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Spies, Lies, and Algorithms

Spies, Lies, and Algorithms

A book talk on the history and future of American intelligence with Amy Zegart

Wednesday, March 9, 2022
12:00 PM (Pacific Time)
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Registration information forthcoming.

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

“Amy Zegart makes the field of intelligence accessible for all who need to understand it―and today that is everyone who needs to comprehend the present and anticipate the future.”
H. R. McMaster, author of Battlegrounds and Dereliction of Duty

Spying has never been more ubiquitous—or less understood. The world is drowning in spy movies, TV shows, and novels, but universities offer more courses on rock and roll than on the CIA and there are more congressional experts on powdered milk than espionage. This crisis in intelligence education is distorting public opinion, fueling conspiracy theories, and hurting intelligence policy. In Spies, Lies, and Algorithms, Amy Zegart separates fact from fiction as she offers an engaging and enlightening account of the past, present, and future of American espionage as it faces a revolution driven by digital technology.

Drawing on decades of research and hundreds of interviews with intelligence officials, Zegart provides a history of U.S. espionage, from George Washington’s Revolutionary War spies to today’s spy satellites; examines how fictional spies are influencing real officials; gives an overview of intelligence basics and life inside America’s intelligence agencies; explains the deadly cognitive biases that can mislead analysts; and explores the vexed issues of traitors, covert action, and congressional oversight. Most of all, Zegart describes how technology is empowering new enemies and opportunities, and creating powerful new players, such as private citizens who are successfully tracking nuclear threats using little more than Google Earth. And she shows why cyberspace is, in many ways, the ultimate cloak-and-dagger battleground, where nefarious actors employ deception, subterfuge, and advanced technology for theft, espionage, and information warfare.

A fascinating and revealing account of espionage for the digital age, Spies, Lies, and Algorithms is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the reality of spying today.

 

PRE-ORDER THE BOOK

Pre-order Spies, Lies, and Algorithms: The History and Future of American Intelligence from Princeton University Press.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Amy Zegart is the Morris Arnold and Nona Jean Cox Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution and Professor of Political Science (by courtesy) at Stanford University. She is also a Senior Fellow at Stanford’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, Chair of Stanford’s Artificial Intelligence and International Security Steering Committee, and a contributing writer at The Atlantic. She specializes in U.S. intelligence, emerging technologies and national security, grand strategy, and global political risk management.

Zegart has been featured by the National Journal as one of the ten most influential experts in intelligence reform. Most recently, she served as a commissioner on the 2020 CSIS Technology and Intelligence Task Force (co-chaired by Avril Haines and Stephanie O’Sullivan) and has advised the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence. She served on the Clinton administration’s National Security Council staff and as a foreign policy adviser to the Bush 2000 presidential campaign. She has also testified before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and advised senior officials on intelligence, homeland security, and cybersecurity matters.

The author of five books, Zegart’s award-winning research includes the leading academic study of intelligence failures before 9/11 — Spying Blind: The CIA, the FBI, and the Origins of 9/11 (Princeton 2007). She co-edited with Herbert Lin Bytes, Bombs, and Spies: The Strategic Dimensions of Offensive Cyber Operations (Brookings 2019). She and Condoleezza Rice co-authored Political Risk: How Businesses and Organizations Can Anticipate Global Insecurity (Twelve 2018) based on their popular Stanford MBA course. Zegart’s forthcoming book is Spies, Lies, and Algorithms: The History and Future of American Intelligence (Princeton 2022). Her research has also been published in International Security and other academic journals as well as Foreign Affairs, the New York Times, Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal.

Previously, Zegart served as co-director of Stanford’s Center for International Security and Cooperation, founding co-director of the Stanford Cyber Policy Program, and chief academic officer of the Hoover Institution. Before coming to Stanford, she was Professor of Public Policy at UCLA and a McKinsey & Company consultant.

She is the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship, the American Political Science Association’s Leonard D. White Dissertation Award, the National Academy of Public Administration’s Brownlow Book Award, two UCLA teaching awards, and grants from the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Hewlett Foundation, the Smith Richardson Foundation, and the National Science Foundation.

A native of Louisville, Kentucky, Zegart received an A.B. in East Asian studies magna cum laude from Harvard University and an M.A. and Ph.D. in political science from Stanford University. She serves on the board of directors of Kratos Defense & Security Solutions (KTOS) and the Capital Group. 

 

ABOUT THE MODERATOR

Alexandra Lieben is the Deputy Director of the Ronald W. Burkle Center for International Relations and Lecturer in the Undergraduate Program in Public Affairs at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs. A certified mediator, she teaches constructive communication, alternative dispute resolution, public dialogue, cultural competency, international conflict resolution, and community and economic development to undergraduate and graduate students at UCLA.