New evidence and new methods for analyzing the Iranian revolution as an intelligence failure

Matthew Connelly, Raymond Hicks, Robert Jervis, Arthur Spirling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

The U.S. government failure to predict the Shah’s 1979 fall is a prototypical example of intelligence failure. We complement the close reading of memoirs and State Department documents with computational analysis of the documents in the aggregate, including cables to and from embassies and consulates in Iran. Using several techniques including traffic and sentiment analysis, we find that officials in Iran reported on the protests but did not stress the situation’s severity until too late. D.C. officials were distracted by other events. Text analysis can complement qualitative approaches to more clearly indicate what good intelligence reporting can and cannot achieve.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)781-806
Number of pages26
JournalIntelligence and National Security
Volume36
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • History
  • Political Science and International Relations

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