— Barriers to Analysis
Introduction Readers no doubt understand that intelligence analysis should be objective, unbiased, and free from political “spin.” What many do not understand is just how dicult it is to achieve this optimal state. Despite good intentions and bright, motivated analysts, the intelligence community (IC) has oen failed to predict major events and has gotten assessments dead wrong (see Box 5.1 for various examples). As the quote from former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) analyst Richards Heuer at the beginning of Chapter 6 (“Analytical Methods”) makes clear, the problem generally rests with analysis, not collection. In this chapter, we discuss some of the barriers to successful analysis. As readers will soon discover, this has as much to do with the manner in which the human brain is “wired” as it does with external pressures or incomplete information. We begin with the analyst himself and some of the personal and
cognitive challenges we all face as humans. We then move to more external factors, such as political and organizational pressures and constraints.