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Demystifying Intelligence - Things you always wondered about but never knew whom to ask!

Intelligence issues are gaining more and more public notoriety, most recently following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, which the media attributed to yet another intelligence failure.  Because of the highly classified nature of the intelligence business, the general public has few occasions to learn more about the business of intelligence to judge such media claims.  Other frequently sensationalized revelations deal with the discovery of spies within the intelligence and law enforcement communities. 

The presenter, a retired intelligence officer with extensive experience in the conduct and oversight of intelligence, is particularly passionate about informing the public about intelligence issues.  She believes that the taxpayer deserves to be better informed about the capabilities, limitations, and costs of intelligence, as well as the impact of intelligence on U.S. foreign policy decisions.  Her presentation, which she has given to numerous audiences over the past two years, seeks to dispel common misperceptions about intelligence operations (James Bond, assassinations, etc.) and clarify some basic concepts (spies, agents, intelligence officers, covert operations, clandestine activities, etc.). 

This overview of intelligence issues will include a description of the various components of the U.S. intelligence community and intelligence collection disciplines, the use of intelligence in the conduct of U.S. foreign policy, the real or perceived conflict between the conduct of intelligence operations and the principles of democracy, and legal and congressional oversight.  Specific examples will accompany each concept, including some basic intelligence terminology, suggested online intelligence resources for further research, and reference to applicable laws. 

The presentation style is informal, but informative, using humor and specific examples to illustrate each point.  The audience is especially encouraged to ask questions throughout the presentation.

 U.S. Intelligence:  Evolution of a Policy Tool

The terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001 underscored the need for the US intelligence community to adapt to the changing threats in a post-Cold War world. To support US national security needs and foreign policy effectively, the intelligence community shifted its focus from the traditional adversaries of the post-World War II and Cold War era to those of disparate stateless, shadow organizations like Al-Qa’idah. The recommendations of the 9/11 Commission effected a major restructuring of the US intelligence community and a change in is relationship with law enforcement agencies.

Emily Francona, a retired US intelligence officer and former professional staff member with the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, explains the impact of these changes and challenges audience members to consider the pros and cons of a more effective intelligence community within the parameters of our democratic values.