The Policymaker-Intelligence Relationship

Mark M. Lowenthal

in The Oxford Handbook of National Security Intelligence

Published in print March 2010 | ISBN: 9780195375886
Published online September 2010 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

The Policymaker-Intelligence Relationship

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This article focuses on the policymaker and intelligence analyst relationship which is central to intelligence. The article proceeds from three main points: the centrality of analyst relationship with the consumer; the notion that intelligence's meaningful function is to serve as a larger apparatus for policymakers; and the strict boundary between policymakers and intelligence officers where intelligence officers are expected to distance themselves from creating preferences and recommendations. In the policymaker-intelligence relationship, the relationship should be dominated by the policymakers who have contested and won an election. Policymakers have the right to govern, set budgets, make decisions, and order operations. Second, intelligence is a service provided to policymakers. Although intelligence is an important and useful part of the policy process, its role should be determined by the policymakers and not by the intelligence agencies.

Keywords: policymaker; intelligence analyst; policymaker-intelligence relationship; intelligence; policy process; intelligence agencies

Article.  6741 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; International Relations

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