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Analyzing Intelligence: Origins, Obstacles, and Innovations Paperback – Apr 9 2008

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 340 pages
  • Publisher: Georgetown Univ Pr; 1st Edition edition (April 9 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1589012011
  • ISBN-13: 978-1589012011
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 1.9 x 25.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 658 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #306,076 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


A practical and wide-ranging study of intelligence analysis. The editors have done a superb job of seamlessly editing the work of a number of the world's recognized experts of intelligence gathering and analysis. Of special interest to readers should be those chapters related to the relationship between analysts and national-level security and policymakers. This book will be an invaluable resource for future analysts and those professionals currently involved in overcoming the enduring challenges associated with the role of intelligence in a free society. Parameters Analyzing Intelligence is the most comprehensive book on the subject to date -- a really valuable treatment for those anticipating becoming an intelligence analyst, as well as for those who already are. Studies in Intelligence Law and policy recognize that intelligence is the strategic pivot of the current fight [against terrorism], so readers of Proceedings who seek a deeper understanding of how we might wage war more effectively should put Analyzing Intelligence at the top of their reading list. Proceedings

About the Author

Roger Z. George is an adjunct professor at Georgetown University and is currently a senior analyst at the CIA's Global Futures Partnership. He is a career CIA intelligence analyst who has served at the Departments of State and Defense and has been the National Intelligence Officer for Europe. He has taught at the National War College and other private universities and is coeditor of Intelligence and the National Security Strategist: Enduring Issues and Challenges. James B. Bruce is an adjunct professor at Georgetown University and a senior political scientist at the RAND Corporation. He is a retired career CIA intelligence analyst who has served with the National Intelligence Council, within the Directorates of Intelligence and Operations, and has worked extensively with other intelligence community organizations. He has taught at the National War College and has authored numerous studies on intelligence and deception.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Found it to be light on depth and explanation and heavy on buzzwords and generic examples.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0xa64bc3b4) out of 5 stars 21 reviews
40 of 42 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa64fd468) out of 5 stars A "must have" for the intelligence analyst's bookshelf July 2 2008
By Robert Clark - Published on
Format: Paperback
This is not an Analysis 101 book. It is a serious, insightful look at the important aspects of intelligence analysis as it is practiced and should be practiced. The contributors include the elite of the intelligence analysis business - Heuer, Kerr, Davis, Gannon, and Lowenthal, among others. They are people who speak with authority based on their expertise and experience in all aspects of intelligence. The contributors had the agenda of elucidating for readers the heart and soul of intelligence analysis, and they succeeded.

Several chapters by themselves would be worth the price of the book: John McLaughlin's chapter on dealing with the policymaker customer; Dick Kerr's chapter on the CIA analysis history; or Jack Davis' chapter on analytic pitfalls, among others.

The book reflects the political and military analytic background of the contributors. Consequently, it gives less attention to the economic and S&T/weapons systems analysis perspective - not a serious flaw, since these are rather specialized fields of analysis having a distinct customer set. The only chapter that could be substantially improved is the one of military intelligence analysis, which spends too much space lamenting the lack of respect accorded to military intelligence analysis and insufficient space in discussing what it really is all about. Overall, this book is a major contribution to the intelligence literature and should be on every analyst's bookshelf.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa6515cd8) out of 5 stars Relatively current, but not the best out there July 3 2010
By E. M. Van Court - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Well researched, documented, and written works on intelligence analysis are fairly scarce. Although "Analyzing Intelligence" meets these goals, there are other works I would recommend before this one.

Well researched, and thoroughly cited by the intelligence professionals who wrote each essay, it is a collection of essays about intelligence analysis, but more about the circumstances that surround analysts, and approaches to dealing with the challenges that arise in these circumstances. Of the eighteen articles, only three directly addressed analysis, the rest dealt with organizational challenges, the relationship between policy makers and analysts, the management of analysts, and other arcane concerns. This was one of the merits of this book; it brings some of the occult practices of the intelligence world into the light where citizens can gain some insight into processes that determine the fate of our nation. The experiences the authors share give perspectives on historical events that seldom get heard in the mainstream histories and popular accounts.

