Simi Valley Sophist

The Simi Valley Sophist ruminates on all manner of topics from the micro to the macro. SVS travels whatever path strikes his fancy. Encyclopedia Britannica: Sophist "Any of certain Greek lecturers, writers, and teachers in the 5th and 4th centuries BC, most of whom travelled about the Greek-speaking world giving instruction in a wide range of subjects in return ..."

Location: California, United States

Retired: 30years law enforcement-last 20 years Criminal Intelligence Detective.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

My Job Is To Tell You The Truth-Not Make You Feel Good

The job of an intelligence officer is to collect data from disparate sources, collate the data, and using analytical tools put together a jigsaw puzzle, if you will, to depict the big picture. The analytical process gives meaning to the collective data by creating the intelligence product. Hence, the individual piece of data is not “intelligence.” For example, suppose that a citizen reports that Ahmed is building a bomb. The tip is not intelligence, but it is simply the first of many pieces of data that must be collected and analyzed to verify or refute the assertion.

A completed intelligence product is of no value unless it is forwarded to appropriate individuals responsible for determining whether or not the product is essential for the development of policy or an action plan. Whether or not the intelligence product is ever used may well be a function of politics.

The role of the intelligence officer is to tell the truth instead of seeking to make the intelligence consumer feel good. To that I add that it is the responsibility of the consumer to use the product appropriately without exaggerating or diminishing the conclusions of the product. Anything short of these prescriptions is dishonest.

Pres. George W. Bush’s Administration justified the war on Iraq based upon the alleged intelligence products that concluded that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. Well, so what? We know that he had them previously because he used them on the Iranians, on the Kurds and his own Iraqis. Saddam Hussein was acting as if he had the WMD’s, and the logical conclusion could easily be that he was looking to or could realistically be assumed to be considering the transfer of WMD’s or the technical expertise to Islamo-fascists intent upon using it against the U.S.

The fact that recently produced WMD’s were not located means nothing when evaluating the validity of the intelligence product. There was ample time to transfer and/or dispose of WMD’s prior to the invasion. Secondly, Saddam Hussein could have been running a large bluff that backfired on him. No matter how you cut it, you can’t honestly accuse Bush of lying unless you prove that he fudged the intelligence product conclusions.

The art of intelligence is the art of the best guess.