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


Why Cyber Is Different

by Amy Zegartvia
Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Cyber attacks are a new type of dangerous threats that are vastly different from traditional warfare. Cyber attacks threats are increasing, making powerful nations even more susceptible. Because cyber attacks can occur unexpectedly, we need to be more vigilant and increase coordination among organizations to prevent attacks.


The Specter Of A Chinese Mole In America

by Amy Zegartvia The Atlantic
Wednesday, January 17, 2018

The case of a suspected turncoat couldn’t come at a worse time for the intelligence community.

Analysis and Commentary

New Year's Resolutions Are Predictions About The Future

by Amy Zegartvia The Atlantic
Monday, January 8, 2018

2017 was a wild ride, and 2018 doesn’t seem inclined to put on the brakes. Who could have guessed last year that Matt Lauer would go from Today to yesterday—felled, along with Harvey Weinstein, Al Franken, Bill O’Reilly, and so many others, by the open discussion of their creepy “open secrets”? 


How Cyber Attacks Threaten Our Security

by Amy Zegartvia
Wednesday, January 3, 2018

There are many ways that cyber attacks threaten our national security. For instance, cyber warfare could affect our nation’s communication systems, intellectual property, or the military’s capability to react and defend the country. Understanding the nature of cyber attacks will help us prevent and defend against them.


The Tools Of Espionage Are Going Mainstream

by Amy Zegartvia The Atlantic
Monday, November 27, 2017

Great-power deception is no longer designed just to trick a handful of leaders. It’s designed to trick us all.


Trump Isn't The Only Problem With Trump's Foreign Policy

by Amy Zegartvia The Atlantic
Wednesday, October 25, 2017

America’s approach to the world is a complicated mess, for reasons that predate the current president.

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.