Type: Evaluation Essays
Sample donated: Colleen Baldwin
Last updated: December 29, 2019
The relationshipbetween policymakers and the intelligence agencies is an important oneespecially with regard to national security. This relationship is predicatedupon clear roles and responsibilities assigned to each of the two. However, itis not always the case that these roles and responsibilities are effectivelyexecuted. For example, intelligence services only inform policy, but there havebeen attempts by these intelligence service providers to actively createpolicies. In the abstract, intelligence services should serve as a tool forpolicymakers, which implies that policymakers ought to dominate thisrelationship given that they are the direct representatives of the people.
Below is an evaluation of this relationship and how it can be misused by thepolicymakers. Theprimary role of policymakers to the intelligence community is to provide acontinuous flow of feedback on key policy issues by “planning and directing”(Lowenthal 67). This concept is important as it helps to shape intelligenceneeds. This is because such feedback enables intelligence services to have anindication of what is important for policymakers. The failure to effectivelyundertake this role harms intelligence services since it effectively impliesthat they operate without a guide. Secondly, policymakers have a role ofproviding intelligence services with adequate resources to ensure that they caneffectively undertake their roles.On the other hand, intelligence servicesassist policymakers with national security issues and foreign intelligence.
Inessence, intelligence services are a form of expertise in their respectedfields to policymakers. They achieve this by organizing intelligence andinformation from a wide variety of both open and secret sources. Theeffective execution of these roles and responsibilities is important for anumber of reasons. One of the reasons is that the failure to do so would resultin either misuse or disuse of intelligence by policymakers. The implication ofthis is that there is an increase in intelligence failures and put nationalsecurity at risk.
Secondly, the analytical processes undertaken by intelligenceagencies differ from the decision processes undertaken by policymakers;therefore, an attempt by either of the two to perform its roles and responsibilitiesusing a non-contemporary process would result in conflict between the two. Thisis especially so for the intelligence services in which an attempt by them toengage in decision processes effectively implies that they are engaged in policymakingyet they only serve as instruments of policymaking rather than being initiatorsof policy. Thefailure to adhere to the roles and responsibilities assigned to bothpolicymakers and intelligence services creates sufficient grounds for theemergence of informal relationships between the policymakers and intelligenceservices. The implication of this is that it results in a politicization ofintelligence.
Politicization of intelligence refers to the “manipulation ofintelligence estimates to reflect policy preferences” being personal orbureaucratic politics to form the basis for intelligence analysis (Rovner 55). Thiscan occur from either the policymaker or the intelligence analyst. In essence, whenpoliticization is initiated by the policymaker, “top-down direction,”intelligence services are forced to tailor their analysis to suit the desiredoutcomes of policymakers (Betts 67). It is also the case that politicizationmay be initiated by an intelligence analyst, a situation that Betts refers toas “bottom-up” politicization (67).
It involves an intelligence analysttailoring their analysis to suit a certain predetermined outcome that may beviewed as favorable for either personal or organizational gain. According toBetts, the effect of flow up or down politicization is that it erodesconfidence in the integrity of both the intelligence services and policymakersin the long term. Consequently, effectively undertaking the roles andresponsibilities assigned to the two is the only sure way through which problemsand corruption such as politicization can be avoided. This is especiallyimportant considering the repercussions to national security that suchineffectiveness may result in for the country.It is, therefore,necessary to evaluate what it means for policymakers and intelligence servicesexecuting their roles and responsibilities effectively. For intelligenceservices, effectiveness simply means adding value to information in an erawhere there is an abundance of information.
This involves a careful analysis ofboth open and secret sources of information then proceeding to offer a uniqueview of the information that is consistent with the intelligence needs ofpolicymakers. In essence, this implies that intelligence services must providespecific and actionable intelligence to policymakers. On the other hand,effectiveness on the part of the policymakers implies implementing therecommendations of professional intelligence reports or providing positivecriticisms on the same. It is important to note that policymakers may treatintelligence reports in three ways; they may choose to implement them, disusethem, or critique them. Questioning the analysis provided by intelligenceservices is certainly an indicator of effectiveness by policymakers. It is alsothe case with the implementation of intelligence reports’ recommendations.
However, disusing intelligence reports serves as an illustration of the lack ofeffectiveness on the part of policymakers.As illustratedabove, intelligence services shape their agenda on the basis of the needs ofpolicymakers given that intelligence is a service to policymakers. Theimplication of this is that intelligence services become prone to misuse bypolicymakers both here and abroad. One example of such misuse of intelligenceis illustrated in America’s invasion of Iraq in which despite the lack ofsufficient intelligence on Iraq’s Weapons of Mass Destruction, policymakerspushed intelligence services to make an analysis based on that assumption(Betts 156).
Such an act points out to the need for domination of therelationship between intelligence services and policymakers. For othercountries, the misuse of intelligence services may be directly linked to thepolitical survivability of policymakers, especially those in the politicalclass. This is especially so for countries that do not have strong politicaland institutional structures.Intelligence andintelligence services are the driving force for consumers and policies.
Therelationship and the driving force behind the intelligence community andpolicymakers play an important for national security. However, there are manyblurred lines that exist in the various core roles that each institution holds.When the boundaries are crossed and responsibilities overlap, intelligencefailure occurs and the effectiveness of the intelligence cycle is compromised.Intelligence services exist to serve as a tool for policymakers to makedecisions. When the roles of both consumers and producers’ roles andrelationship are effectively executed and maintained, the chances for failuresand abuse are limited.