Guarding Against Politicization,


A message to analysts

Guarding Against Politicization

Robert M. Gates

The following remarks by the Director of Central Intelligence were made on 16 March 1992 in the CIA auditorium.

Bourne Cockran wrote to Winston Churchill in 1895 that, "What the people really want to hear is the truth — it is the exciting thing — speak the simple truth." Twenty years later, Churchill himself wrote, "The truth is incontrovertible; panic may resent it; ignorance may deride it; malice may destroy it, but there it is." Truth, insofar as we can determine it, is what our work is all about. Indeed our own main entrance is dominated by the chiseled words, "And ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free." And because seeking truth is what we are all about as an institution, as professionals, and as individuals, the possibility — even the perception — that that quest may be tainted deeply troubles us, as it long has and as it should.

The problem of politicization is as old as the intelligence business. The missile gap in the late 1950s, the disputes over our work on Vietnam in the 1960s, the criticisms of pandering to Nixon and Kissinger on detente in the early 1970s, that we were foils for the Carter administration on energy in the late 1970s — all these controversies and more — predated the 1980s. For as long as intelligence data has been collected and analyzed by human beings, it has been susceptible to their biases.

Politicization can manifest itself in many ways, but in each case it boils down to the same essential elements: "Almost all agree that it involves deliberately distorting analysis or judgments to favor a preferred line of thinking irrespective of evidence. Most consider `classic' politicization to be only that which occurs if products are forced to conform to policymakers' views. A number believe politicization also results from management pressures to define and drive certain lines of analysis and substantive viewpoints. Still others believe that changes in tone or emphasis made during the normal review or coordination process, and limited means for expressing alternative viewpoints, also constitute forms of politicization."

This has been an issue with which all of us have long grappled, but never as publicly, or as pointedly, as in my confirmation hearings last fall. I know that for many of you, the segments devoted to politicization were wrenching, embarrassing, and even humiliating at times. They pitted friends and colleagues against one another. I know too that there were strong views on all sides of the debate back here in the ranks.

While I believed, and argued, that the specific allegations were unfair and untrue, I came away from that experience determined not only to find better ways to prevent the reality of policy-driven bias, but also to reexamine how we deal with perceptions of politicization.

I also came away with a renewed belief that by dealing forthrightly with the politicization issue, we will also be strengthening our ability to fulfill our purpose — to provide the highest quality intelligence, accurate and relevant intelligence, to policymakers.

As a result of those hearings, one of my first moves upon becoming Director of Central Intelligence was to instruct the Deputy Director for Intelligence to form a task force to address politicization and to work with members of the Directorate of Intelligence to come up with recommendations for future action. In my view, the report provided valuable insights into the issue and prescribed a variety of measures to address many of the concerns associated with politicization. I thank the task force members for their effort and encourage those of you who have not yet read the report or my resulting decision memorandum to do so.

In their report, the task force found a persistent and impressive commitment to objectivity, high ethical standards, and professionalism in the DI. They found that most analysts and managers remain determined to resist direct or indirect pressures from policy officials for products that conform to their views. Moreover, they concluded that politicization is not perceived to be a pervasive problem by most in the DI. Indeed, it is not a problem at all in some areas.

But, the task force did find that concerns about politicization are serious enough to warrant action. Furthermore, most of these concerns relate to internally generated distortions. Over half the respondents to the task force's survey said that forcing a product to conform to a view thought to be held by a manager higher up the chain of command occurs often enough to be of concern. Most of the charges raised in discussions with the task force revolved around internal distortions generated during the review and coordination process.

I agree with the task force that this level of concern is disturbing, that it goes beyond the degree of frustration that is inherent to the review process, and that it demands the immediate attention of Agency management at all levels.

While my comments to you today fulfill a promise I made to Congress several months ago and respond in part to the task force's recommendations, I believe I would have scheduled this address regardless. In the short time that I have been back at the Agency, I have become more aware of the profound impact the issue of politicization has had on the morale of analysts and managers alike. It is not a concern to be dismissed with token gestures. Politicization is a serious matter, and it has no place at CIA or in the Intelligence Community.

As best we can, we must engage in a candid discussion of the issue, devise effective measures to prevent it from occurring, and resolve to deal decisively with any circumstances that may foster distortions in our analysis. I hope that our encounter today will launch a process of greater openness and dialogue.

The DDI and I have accepted the task force recommendations in their totality, but before I discuss the specifics, I would like to talk with you further about politicization and the challenge it poses for us as intelligence analysts. The issue of politicization has dogged American intelligence for years and reflects the fact that although we belong to an institution with established norms and procedures, we are all human and prone to make mistakes and errors in judgment.

