Critiques of Intelligence Analysis

A - C

AFCEA Intelligence Committee. "Making Analysis Relevant: More Than Connecting the Dots." Defense Intelligence Journal 14, no. 1 (2005): 23-46.

There is so much covered here that it is difficult to agree with all of it; however, this article is a must read for anyone interested in real reform of intelligence analysis across the whole of the Intelligence Community.

Bathurst, Robert B. Intelligence and the Mirror: On Creating an Enemy. London & Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 1993.

According to Wirtz, IJI&C 6.4, Bathurst is "apparently the first to apply semionics to the study of intelligence." The results achieved are "mixed." One problem is that "mirror imaging is generally considered to be a cognitive phenomenon, not a linguistic one." Nonetheless, his ideas are "provocative."

MI 20.4 comments that "[i]nstead of a tightly woven study of two intelligence giants and their perceptions of each other, Bathurst looses us on a twisting, bewildering journey through a maze of psycho-jargon that sheds little light on this important and under-researched area of the Cold War." Surveillant 3.6 sees a "checklist of anthropological, cultural and behavioral factors that filter military and political predictions. Bathurst tests his theory about the role of cultures in controlling perception and lays the foundation for a method of analysis of value in intelligence prediction."

Curts, NIPQ 11.2, opines that, in making his point, Bathurst "places too much blame on uninformed analysts for the results which transpired. 'Command influence' -- leadership demanding and getting what it wants to hear -- has a tremendous effect on intelligence estimates.... This book is not an easy read. The ideas presented are complex, and their presentation is somewhat difficult to follow.... Above all, the author fights the good fight for the necessity for better informed and better experienced intelligence analysis."

Berkowitz, Bruce D. "Learning to Break the Rules." New York Times, 19 Dec. 2003. []

"President Bush made special mention of our intelligence analysts in his address after the capture" of Saddam Hussein. In large part, the mission was successful "because analysts were allowed to ignore many long-held beliefs about how intelligence is 'supposed' to work.... Everyone involved in finding Saddam Hussein should pay close attention to the changes in strategy that allowed the achievement -- such practices should be the routine, not the exception."

Bodnar, John W. Warning Analysis for the Information Age: Rethinking the Intelligence Process. Washington, DC: Joint Military Intelligence College, 2003.

According to Peake, Studies 51.2 (2007), the author's "central theme is that in today's complex, multipolar world, we require multidimensional analysis (MDA) applied by data-mining computer programs that, he seems to suggest, have yet to be written.... Few will disagree with Dr. Bodnar's premises concerning analysis in the Web-based world[;] some may even argue that we are not so far from reaching the goal" as he seems to suggest.

Bolton, John. "Let's Take Bureaucracy Out of Intelligence: Groupthink Products Like National Intelligence Estimates Make Us Vulnerable." Wall Street Journal, 10 Jan. 2010. []

Bolton argues that achieving "more effective communication and analysis within the IC ... does not require more centralization of authority, more hierarchy, and more uniformity of opinion. The IC's problem stems from a culture of anonymous conformity. Greater centralization will only reinforce existing bureaucratic obstacles." Better assessing the implications of the intelligence we collect requires "creating a culture that rewards insight and decisiveness. To create that culture we should abolish the DNI office and NIEs. Eliminating the DNI should be accompanied by reversing decades of inadequate National Security Council supervision of the intelligence function."

Bozeman, Adda B. Strategic Intelligence and Statecraft: Selected Essays. Washington, DC: Brassey's, 1992.

See C. Adamitis ["Addi"] Keim, "The Missing Link: Adda Bozeman on U.S. Strategic Intelligence," Intelligencer 13, no. 2 (Winter-Spring 2003): 37-44.

Clark comment: This is a collection of eight intellectual and intelligent essays: "International Order in a Multicultural World"; "War and the Clash of Ideas"; "Covert Action and Foreign Policy in World Politics"; "Traditions of Political Warfare and Low-Intensity Conflict in Totalitarian Russia and China: A Comparative Study of Continuity and Change"; "Statecraft and Intelligence in the Non-Western World"; "Knowledge and Method in Comparative Intelligence Studies of Non-Western Societies"; "American Policy and the Illusion of Congruent Values"; and "Strategic Intelligence in Cold Wars of Ideas."

Allen, DIJ 1.2, comments that this is a "remarkable" and "fascinating book," while FILS 11.6 finds it "well worth reading." Surveillant 2.6 calls the book "illuminating.... Bozeman, a professor at Sarah Lawrence College, explains how strategic intelligence is the key to successful statecraft in foreign affairs." Warren, Intelligencer 14.2 (Winter-Spring 2005), says that this book "is worth reading by anyone who wants a different perspective on the relationship of Intelligence to American foreign policy."

Economist, 16 Jan. 1993, says Bozeman recognizes that "intelligence and the making of foreign policy have to be interwoven with each other.... This is no ordinary book of reprinted essays: it deserves to be closely studied, in all places where high policy is made." According to a MI 20.2 reviewer, the "most profound assertion the author makes is that the West does not understand the value systems of other cultures.... This is a wonderful book for students of political science, political intelligence, and policy formation."

Callum, Robert. "The Case for Cultural Diversity in the Intelligence Community." International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 14, no. 1 (Spring 2001): 25-48.

The author argues that "cultural homogeneity leads to predictable and preventable errors in analysis" and that "greater diversity will lead to improvements in analysis by lessening the impact of shared, common biases."

Canton, Belinda. "The Active Management of Uncertainty." International Journal of Intelligece and Counterintelligence 21, no. 3 (Fall 2008): 487-518.

"The uncertainty approach wants analysts to do what they do best -- think and write -- in ways that make them not only useful to policymakers but also invaluable.... A more structured approach" to managing uncertainty will help the Intelligence Community significantly in meeting its "many challenges and responsibilities."

Cardillo, Robert. "Intelligence Community Reform: A Cultural Evolution." Studies in Intelligence 54, no. 3 (Sep. 2010): 1-7

Writing from his (then) perspective of the DIA, the author argues that "the analytic environment is [today] much more interconnected and open. This attitude and acceptance are not uniform across the board..., but real change has begun."

Cooper, Jeffrey R. Curing Analytic Pathologies: Pathways to Improved Intelligence Analysis. Washington, DC: Center for the Study of Intelligence, Central Intelligence Agency, Dec. 2005.

The author argues that "serious shortcomings" in U.S. intelligence "stem from dysfunctional behaviors and practices within [emphasis in original] the individual agencies and are not likely to be remedied either by structural changes in the organization of the community as a whole or by increased authorities for centralized community managers."

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