Intelligence Production: Political Involvement Coincides With Drop In Public Trust

Political neutrality is critical to ensuring the IC holds the public trust. Domestically, it gives citizens the assurance the FBI will not target them for their political beliefs, which has not always been the case. Polling indicates that during times the FBI has become more closely aligned with a political side by its public statements,Continue reading “Intelligence Production: Political Involvement Coincides With Drop In Public Trust”

The Analytical Statement: “What/So What?”

Intelligence analysis is the interpretation of facts. Analysts examine a scenario or data set, put the facts into context, add perspective, and explain to a decision maker why it all matters. The written format of an analytical statement is sometimes described as the “what/so what?” The “what” is the fact; the “so what” is itsContinue reading “The Analytical Statement: “What/So What?””

A Strong Title Delivers Your Bottom Line

The title of an intelligence product is a shortened version of the thesis; it delivers the product’s bottom line. A title should contain as much of the who, what, where, when, why, and how of the thesis statement as possible while still being concise. Titles are written in the form of an incomplete sentence. TheyContinue reading “A Strong Title Delivers Your Bottom Line”

Analysis, Not Opinions

An intelligence analyst may be a subject matter “expert.” This expertise could be derived from years of service, formal education, or intimate knowledge of a topic, such as growing up in the country of his or her assigned portfolio. Still, when it comes to answering an intelligence question, the role of the analyst is toContinue reading “Analysis, Not Opinions”

The Fallibility Of Data

The phrase “science and data” is used widely to imply an indisputable truth. Science has the weight of repeatable experiments with consistent results to support it, but data are simply individual facts that are of limited value unless they are extrapolative to a population, and they are correctly interpreted and contextualized. If the data areContinue reading “The Fallibility Of Data”

Compiling A Defensible Data Set

Compiling a data set to support an intelligence project seems like a straightforward process: define attributes, select entities, and add them to a database for later sorting and analysis. In reality, the process can be challenging to get right. One of the first obstacles is finding data. There are three choices: assemble your own dataContinue reading “Compiling A Defensible Data Set”

Revisiting Past Assessments To Refine Future Ones

Some agencies task their intelligence analysts with making predictions about near-term as well as “over-the-horizon” threats. These can be specific, such as the potential targeting of an upcoming local event, or they can be broader, like the types of international or domestic threats that are most anticipated in an upcoming year or beyond. But unlikeContinue reading “Revisiting Past Assessments To Refine Future Ones”