Journal of Economic Perspectives: Vol. 19 No. 4 (Fall 2005)


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Intelligence Failures: An Organizational Economics Perspective

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Garicano, Luis, and Richard A. Posner. 2005. "Intelligence Failures: An Organizational Economics Perspective." Journal of Economic Perspectives, 19(4): 151-170.

DOI: 10.1257/089533005775196723


Two recent failures of the U.S. intelligence system have led to the creation of high-level investigative commissions. The failure to prevent the terrorist attacks of 9/11 prompted the creation of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (2004), or 9/11 Commission.The mistaken belief that Saddam Hussein had retained weapons of mass destruction prompted the creation of the Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction (2005), or the WMD Commission. In this paper, we use insights from organizational economics to analyze the principal organizational issues these commissions have raised in the ongoing discussion about how to prevent intelligence failures.

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Garicano, Luis
Posner, Richard A.


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