ANSWERS: Robert Steele on Intelligence Analysis Books & Training

Robert David STEELE Vivas

QUESTION: A client wants to spend Euro 100 on intelligence analysis books.  What are your thoughts?

ANSWER: An interesting question.

A major problem with all the works on analytic reasoning is that they assume the analyst has access to a sufficiency of unbiased useful data, and that is never true.

In fact most analysts are victims of active deception by their collectors and others, as well as active corruption in that the collectors refuse to be serious about OSINT, overt HUMINT, foreign language and local observer collection, etcetera.  NSA processes less than 1% of what they collect and they refuse to be serious about direct support to domestic counterintelligence (e.g NYPD and FBI) or foreign clandestine operations at the tactical level (e.g. the terrorist target in Panama). The clandestine service in the USA relies on lies from foreign liaison and legal traveler debriefings that are cursory at best. The Open Source Center is a well-intentioned cesspool of pathos. And so on. The bottom line is that the analysts are never allowed to actually connect with top experts across all nationalities and languages and aspects of any given challenge, nor do they have a holitistic analytic model, nor do they know how to know (nor are they allowed to do) true cost economics analytics.

From this list at Amazon I would recommend David Moore’s book, Huerer and Clark are standards in the field, and of course the tradecraft primer from the US government (probably also free online).  I do not recommend Finger’s book, Bazzell has the best book on online OSINT that I know of.

So for $100 I would say Moore, the $4.50 version of the US Government primer, Bazzell, and ONE of the following four:

Structured Analytic Techniques by Heuer and Pherson

Intelligence Analysis a Target Centric Approach by Clark

Intelligence Analysis as Discovery by Tecuci and Schum

Intelligence Analysis How to Think in Complex Environments by Hall and Citrenbaurm

Ideally you could spend time with look inside the book at Amazon and reading reviews and make a selection based on that reviews.

See the annotated bibliograpies in ON INTEL and NEW Craft, and the 300 intelligence book reviews below.

Worth a Look: Book Reviews on Intelligence (Most)

See also these free handbooks and draw the client’s attention to their easy access online:

My long answer is that no amount of training in analytic reasoning will make up for the corruption of the over-all system.

My lectures to the foundation lectures for OPM and the Italian Military are still a useful starting point, see the one on analysis but the others provide context, and of course I have my recent note on philosophy of intelligence. Analysis will only be as good as the weakest link in the intelligence chain.

Reflections: Philosophy of Intelligence

Robert Steele: Intelligence 101 – The Series