Revisiting Intelligence and Policy: Problems with Politicization and Receptivity (BOK)
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The relationship between intelligence organizations and the national security policymakers which they support has its ups and downs. Sometimes the relationship is a good one; communication flows and both sides benefit from the interaction, but sometimes difficulties arise and problems develop. For example, when knowledge is required for decision but is not available or is inaccurate the outcome is frequently described as an intelligence failure. A subset of this kind of intelligence failure occurs when knowledge is distorted in order to reinforce or oppose policymaker preferences or expectations. Another less successful outcome occurs when good, accurate knowledge is not used to improve policy, but is instead set aside or ignored by those who have the responsibility and obligation to make decisions. This collection explores the difficulties that can arise in the relationship between intelligence and policy. The chapters consider both politicization of, and lack of receptiveness to, intelligence on the part of policymakers from a variety of different angles. Readers will find that this book challenges conventional wisdom and offers new ways of thinking about this important but understudied area. This book was published as a special issue of Intelligence and National Security.