Friday, July 15, 2016


            My new book, A Handbook For Intelligence And Crime Analysis, was published July 14th.

            It was a long time in the making but was worth it. There are 18 chapters in the book, but it contains two important chapters I am especially proud of—one on the Corruption of Intelligence and the other on Deception Analysis.

            The first should be of interest to everyone because the attempts to manipulate and distort intelligence by our elected officials have reached epidemic proportions. Unfortunately, a significant number of elected Republicans, Democrats, and Tea Party members do not think twice about trying to skew intelligence. I believe the objectivity, integrity, and honesty of intelligence products are vital keys to the preservation of our form of representative government.

            Indeed, perhaps the most valuable service intelligence analysts can perform is to tell policymakers what they don’t want to hear—analysis that differs from their bias, prejudices and, in some cases, their policies.

            The second should also be of interest to a large number of readers because it looks at deception in all its forms as developed and practiced by the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Terrorists, human and drug traffickers, and a wide variety of enemies of this country have adopted the principles of Soviet-style deception. And remember, Vladimir Putin is a former KGB intelligence officer, so I am sure deception is a major tool in the arsenal. 

Deception comes in many forms and is an every day problem intelligence and crime analysts face. Most texts on deception concentrate on deception as carried out in a military or political context, failing to recognize self-deception is a major cause of intelligence failures. A friend of mine, with over 40 years experience in intelligence, tells his classes that no analyst can come to a problem or situation with a clean slate. He or she will always have preconceptions or assumptions.  The assumptions may be correct, but the analyst often does not step back and reevaluate when dealing with a new problem. Judgments, he says, tend to get firmer in analysts minds and they rarely revisit them.

Sometimes self-deception and deceptive practices of the opposition come together and result in devastating consequences. This textbook reminds, and in some cases, alerts analysts (and interested non-professionals) to the pitfalls of deception in all forms.

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