Research: Publications

The CIA and the Perils of Politicization

March 17, 2008 | Report


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Melvin Goodman analyzes the CIA's vulnerability to politicization due to its mission to provide intelligence to policymakers. 

The CIA’s mission to provide intelligence to policymakers renders the agency vulnerable to political pressure, particularly when policies fail and policymakers are tempted to control the fl ow of intelligence. The CIA was created as an independent, non-departmental agency precisely because its founders recognized the need for an intelligence service that was not part of a policy department and therefore would be less susceptible to manipulation in support of policy goals. Throughout the CIA’s 60-year history, there have been many efforts to slant analytical conclusions, skew estimates, and repress evidence that challenged a particular policy or point of view. As a result, the agency must recognize the impact of politicization and introduce barriers to protect analysts from political pressures. Unfortunately, the CIA has largely ignored the problem.


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