Monday, August 08, 2005
Intelligence VS. Politics, Institutional Thinking, and Conventional Wisdom (Operation Able Danger)
Operation Able Danger shows that the United States military intelligence community had intelligence on four of the September 11, 2001 Attack terrorists as potential threats about a full year before September 11, 2001 Attack. The information from Operation Able Danger and the United States military intelligence community was viewed as unlikely by the rest of the United States intelligence community and did not fit with the rest of the United States intelligence community. As often the case, when intelligence does not conform to politics, institutional thinking, and conventional wisdom, omissions are made. At the same time, there is no infallibility in seeking to understand terrorist organizations and terrorists. The truth is, what is known, even to any intelligence community, is generally out of date and sketchy at best. This does not mean intelligence is not a good guide and that intelligence should not be gathered, rather this means intelligence conformed to politics, institutional thinking, and conventional wisdom result in omissions. Operation Able Danger should be humbling for everyone involved in the United States intelligence community to realize how little we know, how much we get wrong, and how much we guess.