The Ignorance Of Intelligence Agencies

In case you were wondering, these are a few (of many) reasons as to why on Global Geopolitics you will see the words “unintelligence community”.

The American and British intelligence agencies are in disarray and are often “shocked” at events such as a new North Korean nuclear bomb test. They’re shocked that the Russians have entered Syria. They’re shocked that Crimea was invaded and annexed. They’re shocked that now, China has weapons in space capable of rendering American national defense useless, so on and so forth…

In the not-too-distant future, they will be shocked again as the hegemony of the world is no longer their possession. The global balance of power is soon to shift.


At the start of the Second World War, Great Britain’s intelligence agencies were anything but impressive. Their analytic capabilities overestimated the Third Reich’s military potential through 1938. And then in 1939, they changed views and failed to see that the Germans were actually making effective preparations to that would enable them to wreck the European balance of power. This would bring the world close to what Churchill characterized so aptly as “a new Dark Age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science.” []

It is worth contrasting the culture and make up of Britain’s intelligence organizations with what passes for intelligence agencies in the United States today. TheWashington Post recorded several years ago that less than 20 percent of the CIA’s analysts speak a foreign language. A general ignorance of history and culture characterizes much of the personnel who make up the American intelligence effort. The inane system of recruitment seems to aim at numbers rather than quality. And perhaps most significantly, the security barriers that are presently in place prevent most of those with the language skills and cultural knowledge to understand our potential enemies from being recruited, as many such individuals possess relatives in the targeted countries. Finally, in the depressing litany of how not to build effective intelligence agencies, my view is that these agencies rarely reach out to the extensive numbers of foreign area experts scattered throughout American academia, not because the intelligence agencies possess such brilliant insights into the external world, but most probably because they are afraid that the U.S. public might discover that the intelligence emperor has no clothes.

Full article: The Ignorance Of Intelligence Agencies (The Hoover Institute)

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