Terrorism and counterterrorism are a little bit like that; to determine where the next threat comes from, you have to first imagine it. This point was
made by the 9/11 Commission when it concluded that
the events of September 11 and our failure to stop them
resulted, in part, from a failure of the imagination. The
commission also observed that a lack of information
sharing, vertically and horizontally, further obscured
After all, Tom Clancy first gave us a glimpse of the
threat in “Debt of Honor” (1994). Similarly, the public,
as well as members of the intelligence (IC) and law
enforcement (LE) communities, may have hung on to
isolated bits of information that, in hindsight, might
have given us clues to a catastrophe in the making.
Alas, most people are not Alan Kay, and Clancy
commented after the events of 9/11 that any book
based on the notion of multiple aircraft crashing into
buildings would never have passed editorial muster.
The “immaculate collection” is how Director of
National Intelligence James Clapper recently referred
to the IC’s efforts to predict national security threats
in the face of diminished resources and increasing
restrictions. Truth be known, the future is as much
BY ROBERT P. OLISLAGERS, A.A.E.
“The best way to predict the future is to invent it”