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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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The Ford Administration and the Team B Affair

The Ford Administration and the Team B Affair

(p.113) [6] The Ford Administration and the Team B Affair
Fixing the Facts

Joshua Rovner

Cornell University Press

This chapter analyzes the Team B affair under the Ford administration. In May 1976, the administration invited a panel of outside experts to evaluate classified intelligence on the Soviet Union. The stated purpose of the exercise was to stimulate competition among analysts by putting a fresh set of eyes on the same data. While the intelligence community was in the process of producing the annual National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Soviet power, the “Team B” panel would produce its own separate assessment. The competition turned ugly, however, when Team B turned its attention away from Moscow and leveled a blistering attack on the NIE process itself. Ultimately, the NIE that emerged from the competition was strongly influenced by Team B. The chapter argues that the Team B episode was a case of indirect politicization. The administration did not try to determine the membership of Team B nor the process of the exercise, but it gave de facto control over these pivotal issues to a group of outspoken critics of détente who argued publicly that the United States was seriously underestimating the Soviet threat.

Keywords:   intelligence agencies, intelligence-policy relations, Henry Ford, Team B affair, National Intelligence Estimate

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