Although there has been no shortage of studies exploring how intelligence failures can happen, none of the prevailing explanations has been able to provide a unified understanding of the phenomenon. Without that understanding, failures will happen again—with dramatic consequences.
The book brings culture and identity to the foreground to present a model of strategic surprise that focuses on the internal make-up the CIA. It also takes seriously those Cassandras who offered warnings, but were ignored. By providing this novel, unified model of strategic surprise—that links terrorist attacks to more conventional failures—this book offers the first deep and systematic exploration of the ultimate sources of the CIA’s intelligence failures, and points to ways to prevent future strategic surprises.