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Fixing the FactsNational Security and the Politics of Intelligence$
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Joshua Rovner

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780801448294

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801448294.001.0001

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Pathologies of Intelligence-Policy Relations

Pathologies of Intelligence-Policy Relations

(p.18) [2] Pathologies of Intelligence-Policy Relations
Fixing the Facts

Joshua Rovner

Cornell University Press

This chapter begins by describing ideal intelligence-policy relations in order to set a baseline. It then explains why the ideal is so difficult to achieve, and why some friction is normal even during periods of good relations. It discusses how policymakers are not automatically inclined to respect the conclusions of intelligence agencies. They sometimes give pride of place to their own sources, and are always free to reach their own conclusions. Moreover, policymakers occasionally request access to the raw data itself, bypassing the formal analytical process entirely. This practice is upsetting to intelligence officials, who argue that information is often misleading without professional interpretation. The final section describes the three major pathologies of intelligence–policy relations. These are excessive harmony, neglect, and politicization. Excessive harmony occurs when policymakers accept intelligence uncritically; neglect occurs when policymakers ignore intelligence; and politicization occurs when intelligence is manipulated to reflect policy preferences.

Keywords:   intelligence agencies, intelligence–policy relations, excessive harmony, neglect, politicization, policymakers

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