INTELLIGENCE INTERPRETATION

Ralph Peters has a thoughtful piece on how presidents use intelligence data and analysis:

The fundamental difference between the Clinton and Bush administrations’ use of intelligence is that Clinton consistently refused to acknowledge the threats we faced, while Bush sometimes sees threats as more immediate than they may be.

The classic Type I vs. Type II error dilemma.

Governments are made up of human beings, and human beings are imperfect. While many of President Bush’s policies may merit closer scrutiny, the claim that he and his deputies lied about intelligence is politicized nonsense.

First, they couldn’t get away with an outright lie. Our system just can’t keep a secret. As it is, we hear complaints from analysts who don’t believe proper attention was paid to their dissenting views.

Unfortunately, no administration pays adequate attention to dissenting views.

True. The combination of ideology and groupthink. Although, from what I can gather via press accounts, this administration does seem particularly diverse, with Colin Powell and Don Rumsfeld both having enormous influence despite generally disagreeing.

Go read, as they say, the whole thing.

FILED UNDER: Iraq War
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Steven says:

    Good point–many in the press want it both ways:

    1) Massive Conflict!! Rummy v. Powell!! Can the Adminstration Survive?!?

    2) Conspiracy!! Collusion!! Are the Members of the Amdin Systematically Trying to Fool Us?!?