Books by Fellows

Uncertain Shield: The U.S. Intelligence System in the Throes of Reform

Sunday, January 1, 2006
Uncertain Shield: The U.S. Intelligence System in the Throes of Reform
Uncertain Shield: The U.S. Intelligence System in the Throes of Reform

Ever since the publication in 2004 of the 9/11 Commission Report, the U.S. intelligence community has been in the throes of a convulsive movement for reform. In Preventing Surprise Attacks (2005), Richard A. Posner carried the story of the reform movement up to the enactment of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, which produced a defective plan for reorganizing the intelligence system, partly as result of the failure of the 9/11 Commission and Congress to bring historical, comparative, and scholarly perspectives to bear issues. At that time, however, the new structure had not yet been built. Posner's new book brings the story up to date. He argues that the decisions about structure that the Administration has made in implementation of the Act are creating too top-heavy, too centralized, an intelligence system. The book 

  • exposes fallacies in criticisms of the performance of the U.S. intelligence services; 
  • analyzes structures and priorities for directing and coordinating U.S. intelligence in the era of global terrorism; 
  • presents new evidence for the need to create a domestic intelligence agency separate from the FBI, and a detailed blueprint for such an agency;
  • incorporates a wealth of material based on developments since the first book, including the report of the presidential commission on weapons of mass destruction and the botched response to Hurricane Katrina;
  • exposes the inadequacy of the national security computer networks;
  • critically examines Congress's performance in the intelligence field, and raises constitutional issues concerning the respective powers of Congress and the President;
  • emphasizes the importance of reforms that do not require questionable organizational changes.

Copyright 2006.

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