After the September 11 attacks, the 9/11 Commission argued that the United States needed a powerful leader, a spymaster, to forge the scattered intelligence bureaucracies into a singular enterprise to vanquish America's new enemies - stateless international terrorists. In the midst of the 2004 presidential election, Congress and the president remade the post-World War II national security infrastructure in less than five months, creating the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) and a National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC). Blinking Red illuminates the complicated history of the bureaucratic efforts to reform America's national security after the intelligence failures of 9/11 and Iraq's missing weapons of mass destruction, explaining how the NSC and Congress shaped the U.S. response to the 9/11 attacks. Michael Allen asserts that the process of creating the DNI position and the NCTC is a case study in power politics and institutional reform. By bringing to light the legislative transactions and political wrangling during the reform of the intelligence community, Allen helps us understand why the effectiveness of these institutional changes is still in question.
MICHAEL ALLEN is the majority staff director of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. Previously, he served for more than seven years in the White House in various national security roles, including NSC senior director for counterproliferation strategy, NSC senior director for legislative affairs, and as the legislative affairs lead for the Homeland Security Council. After leaving the White House, Allen joined the Bipartisan Policy Center, where he was director of the National Security Preparedness Group, the successor to the 9/11 Commission cochaired by Lee Hamilton and Tom Kean. Allen lives in Washington, DC.