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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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Intelligence, Policy, and the War in Iraq

Intelligence, Policy, and the War in Iraq

Chapter:
(p.137) [7] Intelligence, Policy, and the War in Iraq
Source:
Fixing the Facts
Author(s):

Joshua Rovner

Publisher:
Cornell University Press
DOI:10.7591/cornell/9780801448294.003.0007

This chapter examines intelligence–policy relations during the Iraq War. It makes four claims. First, policymakers in the US and UK did attempt to manipulate intelligence on Iraq, and their efforts changed the content and tone of key estimates on Iraqi capabilities and intentions. Second, the oversell model of politicization explains the basic pattern in each case. Despite fundamental differences in organization and culture, the politicization of intelligence was a response to domestic politics. Third, policymakers used intelligence to oversell policy decisions by invoking the aura of secrecy. Fourth, the politicization of intelligence prevented any serious reassessment of standing estimates, even after a new round of international inspections failed to discover any evidence of chemical, biological, or nuclear capabilities in the months before the war. In short, the flawed intelligence estimates on Iraq were caused by a complete collapse in intelligence-policy relations.

Keywords:   intelligence agencies, intelligence–policy relations, Iraq War, Bush administration, politicization

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