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The Recent Past and Future of Intelligence Politicization

Monday, Feb. 2, 2009

"There is a thin line between the right and duty to formulate a policy based on subjective political values, and the conscious or unconscious temptation to abuse or ignore the intelligence process. It is one thing for a statesman to listen carefully to his intelligence advisers, then make a decision counter to their best judgment; and another for him to wield his political strength and authority in the interest of receiving only that information which conforms to his preconceived ideas and political biases. . . . It has been suggested that the unresolvable tension between policymaking and intelligence rests in fact on an unresolvable problem. For no one agrees on what is policy and what is intelligence."

-- Michael Handel, The Politics of Intelligence, 1987 ...

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