Intelligence Failures Research Paper

Pages: 22 (6133 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 13  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Military


The Central Intelligence Agency was created in the wake of WWII and saw a further diffusion of power within the intelligence community itself. This agency made its bones as a force behind the cold war and was central in the conducting of those operations. The CIA consistently overestimated future Soviet nuclear capabilities with far reaching political consequences. It is now understood that the Soviet nuclear arsenal was not much of a threat and innumerable amount of resources were wasted during this time because of this error. Gusterson (2010) injects a substantial opinion about the misguiding of this time when he wrote " he tells us that their destructiveness has been exaggerated; that the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were of marginal importance in ending World War II; that "nuclear weapons have been of little historic consequence," and that the United States and the Soviet Union would not have gone to war even in the absence of nuclear deterrence; that arms-control treaties are usually a waste of time and effort; that the dangers of nuclear proliferation are greatly exaggerated; that sanctions aimed at stopping countries from seeking nuclear weapons make it more likely that they will pursue them; and, finally, that "the likelihood a terrorist group will come up with an atomic bomb seems to be vanishingly small."

The CIA's History of Failure

Download full Download Microsoft Word File
paper NOW!
The CIA has always been an adopted child in the family of intelligence and many of the problems that the intelligence community as a whole can be attributed to the CIA. In many ways this agency has been significantly contributing misinformation and guidance to other agencies since the conception of its organization. Singh (2009) wrote "In one way or another, the CIA has been blundering since its creation in 1947, prompting President Eisenhower to remark as early as 1961 that the agency's shortcomings during his eight years in power would force him to leave a 'legacy of ashes.'"

TOPIC: Research Paper on Intelligence Failures Assignment

What is remarkable is the CIA's defense of their repeated and continued failure which points to some root causes of the problem. The agency defends itself on its website by suggesting that "But intelligence has no crystal ball, and no one should be surprised that assessments of things that are hidden and projections about the future sometimes miss the mark. In this sense, intelligence failures are indeed inevitable, whatever steps might be taken to try to avoid them. A more interesting question is whether analysts succeed or fail in making the most of information available to them." In other words, intelligence at its core is unreliable and should be taken with more criticism and honesty that has been demonstrated throughout the history of this country and the way that we defend it from others.

There are plenty of mistakes the CIA has continually been involved with that have had some devastating effects on the country and the well being of other innocent people around the world who have unjustly felt the wrath of our defense powers due to misinformation provided by agents of this organization. The CIA orchestrated the overthrow of an elected president in Iran 1953 . This move eventually led to the installment of the Shah in his place. Since that time the disastrous future consequences have been felt throughout the middle east. The CIA apparently missed the Soviet invasion of Hungary in 1956, and were taken by surprise by the swiftness of Castro's rise to power in Cuba in 1959.

The intelligence failures continued throughout the 1960s, 70s and 80s -- the most egregious examples being: the Bay of Pigs fiasco in 1961, the 1968 Tet Offensive, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 and the birthing and nurturing of the Mujahedeen in response, the Iranian Revolution in 1979, and the failure to identify Pakistan's clandestine sharing of nuclear technology with Iran, Libya and North Korea.

Recent Failures

More recently the U.S. has been unprepared for a number of terrorist acts originating on foreign soil, including the 1993 attack on the Twin Towers, the 1996 attack on a U.S. Air Force barracks in Saudi Arabia, the 1998 attacks on U.S. embassies in Africa, the 1999 attack on USS Cole in Yemen and the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon.The three most recent intelligence failures; the inability to anticipate the 9/11 attacks, the shoddy intelligence on WMDs, and the rise of the insurgency in Iraq, were some of the worst moments in CIA history.

