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The Post 9/11 Intelligence Community

Intelligence Reform, 2001–2009: Requiescat in Pace?

Patrick C. Neary

History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.
—Karl Marx

With the passage of time and hard-earned perspective, perhaps real change is now possible.

On 26 July 1947, President Harry S. Truman signed into law the National Security Act, which served as the organizational basis for the US conduct of the Cold War. The intelligence provisions of that bill (creating the CIA and the Director of Central Intelligence [DCI]) were tied to events six years earlier, namely 7 December 1941. That infamous date did provoke some immediate change in our intelligence operations in the Second World War. More importantly, it provided the spark that developed into a white-hot flame for change after the war. As a result, the United States redoubled its commitment to conducting intelligence activities during peacetime — and did so just in time to prepare for the Cold War. This article suggests that once again a national intelligence failure — 9/11 — has engendered a lukewarm version of intelligence reform that has since its inception virtually run its course. With the passage of time and hard-earned perspective, perhaps real change is now possible.

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All statements of fact, opinion, or analysis expressed in this article are those of the author. Nothing in the article should be construed as asserting or implying US government endorsement of an article’s factual statements and interpretations.


Posted: Mar 29, 2010 09:57 AM
Last Updated: Mar 29, 2010 09:58 AM