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Intelligence Failure and Sept. 11

In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 (Hereafter referred to as 9/11), Americans were horrified at the sheer audacity and malicious inventiveness of the Al-Qaida operatives. The nation wondered how these men could have resided in the country for an extended period of time, planning their bold strike, without attracting any attention from our various federal and state law enforcement agencies. In the protracted period of soul searching that has followed 9/11, an answer to that question seems to have emerged. The answer, quite simply, is that 9/11 represents the greatest intelligence failure in our nation's history├╣greater even than the lapse in intelligence that resulted in Pearl Harbor. Various different federal agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), had opportunities to identify the terrorists and infiltrate the plot. Each agency failed miserably, however, and the result was tragic not just for the 3,000 men and women who lost their lives on September 11, 2001, but for our national psyche as a whole. The United States will never be the same country again, our period of innocence before the emerging international reality of terrorism has been shattered. The intelligence failures that resulted in this sad reality will be the focus of this paper. First we will provide a brief sketch of the Intelligence Community in the United States. Then, we will identify some of the strategic shortcomings that led to a failure to focus on terrorism within the community. Lastly, we will detail the specific intelligence failures that facilitated the catastrophic events of 9/11.

Before we launch into the various intelligence failures across the federal government that resulted in the tragedy of 9/11, we must first understand how intelligence gathering works and the agencies that are involved in the p...

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Intelligence Failure and Sept. 11. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 00:31, September 20, 2019, from