This article outlines and explores some recent changes that have taken place in the practice and organization of western intelligence. American concern with organizational reform of its intelligence community is outlined and contrasted. Other transatlantic comparisons are made, in particular concerning debates about intelligence and human rights. The legacy of British experience in Northern Ireland for attitudes to torture and preservation of the rule of law is examined. The British experience of ‘talking to terrorists’ is also explored. Prospects for, and expectations of, the future, including the likelihood of catastrophic terrorism are discussed. The argument is made that the ‘War on Terror’ is a ‘battle of ideas’ and values.