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Commentary: A Failure of Imagination (Intelligence, WMDs and ‘Virtual Jihad').

Abstract : Intelligence estimates based on models keyed to frequency and recency of past occurrences make people less secure even if they predict most harmful events. The U.S. presidential commission on WMDs, the 9/11 commission, and Spain's comisión 11-M have condemned the status quo mentality of the intelligence community, which they see as being preoccupied with today's “current operations” and tactical requirements, and inattentive to tomorrow's far-ranging problems and strategic solutions. But the overriding emphasis in these commissions' recommendations is on further vertically integrating intelligence collection, analysis, and operations. Such proposals to further centralize intelligence and unify command and control are not promising given recent transformations in Jihadist networks to a somewhat “leaderless resistance” in the wake of Al Qaeda's operational demise. To defeat terrorist networks requires grasping novel relations between an englobing messianic moral framework, the rootless intellectual and physical mobility of immigrant and diaspora communities, and the overarching conceptual, emotional, and logistical afford- ances of the Internet. Britain's WWII experience provides salutary lessons for think- ing creatively with decentralized expertise and partially autonomous approaches.
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Contributor : Scott Atran <>
Submitted on : Thursday, July 22, 2010 - 7:05:14 PM
Last modification on : Friday, July 2, 2021 - 9:58:02 AM
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  • HAL Id : ijn_00505171, version 1



Scott Atran. Commentary: A Failure of Imagination (Intelligence, WMDs and ‘Virtual Jihad').. Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, Taylor & Francis (Routledge), 2006, 29, pp.263-278. ⟨ijn_00505171⟩



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