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Fixing the Facts: National Security and the Politics of Intelligence (Cornell Studies in Security Affairs)

Fixing the Facts: National Security and the Politics of Intelligence (Cornell Studies in Security Affairs) [Kindle Edition]

Joshua Rovner
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Product Description

Product Description

What is the role of intelligence agencies in strategy and policy? How do policymakers use (or misuse) intelligence estimates? When do intelligence-policy relations work best? How do intelligence-policy failures influence threat assessment, military strategy, and foreign policy? These questions are at the heart of recent national security controversies, including the 9/11 attacks and the war in Iraq. In both cases the relationship between intelligence and policy broke down—with disastrous consequences. In Fixing the Facts, Joshua Rovner explores the complex interaction between intelligence and policy and shines a spotlight on the problem of politicization. Major episodes in the history of American foreign policy have been closely tied to the manipulation of intelligence estimates. Rovner describes how the Johnson administration dealt with the intelligence community during the Vietnam War; how President Nixon and President Ford politicized estimates on the Soviet Union; and how pressure from the George W. Bush administration contributed to flawed intelligence on Iraq. He also compares the U.S. case with the British experience between 1998 and 2003, and demonstrates that high-profile government inquiries in both countries were fundamentally wrong about what happened before the war.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 880 KB
  • Print Length: 277 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0801448298
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press; 1 edition (29 July 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005F667E2
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
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  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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5.0 out of 5 stars Book Review 14 May 2012
By Nick BM
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A thrilling yet tightly written book with bags of facts and links to many other of organisations in the murky world of Intelligence collection and analysis. Fascinating quotes from multiple actors and politicians who appear naive and only focussed on their own ends and not that of independent intelligence analysts who strive to be objective. In the undersea world of Intelligence this adds real SA to your understanding for the environment.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It Takes Two: Strategic Intelligence and National Security Policy 30 Sep 2011
By Retired Reader - Published on
In the U.S., the relationship between strategic intelligence and the formulation of national security policies has been to say the least complex and often confusing. This book provides what has long been needed, an objective and scholarly review of this relationship.

Rovner provides an excellent theoretical background to guide his examination of specific case histories that he has chosen to illustrate the relationships between strategic intelligence and policy. Ideally intelligence analysts should be able to operate without interference to produce strategic intelligence reports that are honest, objective, and supported by the best information available. Again ideally policy makers should be free to challenge such reports. Finally both analysts and policymakers should be able to hold rational discussions over differences in interpretation and conclusions in which the supporting evidence is considered objectively. Unfortunately this ideal is often thwarted by what Rovner calls "the pathologies of intelligence-policy relations." He has identified three such `pathologies': 1) neglect-policy makers ignore intelligence that does not fit their assumptions; 2) politicalization-the most egregious of the pathologies and one that has several different forms; and 3) excessive harmonization - intelligence analysts and policymakers are in such close agreement that they fail to critically scrutinize their conclusions. In the course of his discussion, Rovner also makes an interesting observation about secrecy. Secrecy he notes can be used by intelligence agencies as a source of power and as a means to support dubious analysis. Policymakers can use secrecy to support dubious policy decisions by implying that there classified evidence supporting their conclusions.

In any event Rovner provides case studies from the Vietnam War, the ongoing controversy of Soviet Military capability and intentions, and Operation Iraqi Freedom. These case studies accurately illustrate the pathologies hampering of productive intelligence-policymaker relations. Rovner does not assign blame but explains how this relationship got off track.

Originally, U.S. Strategic intelligence was largely produced by the Office of National Estimates (ONE) of CIA from 1947 through 1972. ONE was an in house CIA operation whose main analytic arm was the powerful Board of National Estimates (BNE) under the legendary Sherman Kent. BNE actually produced very good strategic intelligence which was often ignored by policymakers. For example as the U.S. moved toward ever greater commitments in South Vietnam based on the so-called "domino theory", it BNE that produced two estimates pointing out that this theory was hopelessly flawed. They were ignored, but were nonetheless presented good intelligence. President Nixon decided that ONE was too independent and ordered it disbanded and replaced with the more politically pliable National Intelligence Council (NIC) and a system of National Intelligence Officers who could be political appointees. This began the long process of decline of the U.S. ability to produce accurate strategic intelligence.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Politicization of Intelligence 27 Sep 2013
By F. Rafiq - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The author presents several cases that explain his model, but offers no cases in non-democracies where politicization of intelligence can occur. Additional analyses should be done for autocratic and hybrid regimes on intelligence-policy relations function.
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