The Intelligence Project seeks to increase the Center’s capacity to advance policy relevant knowledge in intelligence areas and help prepare future leaders in those fields.  The initiative builds on the intelligence related research already being done at the Belfer Center and adds new research to fill knowledge gaps. The initiative links intelligence  agencies with Belfer researchers, faculty, and Kennedy School students, to facilitate better policy-making in the field and enrich the education of fellows and students about intelligence.

Focus on Intelligence

The role of intelligence agencies’ operations in the prosecution of US policy abroad.  The initiative examines the reliance on intelligence assets (covert paramilitary forces, surveillance assets, drones, cyber attacks, etc.) in the fight against foreign adversaries and whether it foreshadows an increase in of their use to achieve US strategic goals in the future.  Speakers, discussions, and other activities are designed to explore the balance that should exist between legitimate security needs and appropriate oversight, when considering whether to employ covert or overt armed force.  The use of drones against al Qaeda is addressed as a special case which touches not only on their use against terrorist networks but the effect of their growing use on the dividing line between military and extra-military use of force by the government.

The role of intelligence in US policy-making.  For many aspiring policy-makers the first time they are exposed to the capabilities and benefits of the intelligence community in policy-making happens when they arrive at their first government job authorizing them a security clearance.  This is too late to prepare to wade through the reams of classified data, which can either illuminate or obfuscate reality depending on the ability of the reader to interpret it.   The project acquaints students and fellows with the intelligence community and its strengths and weaknesses for policy making.  Discussions with active and retired intelligence community experts help students and fellows prepare to best use the information available through the intelligence agencies while avoiding the pitfalls of over-reliance on intelligence products in making policy.



Eugene Kogan on Nuclear Negotiations between the United States and its Allies (8:36 min.)

Eugene Kogan is a Stanton Nuclear Security Fellow in Belfer Center’s International Security Program. (12/3/2014)


Evelyn Krache Morris on Kennedy’s Use of Chemicals in South Vietnam (10:20 min.)

Evelyn Krache Morris is a research fellow in Belfer Center’s International Security Program. (1/10/2013)


David Pendall on Persistent Surveillance and the Intelligence Enterprise (14:42 min.)

Colonel David Pendall is a career intelligence officer and National Security Fellow at the MIT Security Studies Program. (28/5/2013)


Matt Waldman on Causes of US Policymaking Errors in Afghanistan (9:55 min.)

Matt Waldman is a research fellow in Belfer Center’s International Security Program. (25/4/2013)


Annie Tracy Samuel on Iran’s Revolutionary Guard (12:29 min.)

Annie Tracy Samuel is a research fellow in Belfer Center’s International Security Program. (18/3/2013)


Annie Tracy Samuel on Iran – Iraq War (12:26 min.)

Annie Tracy Samuel is a research fellow in Belfer Center’s International Security Program. (18/3/2013)


Charles Cogan on Hunters and Gathers in Human Intelligence (6:18 min.)

Charles Cogan is an associate in Belfer Center’s International Security Program and former CIA Chief in Paris France. (13/3/2013)


Lucas Kello on Cyber Weapons for International Relations and Security (8:00 min.)

Dr. Lucas Kello is a joint postdoctoral fellow in Belfer Center’s International Security Program and the Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program. (13/3/2013)


Vivek Mohan on Bridging Gaps Between Cyber Security and Law Enforcement (8:00 min.) 

Vivek Mohan is a fellow in Belfer Center’s Science, Information and Communications Technology and Public Policy Project. (13/3/2013)


John Park on Unintended Consequences of Financial Sanctions (9:00 min.)

Dr. John Park is the Stanton Nuclear Security Junior Faculty Fellow at MIT and an Associate with the Belfer Center Project on Managing the Atom. (27/2/2013)


Dianne Pfundstein on Compellent Military Threats in US Foreign Policy (10:08 min.)

Dr. Dianne Pfundstein is a postdoctoral research fellow in the Belfer Center International Security Program currently on leave from UMASS Amherst. (27/2/2013)


Ryan Ellis on Cyber Security (9:01 min.) 

Dr. Ryan Ellis is a postdoctoral research fellow in the Belfer Center Science and Technology and Public Policy Program and a visiting lecturer at Naval Post Graduate School in Monterrey CA. (5/3/2013)