Preventing Surprise Attacks: Intelligence Reform in the Wake of 9/11 / Edition 1

Hardcover (Print)
Buy Used
Buy Used from
(Save 35%)
Item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging.
Condition: Used – Good details
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $1.99
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 90%)
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (31) from $1.99   
  • New (4) from $12.22   
  • Used (27) from $1.99   


The commission to investigate the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States issued its final report in July of 2004, in which it recommended a dramatic overhaul of the nation's intelligence system. Congress responded by hastily enacting the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, which adopts many of the 9/11 commission's specific recommendations, though with a number of alterations. Richard A. Posner, in the first full-length study of the post-9/11 movement for intelligence reform, argues that the 9/11 commission's analysis, on which Congress relied, was superficial and its organizational proposals unsound. The commission, followed by Congress, exaggerated the benefits of centralizing control over intelligence; neglected the relevant scholarship dealing with surprise attacks, organization theory, the principles of intelligence, and the experience of foreign nations, some of which have a longer history of fighting terrorism than the United States; and as a result ignored the psychological, economic, historical, sociological, and comparative dimensions of the issue of intelligence reform. Posner explains, however, that a ray of hope remains: the reorganization provisions of the new Act are so vague, as a result of intense politicking, that the actual shape of the reorganized system will depend critically on decisions made by the President in implementing the Act. In a searing critique, Posner exposes the pitfalls created by the new legislation, identifies the issues overlooked by the 9/11 commission and Congress, and suggests directions for real reform. This book is published in cooperation with the Hoover Institution

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

American Enterprise
It's fitting that Posner sits on the federal bench, where the Constitution guarantees jurists life tenure, and a salary that can never be reduced. A critic this honest, piercing, and unforgiving would otherwise have a short tenure in Washington, D.C.
— David White
New York Post
Posner trenchantly takes to task the grandstanding 9/11 commission. The picture painted by this useful book is pessimistic but not dire. Preempting another 9/11 would be difficult. But, as Posner argues, to the limited extent intelligence structure many factor in, the new legislation has enough play in the joints to allow competent actors to operate.
— Andrew McCarthy
A rewarding read that is worth re-reading.
The New York Times
Preventing Surprise Attacks" provides a... useful and contrarian view of the commision report.
— Eric Lichtblau
Library Journal
Will reorganization of the CIA and other intelligence agencies, as well as the appointment of a director of national intelligence, create fundamental change in the U.S. national intelligence community? In this concise book, Posner (Catastrophe: Risk and Response), a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals, critically unravels the foundations of the 9/11 Commission report and shows defects in the subsequent legislation, the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004. His clear analysis focuses upon organizational and practical problems with the reorganization of the intelligence community and how the centralization reduces flexibility and adaptability of intelligence decisions. Posner finds that surprise attacks follow a predictable pattern and questions whether expected intelligence reforms will be able to unravel those patterns. He gives insightful arguments concerning the complexities of legislative and executive policies that limit effective national intelligence activities. This worthwhile book for public and academic libraries substantially enhances the public debate about intelligence reform.-Steven Puro, St. Louis Univ. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

Meet the Author

Richard A. Posner is a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals in Chicago and a senior lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School. He is the author of hundreds of articles and nearly four dozen books, including An Affair of State: The Investigation, Impeachment, and Trial of President Clinton (1999); Breaking the Deadlock: The 2000 Election, The Constitution, and the Courts (2001); Public Intellectuals: A Study of Decline (2002); and Catastrophe: Risk and Response (2004).

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Part 1 Preface Part 2 Introduction Part 3 Part I: From the 9/11 Commission's Report to the Intelligence Reform Act Chapter 4 1. The Commission's Organizational Recommendations Chapter 5 2. The Congressional Response Part 6 Part II: Toward the Optimal Organization of the U.S. Intelligence System Chapter 7 3. The History and Anatomy of Successful Surprise Attacks Chapter 8 4. The Principles of Intelligence Chapter 9 5. The Principles of Organization Chapter 10 6. Lessons from the Organization of Intelligence in Other Countries Part 11 Conclusion: What Is to Be Done?

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)