why the US Intelligence Community did not adapt through the 1990s to the growing threat of terrorism and how this failure to adapt related to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Introduction 1. Zegart uses the example of Khalid al-Midhar, one of the 9/11 terrorists, as an example of the powerful and important effects of the organization and structures of the US intelligence agencies. a. This shows that keeping track of known terrorists was not standard practice or high priority through the 1990s b. This is because of the slow adaptation of the intelligence agencies following the end of the Cold War, which represented a very different style of intelligence 2. Zegart attributes the adaptation failure to three factors: the nature of bureaucratic organizations; the self-interest of presidents, legislators, and government bureaucrats; and the fragmented structure of the US government. 3. The first section of the article looks at whether the US intelligence agencies adapted as well as can be expected, the second section looks at the current academic literature on organizational change, the third looks at how and why the CIA specifically adapted poorly, and the fourth offers three conclusions: 1) that major reform of the intelligence
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Zegart - September 11 and the Adaptation Failure of US Intelligence Agencies

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