What ethical issues and responsibilities does the Intelligence Analyst have with respect to executive requests to manufacture intelligence

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M.P. Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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If we describe "manufacturing intelligence" as the process of gathering corroborative data as evidence to create new information, then the ethical issues and responsibilities of the Intelligence Analyst should include:

  • that the summary of all corroborative data is indeed related to the intelligence to be manufactured
  • that the background data that is going to be gathered is verifiable and valid
  • that sources can be accessed to certify the validity of the corroborative data
  • that there is a human factor, or a number of human factors, involved in the process of collection and corroboration of data

To manufacture intelligence does not mean that something is going to be "created" out of thin air. It would not benefit the process, nor the analyst, to have invalid sources or unreliable materials. The analytical part of the intelligence process depends on making correlations. These correlations can only be made to things that are already in place, or that have taken place in the past. Part of the corroborative data may include diaries, literary foundations, previous research, phenomenology, and other historical data that can be traced and verified. Therefore the primary duty of the analyst is to ensure that such data is conducive to the ethical and fair manufacturing of data that is, in essence "true" data and not a combination of facts and fiction. That is where investigations lead up to nothing, and when the analyst loses credibility.

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