Summary of Spies, Lies, and Algorithms

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No military can do its job well without good intelligence. Yet as the threat landscape changes, so must a country’s intelligence-gathering strategy. As the old saying goes, America’s intelligence community continues to prepare to fight the last war. Over the past decade, it has perfected its ability to track down terrorists, but has struggled to keep pace with rapidly developing technologies that are narrowing America’s edge over its adversaries. In an essay in Foreign Affairs, Amy Zegart and Michael Morell argue in favor of far-reaching intelligence reforms and a better collaboration between the technology sector and the government.

About the Authors

Amy Zegart is a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution and at Stanford University’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies. Michael Morell is former Deputy Director and Acting Director of the CIA and Global Chair of the Geopolitical Risk Practice at Beacon Global Strategies.



Technological advances and a changing international threat landscape require a fundamental restructuring of America’s intelligence agencies. The last major intelligence reform took place after 9/11 and aimed, quite successfully, at tracking down terrorists and preventing future attacks. Yet Russia’s largely undetected social media campaigns aimed at influencing the outcome of the 2016 presidential election revealed that America’s intelligence community is ill-prepared for protecting the country against threats enabled by emerging technologies. Among these threats are potential cyber attacks on critical infrastructure and public misinformation...

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