Georgetown University Security Attack Testing BBC Fiction News Critical Analysis

Georgetown University Security Attack Testing BBC Fiction News Critical Analysis


Background: A May 2004 episode of the BBC’s Panorama program considered a fictitious scenario in which terrorists have launched multiple attacks against London’s subway system and other targets in the city. The program featured officials from London’s security services, intelligence agencies, and community of first responders reacting to the attacks as they happened. By exposing security vulnerabilities as well as shortcomings in the Brits’ ability to respond to multiple attacks, the program demonstrates how applying critical thinking to intelligence/law enforcement problems can yield actionable insights for customers (in this case, for London’s emergency management services officers and municipal leadership).

The exercise in the Panorama program is not intended to be a classic structured analytic technique (SAT) applied to an intelligence question during the research process. However, elements of diagnostic, challenge, and imaginative SATs emerge throughout the hour-long exercise, showing how these and other critical thinking tools can be applied to fluid situations that are characterized by a high degree of uncertainty.

 describe the ways in which the Panorama participants applied critical thinking as they responded to the attacks. Briefly identify any instances in which the participants projected scenarios, questioned the credibility of data, challenged assumptions, identified key unknowns, suggested hypotheses, referenced lesson learned from previous attacks, or demonstrated other elements of SATs that we have studied. In your opinion, what SAT (or SATs) does the exercise in the Panorama program most closely resemble?