Heed Iraq Lessons to Avoid Disaster in Iran

Joseph Nye

Financial Times
John Negroponte faces a daunting task if, as expected, he is confirmed in April as America's new intelligence director. This week the Commission on Intelligence Capabilities, chaired by Laurence Silberman and Charles Robb, issued a searing critique of how intelligence agencies failed in Iraq. Mr Negroponte will be charged with repairing a system marked by two big failures - inadequate warning of the al-Qaeda attacks of September 11 2001, and incorrect attribution of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq before the US-led March 2003 invasion. America's independent commission into the 9/11 attacks focused on the failure to "connect the dots" and recommended bureaucratic changes, including the creation of Mr Negroponte's position. Better co-ordination of budgets and personnel and daily briefing of the president may help Mr Negroponte on this task.

Joseph Nye, a professor at Harvard, is currently a visiting fellow at Balliol College, Oxford, and author of The Power Game: A Washington Novel (Public Affairs Press)

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