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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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Policy Oversell and Politicization

Policy Oversell and Politicization

(p.36) [3] Policy Oversell and Politicization
Fixing the Facts

Joshua Rovner

Cornell University Press

This chapter presents a very different model of politicization, one based on politics rather than bureaucratic design or personality traits. It outlines the conditions that make politicization likely and describes the causal mechanism that connects domestic political pressure to the manipulation of intelligence. It argues that politicization is more likely when policymakers have committed themselves to highly controversial issues. The chapter is organized as follows. The first section develops the concept of critical constituencies. There are several of these groups, each able to impose different kinds of costs on the policymaker. The emergence of at least one puts in motion the causal mechanism leading to politicization, because it gives policymakers a reason to manufacture the image of consensus in the national security establishment. The second section explains why public commitments contribute to politicization. The third section explains why consensus support for policy decisions helps policymakers avoid these costs, and why intelligence agencies play a particularly important role in the process.

Keywords:   politicization, intelligence agencies, intelligence–policy relations, policymakers, critical constituencies

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