I want to give you a chance to expand on your thoughts about 9/11. This has been described as a failure in many different ways such as: a failure of analysis (inability to connect the dots, or failure of imagination or lack of critical thinking); a failure to share information between agencies; a failure to disseminate intelligence; or a failure to provide actionable intelligence (among many others). What is your assessment of the intelligence provided before the 9/11 attacks, and do you think it was a preventable attack or not?
I would also like you to share your thoughts on what one specific change to the intelligence actions that you think could have best contributed to preventing these attacks? Please note this question is specific to intelligence (collection, analysis, information sharing, coordination, etc). I am not talking about diplomatic, law enforcement, operational, or military actions (such as arresting Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Mihdhar in the U.S. or bombing Afghanistan before 9/11). I want to know what specific action that you think intelligence could have done differently before the attacks that would have best helped the U.S. government discover al Qaeda’s plans and operations — regardless of what political leaders and decision makers may have done or not done with the information (of course realizing hindsight is 20/20).I highly recommend the additional readings in the lesson to help you answer these questions.
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So, to recap the two questions: 1) do you think intelligence could have prevented the 9/11 attacks, and 2) what do you think intelligence could have done to prevent it?
P.S. Some of the readings in this course I agree with and some I do not. However, that is your role as a student (and as an intelligence analyst) — evaluate all the information and often conflicting sources, make an assessment, and then defend your position.