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Sunday, July 18, 2004

 
From the New York Times, an article titled "Tiny Agency's Iraq Analysis Is Better Than Big Rivals'":

. . .

'Almost alone among intelligence agencies, this one, the Bureau of Intelligence and Research, or I.N.R., does not report to either the White House or the Pentagon. Its approach is purely analytical, so that it owes no allegiance to particular agents, imagery or intercepts. It shuns the worst-case plans sometimes sought by military commanders.'

'"They are willing to take on the accepted analysis and take a second, harder look," said Alfred Cumming, a former staff director of the Senate Intelligence Committee who is now an intelligence and national security specialist at the Congressional Research Service, a branch of the Library of Congress.'

We know of another "small" intelligence outfit that also specialized in "second, harder look[s]". Continuing on:


. . .

'Altogether, the team of State Department analysts most directly involved in assessing Iraq's political structure, economy, conventional military forces and supposed illicit weapons numbered no more than 10 people, said State Department officials, but many had more than a decade of experience in the subjects on which they were focusing.'

'Those officials refused to identify the analyst whose dissent on Iraq's nuclear program proved particularly prescient, but said the official had worked on the subject for more than 12 years under a supervisor who had twice as many years of expertise.'

'As an example of the kind of analyst the State Department bureau embraces, the State Department officials pointed to Thomas Fingar, who was Mr. Ford's principal deputy and is awaiting Senate confirmation to lead the bureau as assistant secretary of state for intelligence and research. Mr. Fingar has spent 19 years at the bureau, having been recruited from Stanford University, where he had spent the previous decade as a political scientist.'


We note, with interest, several commonalities among these analyists:

1.) They have real intellectual bonafides.

2.) They have experience in the area in question, and more specifically they have experience with the issues in question (i.e., nuclear weapons proliferation).

3.) They have a healthy amount of skepticism.

In other words, these folks are professionals. It's a lesson the current administration would do well to learn.

Andrew 11:10 PM : |



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