Strengthening Your Ability To Identify Mis- and DisInformation

Reports recently surfaced of FBI personnel involving themselves with a prominent social media company to control the spread of “misinformation” and the squelching of “disinformation.”  Catching and suppressing or eliminating speech spread on social media deemed false or inaccurate is an insurmountable goal, and one fraught with problems, for example, limited resources. But the largerContinue reading “Strengthening Your Ability To Identify Mis- and DisInformation”

Intelligence Gaps: The Known Unknowns

Intelligence gaps are the spaces in our understanding of a matter. They represent information that is not available for one reason or another, but if it were available, we could offer decision makers a more comprehensive and accurate analysis. In some cases, gaps can be filled by tasking investigators to reach out to their sources.Continue reading “Intelligence Gaps: The Known Unknowns”

ACH: The Route 91 Harvest Shooting

The following is an application of the Analysis of Competing Hypotheses (ACH) to the Route 91 Harvest shooter case, the mass murder of 58 persons attending an open-air music festival in Las Vegas, Nevada, on 1 October 2017. The case came to a dissatisfying close in early 2019 with investigators announcing a motive was notContinue reading “ACH: The Route 91 Harvest Shooting”

Gaining Audience Trust When Presenting Controversial Findings

The findings of intelligence assessments are occasionally controversial. This includes products released only for internal consumption, as well as those rare assessments that are disseminated to the broader public. Ideally, the paper is written apolitically, using dispassionate language, and with enough unequivocal support that even a contentious message is given due consideration. Yet, even reportsContinue reading “Gaining Audience Trust When Presenting Controversial Findings”

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”

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”

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”