Intelligence Reform

May 29, 2015 • Volume 25, Issue 20
Are U.S. spy agencies prepared for 21st-century threats?
By Bill Wanlund


Supporters of the self-declared Islamic State, also known as ISIS (AP Photo)
Supporters of the self-declared Islamic State, also known as ISIS, demonstrate in Mosul, Iraq, on June 16, 2014. U.S. security experts question whether U.S. intelligence-gathering efforts can deal with such threats as cyberattacks and ISIS' recruitment of Westerners, including Americans. (AP Photo)

New and evolving national security threats are raising questions about the U.S. intelligence community's effectiveness. A decade after the nation's 16 spy agencies were consolidated under the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, security experts are expressing concerns about interagency rivalries and questioning whether the intelligence community is prepared to deal with domestic and foreign threats, including cyberattacks and recruitment of young Westerners by the Islamic State (ISIS). Meanwhile, Congress has been wrangling over whether to allow the National Security Agency to continue collecting bulk cellphone data from Americans, a practice the spy agency says is necessary to safeguard the nation from terrorism but that civil libertarians say erodes one of the very principles of democracy it is intended to protect — citizens' right to privacy. At the same time, critics say international reactions to alleged CIA torture of terrorism suspects in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan continue to undermine the intelligence community's effectiveness on the world stage.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Intelligence Agencies
May 29, 2015  Intelligence Reform
Sep. 25, 2009  Interrogating the CIA
Jun. 04, 2004  Re-examining 9/11
Sep. 12, 2003  Homeland Security
Jan. 25, 2002  Intelligence Reforms
Apr. 11, 1997  The FBI Under Fire
Feb. 02, 1996  Reforming the CIA
Dec. 11, 1992  The New CIA
Dec. 28, 1979  Intelligence Agencies Under Fire
Sep. 30, 1977  FBI in Transition
Jul. 25, 1973  Intelligence Community
Jun. 25, 1971  Future of the FBI
Dec. 28, 1961  Intelligence for Security
Feb. 03, 1954  Security Risks in Government
May 18, 1949  Foreign Intelligence
Cold War
Domestic Issues
International Law and Agreements
Middle East Conflicts
Regional Political Affairs: Russia and the Former Soviet Union
Terrorism and Counterterrorism
U.S. at War: Cold War