chapter  16
32 Pages

The Basics of Analyzing Intelligence and Predicting Terrorism Events

PEOPLE ARE PREDICTABLE… SO IS TERRORISM The intelligence failures in the September 11 attacks are legion. Virtually all the intelligence indicators that easily should have led the FBI and CIA to detect almost all of the hijackers and gain awareness of the plot were ignored, not believed, or left unreported. Take, for example, the May 16, 2002, comments by National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, who stated, “I don’t think anybody could have predicted that these people would take an airplane and slam it into the World Trade Center, take another one and slam it into the Pentagon, that they would try to use an airplane as a missile.” How could such a senior administration ofcial with a brilliant intelligence and policy background not consider such a threat when a stolen light airplane was crashed into the west side of the White House in 1993 a few dozen meters from where her ofce is located? The intelligence community can hardly be blamed when the White House was briefed 2 months prior to the attack: “We believe that [bin Laden] will launch a signicant terrorist attack against U.S. and/ or Israeli interests in the coming weeks…The attack will be spectacular and designed to inict mass casualties against U.S. facilities or interests. Attack preparations have been made. Attack will occur with little or no warning.”