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American Covert Action and Diplomacy after 9/11

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)379-402
Number of pages24
JournalDIPLOMACY AND STATECRAFT
Volume33
Issue number2
Early online date9 Jun 2022
DOIs
Accepted/In press17 Feb 2021
E-pub ahead of print9 Jun 2022
Published2022

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Publisher Copyright: © 2022 The Author(s). Published with license by Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

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Abstract

The relationship between American diplomats and intelligence officers has always been complex. The focus of American foreign policy and national security on counterterrorism efforts in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks further shaped the dynamic between diplomats and intelligence officers in the field as well as their respective roles. The tension between diplomacy and covert action as policy-implementing tools was largely resolved to the benefit of the latter. Consequently, a new status quo emerged. Intelligence officers took a leading role in policy-implementation efforts through covert action, whilst the role of diplomats in the field evolved in line with counterterrorism-driven foreign policy and national security needs. This analysis introduces a new typology of diplomats in the twenty-first century, contrasting the multifaceted diplomatic activists, who advanced counterterrorism-driven diplomacy, against the traditionalists seeing this new diplomacy as bellicose and against American national interests.

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