Sponsored by the Harriman Institute’s Core Project and the Arnold A. Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies.

Most studies of counterterrorism ignore the vital role of intelligence, focus only on its most controversial aspects, or fail to recognize how counterterrorism intelligence differs from traditional intelligence issues. This article argues that many of the common criticisms of the CIA and other agencies misunderstand counterterrorism intelligence and what is realistic for gaining information on terrorist groups. In particular, the important role of signals intelligence, liaison relationships, document exploitation, and interrogation are overlooked. This talk emphasizes the need to recognize these differences when evaluating counterterrorism and calls for being cautious with intelligence reform. In addition, it argues for changing US detention policy and making the public more aware of the inevitable gaps related to counterterrorism intelligence.

Daniel Byman
is a professor in the Security Studies Program in the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service with a concurrent appointment with the Georgetown Department of Government. He served as director of Georgetown’s Security Studies Program and Center for Security Studies from 2005 until 2010.

Professor Byman is a Senior Fellow and Director of Research at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution. From 2002 to 2004 he served as a Professional Staff Member with the 9/11 Commission and with the Joint 9/11 Inquiry Staff of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees. Before joining the Inquiry Staff he was the Research Director of the Center for Middle East Public Policy at the RAND Corporation. Previous to this, Professor Byman worked as an analyst on the Middle East for the U.S. government.

He is the author of A High Price: The Triumphs and Failures of Israeli Counterterrorism (Oxford, 2011); The Five Front War: The Better Way to Fight Global Jihad (Wiley, 2007); Deadly Connections: States that Sponsor Terrorism (Cambridge, 2005); Keeping the Peace: Lasting Solutions to Ethnic Conflict (Johns Hopkins, 2002); and co-author of Things Fall Apart: Containing the Spillover from the Iraqi Civil War (Brookings, 2007) and The Dynamics of Coercion: American Foreign Policy and the Limits of Military Might (Cambridge, 2002). Professor Byman has also written extensively on a range of topics related to terrorism, international security, civil and ethnic conflict, and the Middle East. His recent articles have appeared in Foreign Affairs and Foreign Policy, as well as journals including Political Science Quarterly, Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, International Security, and Journal of Strategic Studies. Dr. Byman received a BA from Amherst College and a Ph.D. from the Massachussetts Institute of Technology.