Constructing Cassandra

Title:                      Constructing Cassandra

Author:                  Milo Jones

Jones, Milo (2013) and Philippe Silberzahn. Constructing Cassandra: Reframing Intelligence Failure at the CIA, 1947- 2001. Stanford, California : Stanford University Press

LCCN:    2013010527

JK468.I6 J7 2013


  • The work of intelligence — How the CIA is made — The Iranian Revolution — The collapse of the USSR — The Cuban Missile Crisis — The terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001 — The CIA and the future of intelligence.


Date Posted:      April 1, 2016

Reviewed by Joshua Sinai, Ph. D.[1]

A conceptually innovative examination of intelligence failures at the CIA that resulted in four significant strategic surprises: the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, the 1978 Iranian revolution, the 1991 collapse of the USSR, and the 9/11 catastrophic attacks by al Qaida, To explain how such strategic surprises might occur the authors present a model of strategic surprise that attempts to explore, in a systematic manner, the sources of intelligence failures and how they can be overcome in the future, for instance, by a more extensive use of alternative hypotheses, which they write “are the key mechanism by which analysts separate the signal of information from the background noise of data and events.” (p. 242)

[1] Sinai, Joshua in The Intelligencer: Journal of U. S. Intelligence Studies (20, 2, Fall/Winter, 2013, p. 122). These reviews present books which examine national security issues that need to be considered in terrorism and counterterrorism analysis. Joshua Sinai is a Washington, DC-based consultant on counterterrorism studies. He can be reached at: Joshua.sinai@

This entry was posted in Intelligence Analysis and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s