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Constructing CassandraReframing Intelligence Failure at the CIA, 1947-2001$
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Milo Jones and Philippe Silberzahn

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780804785808

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804785808.001.0001

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How the CIA is Made

How the CIA is Made

Chapter:
(p.38) 2 How the CIA is Made
Source:
Constructing Cassandra
Author(s):

Milo Jones

Philippe Silberzahn

Publisher:
Stanford University Press
DOI:10.11126/stanford/9780804785808.003.0003

This chapter presents an overview of the CIA's internal culture and collective identity, and of the social mechanisms that created and maintained them between 1947 and 2001. First, it documents four persistent features of the CIA's identity and culture that later chapters use to understand intelligence failure: homogeneity of personnel, scientism, a preference for secret rather than openly available information, and a drive for consensus over other analytic values. In later chapters, these features are revisited during each phase of the intelligence cycle to help understand how they create the conditions for intelligence failure. Next, the chapter details the four key mechanisms that gave rise to these features of the CIA and explain their persistence: the self-selection of personnel, the active selection of personnel, the socialization of analysts, and the mirror-imaging not only of the Agency's targets, but also the CIA's intelligence community partners and intelligence consumers.

Keywords:   scientism, secrecy, consensus, Cassandras, intelligence cycle, positivism, self-selection, active selection, socialization, intelligence failure

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