Although the task force study focused on the DI, I believe we must include the National Intelligence Officers and the National Intelligence Council in the discussion of politicization. They, too, are engaged in analysis and — given their frequent contact with high-level policymakers — their work is also vulnerable to distortion.

Let's start by defining the policymakers' proper role in the intelligence process. I believe that most of you would agree that policymakers should be able to request intelligence products that address the issues they are dealing with on a daily basis. Such tasking is an integral part of the intelligence process. If we ignore policymaker interests, then our products become irrelevant in the formulation of our government's foreign policies. I think we also all would concur that a policymaker should not dictate the line of march that he or she expects our analysis to take. Nor should we withhold our assessments because they convey bad news or may not be well received.

The challenge for us as analysts, then, is to produce intelligence that objectively assesses relevant policy issues — whether it supports or undermines current policy trends — and to ensure that our product is read and valued by the policymakers concerned. Ensuring objectivity means that we explore the issue fully, looking at and vetting all the available evidence and identifying where gaps, blindspots, or alternative scenarios exist. Our task is to facilitate an understanding of the realities of a particular situation and its implications for US policy.

Getting the policymaker to read our product should not jeopardize our objectivity; it does not mean sugarcoating our analysis. On the contrary, it means providing a frank, evenhanded discussion of the issues. If we know that a policymaker holds a certain viewpoint on an issue that is different from our analysis, we ought not lightly dismiss that view but rather address its strengths and weaknesses and then provide the evidence and reasoning behind our own judgment. I believe such an approach enhances our credibility and value. I realize, however, that in many cases the issues may not be clear-cut. In such situations, we owe it to ourselves to discuss fully how best to approach the subject before we even set pen to paper. In no instance should we alter our judgments to make a product more palatable to a policymaker.

In dealing with policymakers, we also need to keep in mind our role as intelligence analysts. Managers and analysts alike should meet with policymakers on a regular basis to exchange views and explore new ideas. In today's changing world, however, we must guard against taking on tasks that do not deal with intelligence topics and may be intended instead to drive a specific policy agenda. Managers and analysts need to discuss such situations candidly and design products that address only the intelligence issues at hand.

This brings me to the second aspect of politicization identified by the task force — the apparent lack of understanding and confidence between a number of DI analysts and managers. Somehow some seem to have lost the ability to discuss the substantive or structural aspects of an intelligence product frankly and in an atmosphere of trust. The task force report indicates that such circumstances exist in enough offices to be of concern. Apparently we have lost a sense of professional collegiality and find ourselves, in many instances, adopting a them-against-us mentality which fosters perceptions of distortions in the intelligence process. No one has a monopoly on the truth; we are all learning new things every day. Although some may be more experienced than others, no one person should impose his or her view on another. Dialogue must take place, each participant must be open to new ideas, and well-grounded alternative views must be represented. There are many managers and analysts who understand this; unfortunately, many do not.

If an analyst and manager or two analytical, groups interpret information differently and can't come to a common understanding, the situation can degenerate into a perception of politicization. If one group or one person forces his or her line of analysis out over another, whether by force of his or her position in the management structure or through control of dissemination channels, it can leave the perception that that person or group has politicized the process.

I believe the first line of defense against politicization and analytic distortions is our own personal integrity; I want to spend some time talking about how each of us must work to ensure the highest integrity in our work.

Let me talk for a moment to our managers. I believe that managers are in a special position, particularly branch chiefs, because they are the ultimate arbiters in any analytical disagreements. They are also the ones who are charged with teaching and counseling our analysts.

As I see it, managers have three critical responsibilities to prevent distortions and corruptions of our products. First, managers have to challenge all of the analysis that comes through them to ensure its basic analytic soundness, logical validity, and clarity. As part of this, managers should always require analysts to defend their work.

Second, managers must strive to be open to new ideas and new lines of analysis from any source. We cannot simply stick with our previous conceptions and hope to keep pace with our rapidly changing environment. In the past year, many of the old assumptions that helped us in our analysis have been invalidated.

Third, I would also strongly concur with the task force in its conclusion that poor communication is the key source of the widespread concern within the DI about politicization.

Managers must strive in every interaction they have with analysts and managers to ensure all communications are clear. Managers must be able to state clearly why they disagree with a judgment, or how they want a logical argument reconstructed. We cannot simply say we don't like it and we'll know what we want when we see it. That is more than a cop-out, that is a prescription for trouble.

Let me emphasize this last responsibility. Managers, particularly those who are teaching our less experienced analysts how to do basic intelligence analysis, cannot afford poor communications. Managers should be showing analysts the bows and whys behind their decisions, not just telling them to change words. If you can't tell an analyst why you don't believe his or her arguments, or if you can't offer a logical counterargument, then you should take more time to construct your own analysis.

