Washington Center

Spies! The Politics of Intelligence

Day and Time: 
Thursdays, 6:00-9:00 p.m.
Semester Dates: 
August 28 to December 11, 2014
Semester Elective

In this course students will be introduced to recent issues concerning intelligence, such as intelligence failure, reform, and oversight, focusing particularly on how the change in US intelligence in the post-9/11 context has increasingly emphasized domestic – or “homeland” – intelligence. Students will gain a working understanding of the different types of intelligence, the range of responsibilities that the different IC members hold, and the relationship between intelligence and the policy-making process. Beyond the technical aspects of the intelligence function, students will explore the political context that frames intelligence operations and learn how the three branches of government both collaborate and conflict to utilize this resource. They will learn how integral intelligence information is to high-level government decision-making and the function of foreign policy. Finally, students will consider some of the major normative questions regarding intelligence, such as: what the appropriate role for intelligence should be in a democracy, how transparent intelligence should be to the public, and how its array of activities should be supervised.

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