National Security Experts


Amy Zegart

Biography provided by participant

Amy Zegart is an Associate Professor of Public Policy at UCLA's School of Public Affairs, where she teaches courses on U.S. intelligence agencies, national security policy, global studies, public management, and anything scary. She is also a fellow at UCLA�s Burkle Center on International Relations and a Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. She has been featured by The National Journal as one of the ten most influential experts in intelligence reform. She worked on the Clinton Administration's National Security Council staff in 1993 and served as a foreign policy adviser to the Bush-Cheney 2000 presidential campaign. Her first book, Flawed by Design: The Evolution of the CIA, JCS and NSC (Stanford Univ. Press) received a prestigious political science dissertation prize, which means it was read by dozens. Her new book, Spying Blind: The CIA, the FBI, and the Origins of 9/11 (Princeton Univ. Press, 2007), examines why intelligence agencies adapted poorly to terrorism before 9/11 and won the 2008 Louis Brownlow Book Award. A proud native of Kentucky, she received an A.B. in East Asian Studies from Harvard and a Ph.D. in Political Science from Stanford. When not combating her own household insurgency of three kids, she hikes and watches bad reality television.

Recent Responses

May 25, 2010 09:07 PM

Was Blair the cause of his own undoing or was the DNI flawed by design? The answer is a little bit Blair, a lot more flawed by design.

Blair took a tough job and made it tougher in two ways. The first was challenging the CIA out of the gate (over who would designate key intelligence officials abroad). Picking early fights with the CIA isn’t a bad idea. Losing early fights with the CIA is. Blair’s second misstep was his testimony to Congress after the Christmas Day bomb plot, when he criticized the Obama Administration’s interrogation decisions, seemingly forgetting that: a) he WAS the Obama Administration; and b) his recommended alternative – “activating” a special, new interrogation team – was impossible since the team was not yet operational and was never designed to interrogate suspects in the U.S. Sounding like a Republican critic of the administration was not the best political strategy. Sounding like an uninformed critic was even worse.

But those two episodes are small potatoes compared to the design flaw

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