The Imperative for a Nation's Intelligence Enterprise

Led by IOP Fellow Mary Margaret Graham

Tuesdays from 4:00 -5:30 p.m.

This study group will be led by Mary Margaret Graham, a career CIA officer and intelligence professional who was selected to be the first Deputy Director of National Intelligence for Collection following the 1994 passage of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act.  The goal of the seminar is to provide participants with a solid introduction to the discipline of intelligence and its importance to the U.S. in light of today’s tumultuous and chaotic world.  We will also review how the intelligence and national security environments have changed in this century as a result of perceived failures of intelligence.  Guest speakers will include a selection of the most experienced practitioners and observers of the intelligence ‘business’ who will share their often provocative observations on U.S. intelligence.

Throughout the seminar, we will consider the context within which modern American intelligence organizations perform their missions, the practice of intelligence collection and analysis, and the enduring issues that are part and parcel of the exercise of the craft of intelligence.  We will have these seminar conversations against the backdrop of 3 years of transforming U.S. intelligence and, taking that into account, will have the opportunity to discuss the effects, successes, and unintended consequences of the still-ongoing reform efforts.


September 30

“Intelligence” – It’s Role, Practice and Impact?

with Mary Margaret Graham and Michael Morgan, former senior intelligence professional and currently Director of Strategy in Raytheon Corporation’s Intelligence and Information Systems business

 Mrs. Graham and Mr. Morgan will provide study group participants with a broad overview of the subject of intelligence, engaging in a discussion of what intelligence is and what it is not.  They will engage participants in a give and take about how intelligence differs from other fields of international relations---and how intelligence fits into the overall national security infrastructure.  The question of whether intelligence is more or less important today for the United States---and why will also be discussed.

October 7

Does the U.S. Need a Robust Intelligence Capability?
with Stephanie Osburn, Executive Director of the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board and the President’s Intelligence Oversight Board

Ms. Osburn will provide a broad brush look at the piece parts of the U.S. Intelligence Community as it exists in 2008 after three years of reform and transformation discussing the sometimes competing views of what a “robust” national intelligence capability should look like.  Ms. Osburn will lead what is often a lively discussion of whether the nation can afford such a capability; she will also provide a window on aspects of the policy level decisionmaking processes regarding how much capability is enough.

October 14

Ethics in Intelligence

with Georgetown Professor Burton Gerber

Mr. Gerber, a retired CIA senior operations officer will lead a discussion of this subject focusing on, among other topics, why ethics is a key ingredient in a responsible intelligence capability.  He will also discuss whether classic espionage poses ethical dilemmas for those who practice the craft of intelligence, recruit spies, use technical intelligence tools---and for the nations that ask them to do so.

October 21

The Changing Nature of 21st Century Demands on the Intelligence Community
with David Shedd, Deputy Director of National Intelligence for Policy

Mr. Shedd will discuss how the intelligence landscape has changed in the 21st century based on threats not only from traditional nation states but from increasingly prevalent and effective non-nation state adversaries.  Mr. Shedd will discuss what impact this shift has had on national intelligence collection and analytic priorities and will be review whether separating intelligence analysts from intelligence collection organizations would be a good---or bad---idea.  He will provide some thoughts on the pos 9-11 evolution of intelligence collected domestically while posing the provocative question as to whether there are any absolutes in the debate over security vs. civil liberties.

October 28

The Role of Oversight in Intelligence
with former Homeland Security Advisor Frances Fragos Townsend

Oversight of the Intelligence Community is part of the intelligence landscape of the later half of 20th century and now in the 21st century.  Ms. Townsend, as the President’s Homeland Security Advisor and point person for the implementation of the WMD Commission’s recommendations, is uniquely qualified to discuss oversight issues given her central role in intelligence reform and transformation.  Ms.Townsend will also offer her views on the imperative for a nation to have a robust intelligence enterprise that provides policymakers with accurate and actionable intelligence that can, first and foremost, protect the homeland.  She will also touch on the transformation of the FBI’s role in intelligence.

November 3

The Policy-Intelligence Nexus and the Evolving Nature of Customer Needs
with Stephen Cambone, former Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence and  David Gordon, Director of Policy Planning at Department of State

Dr. Cambone and Dr. Gordon, given their roles as both policy consumers of intelligence and, in Dr. Cambone’s case, as the responsible DoD official for intelligence, will lead a discussion which will first delineate the ways the policy and intelligence worlds are fundamentally different.  In that context, they will discuss why these two worlds historically often have trouble relating to each other.  Finally, from their own experiences, they will talk about what consumers of intelligence expect from their intelligence services in the 21st century.

November 4
Covert Action – a Policy Tool
with Thomas Twetten, former Deputy Director of Operations at the CIA

As the policy tool which is often referred to as “the hidden hand” of government, covert action is fundamentally different from all other aspects of the intelligence disciplines.  Mr. Twetten will provide a discussion of the practice of this discipline and engage participants in questions such as should the U.S. engage in covert action more frequently than it does---less---not at all; should U.S. foreign and defense policy include an active effort to deceive other countries; and is there ever a justification for interfering with the evolution of political affairs in another country.

November 18

Enhancing U.S. Intelligence Capabilities – the Foreign Intelligence Connections
with Australian Ambassador to the U.S. Dennis Richardson

Ambassador Richardson, with extensive experience in the intelligence relationship between Australia and the United States will lead a discussion of why nations partner with each other, particularly in the “secret” intelligence arena.  He will provide the “pros” and “cons” on the subject of should a nation do intelligence on its own and rely less, or not at all, on foreign intelligence services.  He will also address the related issue of how a national intelligence service can stave off penetration by another foreign intelligence service. its effectiveness, the issues of secrecy in an open society and lead a discussion of whether it is ever justified for the news media to reveal classified information.