U.S. intelligence agencies certainly missed the unrest across the Middle East and North Africa that exploded into popular uprisings last year during what is being called “Arab Spring” and is now need to improve early warning systems.
David Shedd, deputy director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, said analysts failed to note signs “that would have indicated to us, shown us, that there was a growing dissatisfaction … in the general population…”
One reason for the gap, Shedd said, was that spies were focusing on collecting information from power elites, not opposition groups.
We missed the Berlin Wall coming down.
We missed the fall of the USSR
We missed the Ahmed Chalabi fiasco in Iraq, who was reporting much of the information on which the U.S. based its condemnation of Saddam Hussein, including false reports of alleged ties to Al Qaeda. Most if not all, of his information turned out to be false.
We do not see much of the successes but when there is an Intelligence failure we do see it.