On the other hand, the authors are mostly CIA (at least 12 out of 18), and all with extensive experience inside the Beltway. Consistently, I got the impression that this work was much more about asserting the superiority of CIA analysts than about nominal subjects of the essays. Sherman Kent And The Board Of National Estimates: Collected Essays did more to impress me with the competence of the CIA than this work, and Richards Heuer's Psychology of Intelligence Analysis was much more informative about the challenges and approaches to addressing those challenges. Several times I got the impression that there was a degree of bitterness; "What I could have done if..." sort of comments. This detracted from the appearence of professionalism in the essays where it appeared.

It is a good work, relatively current (2 years old as I write), and a source of insights into recent history and the dynamics of the intelligence community. The perception of being written by a closed circle and the negative tone distracted and detracted from the tone of the collection though, and makes it difficult for me to recommend it.

E. M. Van Court
24 of 30 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa650bd44) out of 5 stars Of, By, and For USA Status Quo Bubbas--Essential but Very Partial July 14 2009
By Robert David STEELE Vivas - Published on
Format: Paperback
This is a very fine book, not least because of its inclusion of Jack Davis (search for <analytic tradecraft> as well as Carmen Medina (see her presentation to global audience via, but in its essentials this is a book of, by, and for the status quo ante bubbas--the American bubbas, I might add.

If you are an analyst or a trainer of analysts or a manager of analysts, this is assuredly essential reading, but it perpetuates my long-standing concerns about American intelligence:

1) Lack of a strategic analytic model (see Earth Intelligence Network)

2) Lack of deep historical and multi-cultural appreciation

3) Lack of a deep understanding and necessary voice on the complete inadequacy of collection sources, the zero presence of processing and lack of desktop analytic tools, and the need for ABSOLUTE devotion to the truth, not--as is still the case, "within the reasonable bounds of dishonesty" aka "slam dunk"

4) Lack of integrity in so many ways, not least of which is the analytic abject acceptance of the false premise that the best intelligence is top secret/sensitive compartmented information--see the online CounterPunch piece on "Intelligence for the President--AND Everyone Else."

Below are ten books I recommend as substantive complements to this book:
The Landscape of History: How Historians Map the Past
Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & 'Project Truth'
Fog Facts : Searching for Truth in the Land of Spin (Nation Books)
Lost Promise
The Age of Missing Information (Plume)
Informing Statecraft
Bureaucratic Politics And Foreign Policy
A More Secure World: Our Shared Responsibility--Report of the Secretary-General's High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change
Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA
The Shadow Factory: The Ultra-Secret NSA from 9/11 to the Eavesdropping on America
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa65321ec) out of 5 stars Finished Intelligence Nov. 21 2009
By Retired Reader - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The `intelligence' that this book refers to is what was once known as `finished intelligence' that is intelligence designed primarily to inform the President and members of the National Security Council (NSC). It directly supports the executive level formation of national policies relating to national security and foreign affairs. In theory this policy level intelligence is produced by intelligence analysts who combine subject matter knowledge with research and analytic techniques to transform all source information into the most accurate intelligence possible. As the various contributors to this book sometimes make clear this level of intelligence is a matter of probabilities not absolutes.

Because finished intelligence is so closely associated with policy formation, the book includes a variety of thoughts on the relationship between the intelligence analyst and policy makers and national strategists. Since this level of intelligence often requires the analyst to make subjective judgments based on often inconclusive evidence, the book also has useful discussions of the dangers of politicization to sound intelligence products. These two threads appear to run throughout the book and are illustrated in concrete examples that highlight the thin line between informing policy making and politicization.

The first half of this book deals with what are by necessity fairly high level issues that impact the analytic processes, but not necessarily the intelligence analysts except indirectly. The second half of the book is a general, but serious look at the process of analysis and the analysts who execute that process. On this subject Jack Davis and Carmen Medina have some very interesting things to say about the analytic process (and those who execute that process). Also one of the book's editors, James Bruce, makes an observation on the relationship between epistemology and intelligence production. This relationship should be obvious, but until someone like Bruce makes it, the relationship is often ignored.

A good treatment of an important subject, but for details on what a finished intelligence analyst actually does for a living read "Lost Promise" by John Gentry.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa6532210) out of 5 stars Exceptional read July 29 2009
By Jesse Wilson - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was an exceptional read. Each chapter, written by a leader within the community, touches on a critical topic in the field of intelligence analysis. I highly recommend this book for anyone who is serious about broadening their understanding of analysis and ways to improve the discipline.
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