Following the terrorist attacks against the United States on 11 September 2001, Pierre Bonnaure reflects on "the surprising failure of the American secret services, which some say were caught totally unawares".
First he comments that the situation is not that simple and that many problems arise between anticipation and action, in particular knowing whether to take a warning seriously and what decision to take about timely action when considerable uncertainty and enormous risks are involved.
He nevertheless stresses that the secret services seem to have been unprepared for an attack that did not fit current expectations, terrorist attacks on several targets rather than an act of aggression by a "rogue state". He criticizes the shortsightedness of the intelligence authorities, emphasizing that this is not the first instance, and tries to understand the reasons for this failure.
In a few lines he reminds us of a series of problems facing what is now called strategic intelligence as well as those inherent in the interaction between thinking and action.