This mid-term exam is open book. You may use any resources you feel appropriate with the exception of other people. Make sure that you articulate a thesis statement and support your arguments using course material. Material from outside the course may be used, but is of secondary value.
Question 1 of 4 | 100.0 Points |
In 300 words or less, answer thefollowing: What is the role of truth in threat analysis? How does mirror imaging obscure the truth?
For some authors, the truth is an absolute standard which can rarely be achieved in intelligence (Lowenthal). He adds that intelligence is not about truth: “They (IAs) can rarely be assured that even their best and most considered analysis is true” and “if policy makers had the truth about theintentions of any threat, they would lack the need for intelligence gather and analysis altogether”.
On the other hand, Robert Clark considers that the real objective of any analysis effort is the truth. He also considers that three questions need to be asked when determining how credible or truthful the information is. These questions are: Is the source competent? Did the source have the accessneeded to get the information? Does the source have a vested interest or bias?
The real fact is that the intelligence analysis plays a key role in the Intelligence Cycle. Commanders and decision makers must have faith in the efficacy, reliability, timeliness and accuracy of the results of the intelligence analysis. However, there are limitations which can make the truth nearly impossible to achieve.One of these is the mirror-imaging.
Mirror-imaging means that an analyst may perceive and process information through the filter of personal experience. For Lowenthal the "mirror-imaging" syndrome is that in which the analyst erroneously presumes that other states will act in the same way as the United States would. Mirror-imaging undermines objectivity. And because objectivity is a keycomponent of intelligence analysis, mirror-imaging impedes efforts to make accurate judgments (find the truth) about incomplete information. Mirror-imaging frequently results in gross distortions of intelligence and raw data, forcing the information to fit into a framework for which it may not be suited. This failure has been assumed as one of the main reasons for President Johnson´s decision to fightthe growing communism in Vietnam. Experienced analysts may recognize that they have fallen prey to mirror-imaging if they discover that they are unwilling to examine variants of what they consider most reasonable in light of their personal frame of reference.
Question 2 of 4 | 100.0 Points |
In 300 words or less, answer this question: What biases, if any, might be common to U.S. intelligenceagencies? Contrast this with at least two foreign intelligence agencies?
The term "bias" is often used to describe internal and external factors that inadvertently contaminate the information collection and skew the results. Encountering biases is expected in most situations. The problem arises when researchers and analysts fail to recognize the bias.
Biases could be political, institutional,gender, racial, personal and cognitive among others. The importance of one or other varies from authors. Heuer, in his work “Psychology of Intelligence Analysis”, states that one of the most important biases is the Cognitive. According to him “Cognitive Biases are mental errors caused by our simplified information processing strategies.” Clark for example, says that the failures are in three maindirections: failure to share information; failure to analyze collected material objectively; and failure of the customer to act on Intelligence.
In my opinion, Institutional Bias is the major issues for the US Intelligence Agencies (IAs). It is closely related to the Personal and Political Biases and affects the communication and cooperation amongst the IAs. Taking this in consideration, I...