Amy Zegart

Morris Arnold and Nona Jean Cox Senior Fellow

Amy Zegart is the Morris Arnold and Nona Jean Cox Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution and Professor of Political Science (by courtesy) at Stanford University. She is also a Senior Fellow at Stanford’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, Chair of Stanford’s Artificial Intelligence and International Security Steering Committee, and a contributing writer at The Atlantic. She specializes in U.S. intelligence, emerging technologies and national security, grand strategy, and global political risk management.

Zegart has been featured by the National Journal as one of the ten most influential experts in intelligence reform. Most recently, she served as a commissioner on the 2020 CSIS Technology and Intelligence Task Force (co-chaired by Avril Haines and Stephanie O’Sullivan) and has advised the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence. She served on the Clinton administration’s National Security Council staff and as a foreign policy adviser to the Bush 2000 presidential campaign. She has also testified before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and advised senior officials on intelligence, homeland security, and cybersecurity matters.

The author of five books, Zegart’s award-winning research includes the leading academic study of intelligence failures before 9/11 — Spying Blind: The CIA, the FBI, and the Origins of 9/11 (Princeton 2007). She co-edited with Herbert Lin Bytes, Bombs, and Spies: The Strategic Dimensions of Offensive Cyber Operations (Brookings 2019). She and Condoleezza Rice co-authored Political Risk: How Businesses and Organizations Can Anticipate Global Insecurity (Twelve 2018) based on their popular Stanford MBA course. Zegart’s forthcoming book is Spies, Lies, and Algorithms: The History and Future of American Intelligence (Princeton 2022). Her research has also been published in International Security and other academic journals as well as Foreign Affairs, the New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal.

Previously, Zegart served as codirector of Stanford’s Center for International Security and Cooperation, founding codirector of the Stanford Cyber Policy Program, and chief academic officer of the Hoover Institution. Before coming to Stanford, she was Professor of Public Policy at UCLA and a McKinsey & Company consultant.

She is the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship, the American Political Science Association’s Leonard D. White Dissertation Award, the National Academy of Public Administration’s Brownlow Book Award, two UCLA teaching awards, and grants from the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Hewlett Foundation, the Smith Richardson Foundation, and the National Science Foundation.

A native of Louisville, Kentucky, Zegart received an A.B. in East Asian studies magna cum laude from Harvard University and an M.A. and Ph.D. in political science from Stanford University. She serves on the board of directors of Kratos Defense & Security Solutions (KTOS) and the Capital Group. 

Filter By:



Recent Commentary

Crowdsourcing and the Mobs

by Amy Zegartvia Hoover Digest
Monday, October 18, 2021

The Internet has enabled the rise of citizen spies. They’re making money, pushing social causes—and sometimes running roughshod on privacy and civil rights.

In the News

Stanford Experts Criticize Afghanistan Withdrawal, Call For Updated Counterterrorism Measures

featuring Joseph Felter, Amy Zegartvia Stanford Daily
Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Stanford policy experts offered sharp critiques of the United States’ military withdrawal from Afghanistan during a Tuesday panel. The three speakers on the panel described the late-August mass departure coordinated by American leaders as a “moral stain on the United States.”


The CIA Spent 20 Years On The Front Lines Of The War On Terror. It's Time For That To Change.

by Amy Zegartvia Politico
Saturday, September 11, 2021

An enduring legacy of the global war on terror is an approach to intelligence that doesn't serve U.S. national security interests as it once did.


The CIA Spent 20 Years On The Front Lines Of The War On Terror. It’s Time For That To Change.

by Amy Zegartvia Politico
Saturday, September 11, 2021

An enduring legacy of the global war on terror is an approach to intelligence that doesn’t serve U.S. national security interests as it once did.


Amy Zegart: Teaching 9/11

interview with Amy Zegartvia WOSU (OH)
Thursday, September 9, 2021

Hoover Institution fellow Amy Zegart talks about 9/11 on the 20th anniversary and discusses how schools teach the topic.

Analysis and Commentary

NSI Remembers: Memories Of 9/11

by Amy Zegartvia The SCIIF
Thursday, September 9, 2021
On September 11, 2001, Americans across the country watched in horror as the terrorist attacks in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Shanksville, Pennsylvania, left nearly 3,000 people dead. As we approach the 20th anniversary of that tragic day, NSI Fellows and Advisory Board members share their memories of that day. Their stories reveal where they were — from targeted areas to everyday places across America.
In the News

How Stanford Scholars Are Teaching The Next Generation About 9/11

featuring Condoleezza Rice, Amy Zegartvia Stanford News
Wednesday, September 8, 2021

On the 20th anniversary of 9/11, four Stanford scholars and leading experts in national security, terrorism and contemporary conflict – Condoleezza Rice, Amy Zegart, Martha Crenshaw and Lisa Blaydes – reflect on how their teaching of the terrorist attacks has evolved.


American Spies Are Fighting the Last War, Again

by Amy Zegartvia The Atlantic
Monday, September 6, 2021

When the Cold War ended, the intelligence community failed to adapt. Today it faces a similar challenge.


None Of My Students Remember 9/11

by Amy Zegartvia The Atlantic
Monday, August 30, 2021

For coming generations of students, September 11 is history rather than memory. How does that affect how they learn about it?


Re-Imagining Espionage In The Era Of Artificial Intelligence

by Amy Zegartvia Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence
Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Hoover Institution fellow Amy Zegart talks about the melding of artificial intelligence with espionage.