Intelligence 2013 Mckeen Dissertation

Information sharing and collaboration in the United States intelligence community: An ethnographic study of the National Counterterrorism Center

Bridget Rose Nolan, University of Pennsylvania


The National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) was established to serve as the primary organization in the U.S. Government for the integration, sharing, and analysis of all terrorism and counterterrorism intelligence. To date, no study has sought to illustrate whether and how NCTC overcomes the barriers to information sharing among agencies and the people that comprise them. The purpose of this dissertation is to explore the micro-level ways in which intelligence work is conducted in a post-9/11 world and to examine the circumstances that both facilitate and discourage collaboration. By presenting detailed ethnographic evidence and the in-depth interview perspectives of the people who actually do this work daily, this study provides a sociological analysis and discussion of best practices to help identify ways in which NCTC can move closer to fulfilling its mission.^

Subject Area

Political Science, Public Administration|Sociology, Organizational

Recommended Citation

Nolan, Bridget Rose, "Information sharing and collaboration in the United States intelligence community: An ethnographic study of the National Counterterrorism Center" (2013). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI3565195.


Since September 16, 2013


“Whether you agree or disagree with the Heritage study, what their co-author believes is downright insulting and shameful,” said Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum, a group that has mobilized support for the bill. “Heritage has really become an outlier. The rest of the country is having a 21st-century conversation about immigration reform, and Heritage is caught in 1800. I really think their entire credibility is in question.”

Jim DeMint, the former South Carolina senator who resigned last year to become Heritage’s president, has been trying to forge a role as a leader of the opposition to the immigration bill, much as he did in the Senate with some success when it last considered an overhaul in 2007. Fellow opponents quickly seized on Heritage’s new study, and supporters of the bill, including Senator Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida, disputed it. A similar report by the group in 2007 is credited with helping to kill that overhaul attempt.

The disclosure of the dissertation written by Dr. Richwine, who could not be reached for comment, threatened to undermine Heritage’s push for influence even as the foundation distanced itself from Dr. Richwine’s outside writing.

“This is not a work product of the Heritage Foundation,” Mike Gonzalez, vice president of communications for the organization, wrote in an e-mail statement.

In a blog post, Mr. Gonzalez added: “We welcome a rigorous, fact-based debate on the data, methodology and conclusions of the Heritage study on the cost of amnesty. Instead, some have pointed to a Harvard dissertation written by Dr. Jason Richwine.”

Senators piled on amendments Tuesday evening intended to remake — or in some cases thwart — the legislation. The amendments are the greatest test of the bill so far, with provisions from both Democratic supporters of an immigration overhaul and Republicans critics posing potential obstacles before the bill can move out of committee and onto the Senate floor.

One of the most closely watched amendments came from Senator Patrick J. Leahy, Democrat of Vermont and chairman of the Judiciary Committee. He offered two separate amendments that would allow American citizens to seek a permanent resident visa, known as a green card, for a same-sex foreign partner.

Under current law, Americans can gain a green card for a foreign spouse in a traditional marriage relatively easily, but cannot apply for a green card for a gay spouse or partner.

The Republican senators in the bipartisan group that proposed the bill, two of whom sit on the committee, have warned repeatedly that any same-sex amendment would be a deal breaker for many Republicans and could sink the overhaul.

Senator Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, the ranking Republican on the committee, offered 77 amendments, and Senator Jeff Sessions, Republican of Alabama, offered 49. Mr. Sessions has been an outspoken critic of the bill, which he says would harm American workers, and an aide said two of the senator’s amendments would address some of his concerns by capping the number of legal immigrants and foreign workers at 30 million over 10 years.

Senator Mike Lee, Republican of Utah, offered an amendment that would more than double the number of visas offered to low-skilled workers under the bill, a provision that would upset an already delicate deal between the nation’s leading business and labor communities. That agreement would ultimately cap the number at 200,000 annually; Mr. Lee’s amendment would start the program at 200,000 and increase to 400,000.

Mr. Rubio, a member of the bipartisan group, is not on the committee, but an aide said he was likely to support proposals to strengthen border security, including requiring double-layered fencing along the Southwest border, and to increase background checks for immigrants applying for legal status.

At a private meeting Tuesday, Mr. Rubio told a group of conservatives that he expected any bill that reached President Obama’s desk to be to the right of the current legislation, according to attendees.

Senator Orrin G. Hatch, a Republican of Utah on the committee who is not a sponsor of the bill, offered 24 amendments, many intended to further expand the number of temporary visas, known as H-1Bs, and green cards for highly skilled immigrants in science, technology and engineering. Lawmakers from both parties on the committee will be closely watching those amendments, since Mr. Hatch has not yet declared whether he would support the overall bill and is regarded as a swing vote.

Mr. Hatch “would like for the bill to get to a place where he can support it,” said his spokesman, Matthew Harakal.

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