January 1, 2015

WANT REAL SEPARATION? CONVERT IT ALL TO OPEN INTELLIGENCE:

Why Spies and Analysts Shouldn't Mingle : Working closely together encourages tunnel vision and groupthink. (PHILIP GIRALDI • January 1, 2015, American Conservative)

Contamination of the intelligence product can develop in both directions, with the spies influencing how the analysts judge the information that they receive and the intelligence collectors in turn becoming too responsive to what the consumers want. Working closely together encourages tunnel vision, reducing the likelihood that the prevailing groupthink will be challenged, as both analysts and spies can become obsessed with secondary targets and issues. The current system provides a degree of separation and a second pair of eyes that can prevent such an occurrence.

And then there is the issue of potential politicization, which is likely where Brennan comes in. If a new center were to be focused on Iran, for example, would the analysts, who work closely with the consumers in the White House and Congress, pressure the intelligence collectors to focus on what is of interest to the politicians? Responding to consumer expectations might well mean looking only for information that supports administration or congressional perceptions.

Intelligence is basically fungible, and you can pretty much find what you want to find if you try hard enough, but it is essential to have a measure of separation built into the system to provide checks and balances against politicized judgments dominating the process.

The anglosphere has a unique advantage in the intelligence sphere : there is no threat that having everyone know exactly what we think we know will subvert our system.  Indeed, it will subvert theirs.  

Just consider how much easier ending the Cold War would have been if everyone knew what Reagan, Andropov, Solzhenitsyn, etc. knew, instead of believing, along with the Soviets, the Left, and the CIA that the USSR was a peer.

Posted by at January 1, 2015 1:08 PM
  

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