Saturday, March 03, 2007

Connect the dots intelligence is beginning to lose its appeal

An article in The New York Times by Mark Mazzetti entitled "Latest Reports on Iran and North Korea Show a Newfound Caution Among Analysts" tells us about "a new willingness by American spy agencies to concede the limits of their knowledge." The Neoconservatives' much-vaunted "connect the dots" approach to stretching a few vague tidbits into an elaborate conspiracy theory is quickly losing sway. Until recently, the administration's threshold for intelligence was that "policy makers must assume the worst about the intentions of adversaries, even with imperfect intelligence about their intentions and capabilities." Now, at least some within the administration now accept a new "directive" which states that "the analytic process must be as transparent as possible" and that "analysis must be objective and independent of political considerations."

I don't think we're there yet, especially since Bush and Cheney are still calling the shots, but also because many Republicans in Congress are still addicted to the emotionally seductive allure of "connecting the dots", even if it is unlikely to lead them to the truth.

-- Jack Krupansky


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