Amy Zegart

Davies Family Senior Fellow

Amy Zegart is the Davies Family Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, professor of political science (by courtesy), and co-director and senior fellow at Stanford's Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC). She directs the Cyber Policy Program and is a contributing editor to The Atlantic.

Before coming to Stanford in 2011, Zegart served as professor of public policy at UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs. Her research examines U.S. intelligence challenges, cyber security, grand strategy, and American foreign policy. She has authored several books, including Flawed by Design: The Evolution of the CIA, JCS, and NSC, which won the highest national dissertation award in political science, and Spying Blind: The CIA, the FBI, and the Origins of 9/11, which won the National Academy of Public Administration’s Brownlow Book Award. Her most recent book is Eyes on Spies: Congress and the United States Intelligence Community.

Her current research includes a book with Condoleezza Rice on how business leaders can manage political risk (Twelve Books, 2018), a project on drones and coercion, and a book about intelligence challenges in the digital age.

Zegart was featured by the National Journal as one of the ten most influential experts in intelligence reform. She served on the Clinton administration's National Security Council staff and as a foreign policy adviser to the Bush-Cheney 2000 presidential campaign. She has testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee, provided training to the Marine Corps, and advised officials on intelligence and homeland security matters. From 2009 to 2011 she served on the National Academies of Science Panel to Improve Intelligence Analysis. Her commentary has been featured on national television and radio shows and in the New York TimesWashington Post, and Los Angeles Times.

Before her academic career, Zegart spent three years at McKinsey & Company advising leading companies about strategy and organizational effectiveness.

A former Fulbright scholar, Zegart received an AB in East Asian studies magna cum laude from Harvard University and an MA and PhD in political science from Stanford University. She served on the FBI Intelligence Analysts Association National Advisory Board and the Los Angeles Police Department’s Counter-terrorism and Community Police Advisory Board. She also served on the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board Task Force on Nuclear Nonproliferation and is a lifetime member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She currently serves on the Social Science Research Council Task Force on Securing Knowledge and on the board of directors of Kratos Defense and Security Solutions.

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Recent Commentary

Analysis and Commentary

How Not To Threaten North Korea

by Amy Zegartvia The Atlantic
Sunday, September 3, 2017

The country has conducted its sixth nuclear test. Is Donald Trump committing deterrence malpractice?

Analysis and Commentary

The Three Paradoxes Disrupting American Politics

by Amy Zegartvia The Atlantic
Saturday, August 5, 2017

They didn’t start with Trump, and they won’t end with him.

Analysis and Commentary

3 Takeaways From Trump Jr. Emails

by Amy Zegartvia Freeman Spogli Institute News
Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Line by ugly line, Donald J. Trump Jr.’s emails with British-born former tabloid reporter and Russian intermediary Rob Goldstone are now plastered on The New York Times website.

Analysis and Commentary

Donald Trump Jr.'s Emails Vindicate The Intelligence Community

by Amy Zegartvia The Atlantic
Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Even if the foreign power involved were the Brits and not the Russians, meeting with another government to get opposition dirt for a U.S. presidential election is wrong.

Analysis and Commentary

Kim Jong Un: The Hardest Intelligence Target

by Amy Zegartvia The Atlantic
Sunday, July 9, 2017

The most dangerous nuclear threat to the United States requires understanding the intentions of just one man.


The NSA Confronts A Problem Of Its Own Making

by Amy Zegartvia The Atlantic
Thursday, June 29, 2017

Recent cyberattacks show what happens when America’s secret-keepers can’t keep their secrets.

Analysis and Commentary

James Comey's 'Shock And Awe' Testimony

by Amy Zegartvia The Atlantic
Thursday, June 8, 2017

By any normal reckoning, the FBI director’s account should have been stunning. But Americans have grown far too used to abnormal behavior.


How Bad Is Disclosing 'Code Word' Information?

by Amy Zegartvia The Atlantic
Monday, May 15, 2017

If you’re known as someone who cannot keep a secret, the world’s secret-keepers are not going to tell you much.


A Stolen NSA Tool Is Being Used In A Global Cyberattack

by Amy Zegartvia The Atlantic
Friday, May 12, 2017

The magnitude of the event shows the danger of insider threats to the U.S. intelligence community.

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Trump Versus the Spies

by Amy Zegartvia Hoover Digest
Monday, April 24, 2017

All presidents clash with their intelligence experts, but the hostility the new administration has displayed is unusual—and risky.