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Intelligence failures

I was watching the news today, specifically about the Government reaction to the attacks. What struck me about the whole reaction was that people were very quick to blame intelligence failures for the lack of protection. It mirrors statements given by the US government regarding the Iraq invasion (see Bush's biggest regret), 9/11 or the Bali bombings. Interestingly, there was no intelligence failure regarding the London bombings.

It's starting to come out now, that there was actually intelligence pointing towards some kind of event like the Mumbai attack happening, but there was a failure to act upon the intelligence. It seems that the generic intelligence failure is a handy crutch, blaming these nameless and faceless intelligence operatives, who by their very nature cannot be held to account for their supposed failures. Could you imagine James Bond being hauled in front of a parliamentary committee?

The truth of the matter is that these "intelligence failures" are really more like a failure to identify and remedy threats. The decision-making and analysis at the appropriate levels of government is broken, and the capability to make good decisions seems limited. Rather than fix this, it is a lot easier to manipulate the language again, and just invent the meaningless concept of intelligence failure, which has decent recognition in the public.

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