Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies Stanford University


Publications




Image of Cover

Intelligence as a Service Industry

Journal Article

Author
Thomas Fingar - Stanford University

Published by
The American Interest, Vol. VII no. 4, page(s) 80-84
Spring (March/April) 2012


First paragraph of the article:

Ubiquitous fictional depictions of dashing spies with expensive high-tech “toys” may be entertaining, but they tend to distort public understanding and inflate both fears and expectations of the U.S. Intelligence Community (IC). This distortion of reality engenders a belief that the IC is dangerously omniscient and capable of knowing and doing just about anything it wishes. Misguided or misinformed journalists exacerbate public mistrust, revealing the IC’s technical capabilities and reviling examples of bureaucratic bloat, redundancy and its purported inability to “connect the dots.” Even in normal times such mischaracterizations are unhelpful, but in a period of budgetary stringency inflected by political demands for magic-bullet solutions they have the potential to trigger “reforms” that will do more harm than good.