The CIA's inspector general concluded in a 2007 report that the failure to foresee the 9/11 attacks was a "systemic failure," noting that while 50 to 60 CIA officers were aware of intelligence reports in 2000 that two of the 9/11 hijackers may have been in the United States, none of those officers notified the FBI about the potential domestic threat. The murkiness surrounding the intelligence on Iraqi WMDs, one of the key rationales for the Bush administration to invade Iraq in 2003, still resonates as an embarrassment to the human race .The hope that the majority of Iraqis would greet us in the streets as liberators instead of occupiers was immediately shattered when we failed to restore order, or electricity, anywhere outside of the oil ministry building in the early days of the war. After that Abu Ghraib and rising sectarian violence fueled a building insurgency that caught analysts and our leaders off guard.

Intelligence Failures of 9-11

There has been much written about and discussed about the attacks on September, 11 2001 due to the effects of the events that unfolded on that Tuesday morning. Such attacks happen all over the world on a periodic basis and the nearly 4000 people that were murdered on that day have historic counterparts scattered throughout history. Imagine that a group of private firms had been in charge of defending America from attack on 9/11, and imagine these firms had failed as completely as did our own defense establishment on that day. What would have happened to those firms and to their executives in the wake of the attacks?

What makes 9-11 different, or at least more pressing is that it is the most recent and has had the most after-effects than other loses of human life. The dynamic of the world changed that day because of the vulnerability that was exposed to supposedly the greatest military force the earth has ever seen or witnessed. The effect on the collective psyche of America seeing the military headquarters, The Pentagon, being exposed suggests that the state of government, law and order are in serious question.

Other serious questions also arrive at a skeptical point. Too many, but the bottom line is that there was a catastrophic failure of intelligence that cannot be ignored. Clapper (2011) wrote "Prior to the 9/11 attacks, the community had recognized that reorganization, integration of intelligence activities, and a shift in intelligence culture was necessary to adapt to evolving threats. But progress on these initiatives came slowly -- too slowly to impact the events of 9/11."

During this dark time in American history, it appeared that intelligence failures were breeding and took on a life of their own. More intelligence failure became the norm. Despite the complete and utter failures of that led to the attacks, these very same resources were used to instigate a war in Iraq and Afghanistan. This is attuned to self-hating slave returning to its master for harsher punishment. It proves that governmental failure is a difficult thing to swallow for those immersed in its operations. Self-criticism and frank and honest discussion about the blunt errors that seem so obvious in hindsight were desperately missing when they were needed the most.

Have those responsible for the failure to detect, prevent, or even respond appropriately at the time to the attacks been fired, hauled into court, charged with anything, fined, or otherwise inconvenienced? No. The entire defense and intelligence community has a single legitimate function: to protect the people of this nation from attack. America pays more for defense than any other nation in the world, by a large margin; Americans have a right to expect their defense and intelligence agencies will detect and prevent attacks, or at least respond swiftly and effectively to any attack in progress. Certainly, Americans have the right to expect their government will not provoke attacks against them by, for example, repeated and violent meddling in other nations around the world.

President George W. Bush and his loyal political followers thirsty for revenge and other spoils of war, were certainly guilty of overstating the potential danger of Iraqi WMD to the public. However, Bush appeared to be convinced Iraq did possess such weapons and came to this conclusion based on intelligence that was given to him by various. What these sources are will never be revealed… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

Two Ordering Options:

Which Option Should I Choose?
1.  Download full paper (22 pages)Download Microsoft Word File

Download the perfectly formatted MS Word file!

- or -

2.  Write a NEW paper for me!✍🏻

We'll follow your exact instructions!
Chat with the writer 24/7.

Intelligence Failure at Pearl Research Paper

Post Ww Ll Intelligence Failure Essay

Intelligence Failure at Pearl Harbor Roberta Wohlstetter Term Paper

Intelligence Failure of Pearl Harbor Term Paper

Intelligence and Politics Origins and Reasons Book Review

View 200+ other related papers  >>

How to Cite "Intelligence Failures" Research Paper in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Intelligence Failures.  (2014, March 9).  Retrieved November 27, 2021, from

MLA Format

"Intelligence Failures."  9 March 2014.  Web.  27 November 2021. <>.

Chicago Style

"Intelligence Failures."  March 9, 2014.  Accessed November 27, 2021.