Wednesday, August 26, 2020

History of military intelligence: evidence, and who gets to spin it

CBC reports on a study out of Carleton University documenting how, in the approaches to the American-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, the western allies all had pretty much the same intelligence about Iraq's weapons-of-mass-destruction potential.  

The extensive sharing of intelligence meant that analysts in the Five Eyes alliance — the U.S., Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand — were largely working with the same body of information in trying to make sense of things.

But the Canadian government got unfiltered assessments -- mostly sceptical about the Iraqi threat -- while the other governments' leaders mostly got reports spun to tell them what they wanted to hear.:

Analysts in Ottawa were well aware of the disagreements taking place in the other Five Eyes countries over Iraq's purported WMDs, as well as the pressure put on analysts in those countries by senior officials to come up with specific conclusions to support the policy line, Barnes says.

In the aftermath, Canada kept its mouth shut, aware the other countries did not want to be told how their policy advisors had cooked the books. 


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