Harvard Belfer Center’s Intelligence Project 
10 February – 21 April | Spring 2022 
Thursdays, 4:30-6:00pm

Location: To start, the ISG will be meeting virtually, sleuthing in cyber space. We hope to move to in-person (cloak and dagger) operations later in the semester.

Study Group Facilitators: 
Paul Kolbe, Director of the Belfer Center’s Intelligence Project
Dr. Calder Walton, Intelligence Project Research Director
Dr. Michael Miner, Harvard Lecturer and Intelligence Project Research Associate
Dr. Maria Robson Morrow, Intelligence Project Program Coordinator

Contact Emails:

The Intelligence Study Group is designed for students considering careers in government or private sector intelligence, as well as for those interested in a broad introduction to the use and abuse of intelligence. Over the course of 10 sessions, participants will become familiar with intelligence history, methodology, organizations and practice. The Study Group will use historical examples (‘Applied History’), current readings, and discussion to examine how intelligence enhances policy decision-making, where it fails, and the differences between intelligence in liberal democracies and one-party states. The sessions will be led by former senior CIA officer Paul Kolbe, Director of the Belfer Center Intelligence Project, and intelligence historian, Calder Walton, Belfer Intelligence Project Director of Research, Maria Robson Morrow, Intelligence Project Program Coordinator, and Michael Miner, Intelligence Project Research Associate and Harvard Instructor.  

Participation is limited to 30 students and is determined by application. 

Core Text: Lowenthal, Mark M, Intelligence: From Secrets to Policy, 8th edition (2019)

Key Learning Outcomes: 
Participants will:

  • Gain an understanding of the intelligence cycle and its relevance to the government and private sector, including the relationship between intelligence professionals and their policy maker customers. 
  • Learn major intelligence collection disciplines and their application to analytical problems faced by the governments and private sector. 
  • Apply analytic methodologies and identify common impediments to accurate intelligence analysis. 
  • Develop understanding of covert action principles and techniques and assess their relevance and limitations. 
  • Examine counterintelligence issues to include insider threats and cyber espionage. 
  • Explore the use and abuse of intelligence by governments-- both democratic and dictatorial-- and the impact that intelligence can have on international affairs. 
  • Assess present-day intelligence and national security crises through lens of historical precedents. 
  • Discuss why intelligence failures occur and what can be done to prevent them. 

Participation is limited to 30 students determined by application. The study group is open to all Harvard students, faculty, fellows, and staff. No prior experience with, or knowledge of, the topic is necessary. Participation in discussion and weekly attendance is highly encouraged. The study group will be conducted under Chatham House Rules.

The application window will run through Monday, January 31. To apply, please use the application button below.