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Not Your Father's Intelligence Failure: Why the Intelligence Community Failed to Anticipate the Rise of ISIS


Not Your Father's Intelligence Failure: Why the Intelligence Community Failed to Anticipate the Rise of ISIS

Abstract: 

In this chapter, Erik J. Dahl notes that some have argued that there were no intelligence failures in the lead-up to June 2014. These voices assert that warnings were given, but that senior administration officials simply failed to heed them. Although there may be some truth to this line of argument, Dahl observes that senior intelligence officials have conceded that they did indeed underestimate ISIS’s strength and its ability to challenge the post-2003 dispensation in Iraq. Dahl himself argues that the intelligence community (IC) did fail properly to assess the threat that ISIS constituted. Dahl’s chapter adds insight to the scholarly literature about these failures, which, as he notes, has too often ignored them. He does so in part by analyzing the statements of public officials about what went amiss and examines a controversy about the management of intelligence by the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM). Disturbingly, he concludes that the failures attendant to the failure to appreciate the danger actually posed by ISIS in 2014 are not isolated but are indicative of a larger set of challenges as the IC assesses the dangers posed by nonstate actors.

Publication Information

Full Citation: 

Dahl, Erik J. 2018. "Not Your Father's Intelligence Failure: Why the Intelligence Community Failed to Anticipate the Rise of ISIS." In The Future of ISIS: Regional and International Implications, eds. Feisal al-Istrabadi and Sumit Ganguly. Washington, DC: The Brookings Institution, 41-66. https://books.google.com/books/about/The_Future_of_ISIS.html?id=ALpkDgAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=kp_read_button#v=onepage&q&f=false

START Author(s): 
Erik Dahl
Publication URL: 
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