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.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Political Science and International Relations