Why intelligence fails: lessons from the Iranian Revolution and the Iraq War

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The U.S. government spends enormous resources each year on the gathering and analysis of intelligence, yet the history of American foreign policy is littered with missteps and misunderstandings that have resulted from intelligence failures. In Why Intelligence Fails , Robert Jervis examines the politics and psychology of two of the more spectacular intelligence failures in recent memory: the mistaken belief that the regime of the Shah in Iran was secure and stable in 1978, and the claim that Iraq had active WMD programs in 2002.

The Iran case is based on a recently declassified report Jervis was commissioned to undertake by CIA thirty years ago and includes memoranda written by CIA officials in response to Jervis's findings. The Iraq case, also grounded in a review of the intelligence community's performance, is based on close readings of both classified and declassified documents, though Jervis's conclusions are entirely supported by evidence that has been declassified.

In both cases, Jervis finds not only that intelligence was badly flawed but also that later explanations--analysts were bowing to political pressure and telling the White House what it wanted to hear or were willfully blind--were also incorrect. Proponents of these explanations claimed that initial errors were compounded by groupthink, lack of coordination within the government, and failure to share information. Policy prescriptions, including the recent establishment of a Director of National Intelligence, were supposed to remedy the situation.

In Jervis's estimation, neither the explanations nor the prescriptions are adequate. The inferences that intelligence drew were actually quite plausible given the information available. Errors arose, he concludes, from insufficient attention to the ways in which information should be gathered and interpreted, a lack of self-awareness about the factors that led to the judgments, and an organizational culture that failed to probe for weaknesses and explore alternatives. Evaluating the inherent tensions between the methods and aims of intelligence personnel and policymakers from a unique insider's perspective, Jervis forcefully criticizes recent proposals for improving the performance of the intelligence community and discusses ways in which future analysis can be improved.

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9780801447853
9780801458859
9780801457616
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Grouped Work IDbcd823bf-1217-3b9e-cde7-d88c7295df21
Grouping Titlewhy intelligence fails lessons from the iranian revolution and the iraq war
Grouping Authorjervis robert
Grouping Categorybook
Last Grouping Update2019-12-03 03:02:52AM
Last Indexed2019-12-04 03:57:38AM

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display_description"The U.S. government spends enormous resources each year on the gathering and analysis of intelligence, yet the history of American foreign policy is littered with missteps and misunderstandings that have resulted from intelligence failures. In Why intelligence fails, Robert Jervis examines the politics and psychology of two of the more spectacular intelligence failures in recent memory: the mistaken belief that the regime of the Shah in Iran was secure and stable in 1978, and the claim that Iraq had active WMD programs in 2002." "The Iran case is based on a newly declassified report Jervis was commissioned to undertake by CIA thirty years ago and includes memoranda written by CIA officials in response to Jervis's findings. The Iraq case, also grounded in a review of the intelligence community's performance, is based on close readings of both classified and declassified documents, though Jervis's conclusions are entirely supported by evidence that has been declassified." "In both cases, Jervis finds not only that intelligence was badly flawed but also that later explanations - analysts were bowing to political pressure and telling the White House what it wanted to hear or were willfully blind - were also incorrect. Proponents of these explanations claimed that initial errors were compounded by groupthink, lack of coordination within the government, and failure to share information." "Policy prescriptions, including the establishment of a Director of National Intelligence, were supposed to remedy the situation." "In Jervis's estimation, neither the explanations nor the prescriptions are adequate. The inferences that intelligence drew were actually quite plausible given the information available. Errors arose, he concludes, from insufficient attention to the ways in which information should be gathered and interpreted, a lack of self-awareness about the factors that led to the judgments, and an organizational culture that failed to probe for weaknesses and explore alternatives. Evaluating the inherent tensions between the methods and aims of intelligence personnel and policymakers from a unique insider's perspective, Jervis forcefully criticizes proposals for improving the performance of the intelligence community and discusses ways in which future analysis can be improved."--Book jacket.
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seriesCornell studies in security affairs
series_with_volumeCornell studies in security affairs|
subject_facet
Case studies
Electronic books
Evaluation
History
Intelligence service -- Evaluation
Intelligence service -- United States -- Evaluation -- Case studies
Iran
Iran -- History -- Revolution, 1979
Iraq
Iraq War (2003-2011)
Iraq War, 2003-2011 -- Military intelligence -- United States -- Evaluation
Military intelligence -- Evaluation
POLITICAL SCIENCE -- Intelligence & Espionage
Revolution (Iran : 1979)
United States
United States. -- Central Intelligence Agency
United States. -- Central Intelligence Agency -- Case studies -- Evaluation
United States. -- Central Intelligence Agency -- Evaluation -- Case studies
Weapons of mass destruction
Weapons of mass destruction -- Iraq
title_displayWhy intelligence fails : lessons from the Iranian Revolution and the Iraq War
title_fullWhy intelligence fails : lessons from the Iranian Revolution and the Iraq War / Robert Jervis
Why intelligence fails : lessons from the Iranian Revolution and the Iraq War [electronic resource] / Robert Jervis
Why intelligence fails [electronic resource] : lessons from the Iranian Revolution and the Iraq War / Robert Jervis
title_shortWhy intelligence fails
title_sublessons from the Iranian Revolution and the Iraq War
topic_facetElectronic books
Evaluation
History
Intelligence & Espionage
Intelligence service
Iraq War, 2003-2011
Military intelligence
POLITICAL SCIENCE
Weapons of mass destruction