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Intelligence Failure and Politicization - Essay Example

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Intelligence failure in the US context is defined by Stephen Marrin as something that has a negative impact on the country’s national security as well as an unpredicted international incident that previously escaped intelligence gathering and came about as a surprise to the international community. An example of this, according to Marrin is the India nuclear weapon test. As can be gleaned, the concept of surprise is allied to the concept of intelligence failure because surprise can only occur as a result of the latter (2004 p. 657). Robert Gates, former CIA head, defined politicization in the context of intelligence operations as involving intentionally distorted analysis or judgment leaning and favouring a certain line of thinking despite insufficient evidence to support it (1992 p. 5). 2.0 Vietnam and the Tet OffensiveThe Vietnam War was a battle between the once French-ruled south and the Communist north. The US’ engagement in the Vietnam War was considered one of the most controversial ever in its history marked by relentless protests at home and the mind-boggling defeat of its forces in the battlefield. Three of the articles examined by this paper dealt with, amongst others, the US engagement in the Vietnam War and the controversies surrounding the seeming failure of its intelligence units in predicting the extent of the strength of the North Vietnamese forces.James Wirtz’s article “Intelligence to Please? The Order of Battle Controversy during the War,” dealt with the issue of the controversy....
As can be gleaned, the concept of surprise is allied to the concept of intelligence failure because surprise can only occur as a result of the latter (2004 p. 657). Robert Gates, former CIA head, defined politicization in the context of intelligence operations as involving intentionally distorted analysis or judgment leaning and favouring a certain line of thinking despite insufficient evidence to support it (1992 p. 5). 2.0 Vietnam and the Tet Offensive The Vietnam War was a battle between the once French-ruled south and the Communist north. The US’ engagement in the Vietnam War was considered one of the most controversial ever in its history marked by relentless protests at home and the mind-boggling defeat of its forces in the battlefield. Three of the articles examined by this paper dealt with, amongst others, the US engagement in the Vietnam War and the controversies surrounding the seeming failure of its intelligence units in predicting the extent of the strength of the North Vietnamese forces. James Wirtz’s article “Intelligence to Please? The Order of Battle Controversy during the War,” dealt with the issue of the controversy of the disparity between the figures cited by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (MACV) in the Order of Battle and the ensuing clash between their respective analysts. The most controversial aspect of this controversy was the charge by Sam Adams, a junior CIA analyst, of the existence of “a conspiracy at the highest levels of American military intelligence” (1991 p. 239), an allegation that became highly publicised and was featured in magazines, television and in a subsequent Senate hearing for that issue. This allegation stemmed ...Show more
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This paper “Intelligence Failure and Politicization” looks back into the critical events involving the US, which has seriously put into question its intelligence capability incorporating the subjects of surprise, intelligence failure and politicization. …
Intelligence Failure and Politicization
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