The Two (Or More) Sides To A Story

“False balance” is pushback to the adage there are two sides to every story. It is a concept that is gaining popularity among some journalists. Media professionals, who have long been told to seek out and present all angles of a story, are now arguing against the practice. They claim facts are straightforward and supportContinue reading “The Two (Or More) Sides To A Story”

The Importance Of Free Access To Information

A trend over the past few years has been the throttling or blocking of “misinformation” from news and social media sites. The proponents argue that containing misleading or false information is for the public good. Whether it benefits or harms the consumer is a matter for another forum. However, from an analytical perspective, reducing accessContinue reading “The Importance Of Free Access To Information”

When Intelligence Products “Go Public”

Caveat: This post mentions two controversial intelligence assessments that were leaked to the public. The purpose is not to offer an opinion on the quality of the assessments or on their dissemination. Instead, it is to suggest ways to strengthen intelligence products in the event they are held up to public scrutiny. For intelligence professionals,Continue reading “When Intelligence Products “Go Public””

The Intelligence Community And Political Social Media: A Bad Mix

The participation in political social media by current and former members of the IC is a new phenomena. Traditionally, leaders steered clear of expressing opinions about domestic politics and for good reason: to ensure the public had faith in their institutions. A foundational principle of the IC is political neutrality. For analysts, this requirement isContinue reading “The Intelligence Community And Political Social Media: A Bad Mix”

The Risk Of Using Unresolved Cases To Support Finished Intelligence Analysis

This post was published on the original Intelligence Shop Web site in 2017. The message is still relevant, hence, its inclusion here on the Shop’s new site. This week, Foreign Policy Magazine got a hold of the DHS-FBI joint intelligence bulletin (JIB) describing the threat of “lethal violence” from white supremacist extremists. The JIB citedContinue reading “The Risk Of Using Unresolved Cases To Support Finished Intelligence Analysis”

The Importance Of Time In Analyzing Data Spikes

In March 2021, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) released a one-page executive summary of a coordinated intelligence assessment regarding the threat posed by Domestic Violent Extremists (DVEs). The trimmed-down assessment, which did not reference or include a data set, appeared to focus on “political and societal events” that occurred in 2020.Continue reading “The Importance Of Time In Analyzing Data Spikes”

The Inverted Pyramid

Formal intelligence products follow the same basic format, an inverted pyramid. Agencies have their own templates—sometimes multiple templates to fit different types of intelligence products—but all place the most important information at the top, followed by supportive analysis and facts. The overall presentation is sometimes referred to as the “bottom line up front,” or BLUF.Continue reading “The Inverted Pyramid”