Most managers in the DI face difficult and highly stressful demands on their time. In a directorate in which, at each level, the manager is expected to be part expert, part editor, and part bureaucrat, they are sometimes tempted to give the people-management side of their jobs short shrift. Frequently, the result is that suspicions of base motives arise when there are simply differences of view:

  • This happens when a division chief is too timid — or thinks he or she is too busy — to sit down with the analyst and go over comments on a paper.
  • It happens when a senior manager makes cryptic or offensive comments on drafts.
  • It happens when the office director sits on a paper indefinitely because he or she lacks the courage to tell an analyst and his or her management that it is simply unworkable or irrelevant.
  • It happens when an analyst responds to a reviewer with legitimate questions or counterarguments, only to discover he or she has been branded as uncooperative and unwilling to take criticism.
  • It happens when subordinate managers are afraid to give bad news, or to admit to their own mistakes, and instead pin everything unpleasant on someone higher up the chain.
  • It happens when there are so many layers of excessive review that some kind of misunderstanding somewhere along the way is inevitable.
  • It happens when any manager becomes so intent on "making a call" or "sharpening the judgments" or "defining the office view" that he or she oversimplifies the argument or fails to provide alternative views.

I think you get the idea. Perceptions of politicization or other kinds of intentional distortion tend to arise in the absence of an open, creative environment that encourages give-and-take. The manager who allows the press of business and the frequent need to push and prod for the best possible product to cause him or her to behave rudely, abruptly, or imperiously, does so at considerable peril to his or her reputation for objectivity. I know also that what is necessary is not the practice of some awkward, feel-good management technique. It is simply a matter of treating people the right way — with professional respect, civility, and confidence in their integrity and capabilities.

Managers must create an environment in which analysts feel comfortable airing substantive differences. Managers must listen; they must talk; they must erode some of the hierarchy. And they must create a sense of joint ownership of ideas. Managers need to create an atmosphere in which people can, approach them without fear of retribution. Managers must — I repeat must — create a barrier-free environment for ideas.

Now let me address our analysts. Analysts have their own responsibilities to prevent distortions and politicization from creeping into our analysis. First and foremost, analysts must be able to construct clearly a logical analysis of an issue. This includes not only the ability to write a clear argument, but an ability to examine one's own biases, assumptions and limitations.

Second, when an analyst sends forward a work to management, he or she should be prepared and expect to defend that analysis.

Third, every analyst must approach editing, coordination, and review as a process to improve a piece. An analyst must see the process as a team effort, with coordinating analysts and managers as team members who will offer input that must be considered and dealt with. No analyst should think that his or her view of the world is the only correct view, or that the opinions and arguments of others are not worthy of consideration. We must always keep our minds open. As Judge Learned Hand wrote, "Opinions are at best provisional hypotheses, incompletely tested. The more they are tested, after the tests are well scrutinized, the more assurance we may assume, but they are never absolutes. So, we must be tolerant of opposite opinions or varying opinions by the very fact of our incredulity of our own."

Last, and this is an important point, analysts must always challenge the arguments and opinions of others, including their managers. An analyst should not expect his or her analysis to go unchallenged, and he or she should not be willing to accept the analysis of others without challenge. By questioning managers and other analysts on the reasons underlying their comments and judgments, especially those in conflict with our own, we learn to look at issues in new ways — sometimes ways that are better. You should rightly question anyone who cannot defend or explain the reasons behind disagreements with your analysis.

Also, unwarranted concerns about politicization can arise when analysts themselves fail to understand their role in the process. We do produce a corporate product. If the policymaker wants the opinion of a single individual, he or she can (and frequently does) consult any one of a dozen outside experts on any given issue. Your work, on the other hand, counts because it represents the well-considered view of an entire directorate and, in the case of National Estimates, the entire Intelligence Community. Analysts themselves must play a critical role in making the system work. They must do their part to help foster an open environment. Analysts must understand and practice the corporate concept. They must discard the academic mindset that says their work is their own, and they must take into account the views of others during the coordination process.

What, then, can we do together to counter both real and perceived distortion of the analytical product? For starters, we can all recommit ourselves to a solid professional ethic and a high degree of collegiality. Distortion of analysis is much less likely, and much easier to spot, if there is a concerted effort at all levels to observe basic standards:

  • We must make explicit what is not known and clearly distinguish between fact, inference, and judgment.
  • We must recommit ourselves to the good oldfashioned scientific method — the testing of alternative hypotheses against the evidence.
  • We should provide an outlet for different interpretations, theories, or predictions in our mainline publications, not just in a staff note or a piece at the back of a monthly.
  • While we strive for sharp and focused judgments for a clear assessment of likelihood, we must not dismiss alternatives or exaggerate our certainty under the guise of making the "tough calls." We are analysts, not umpires, and the game does not depend on our providing a single judgment. As Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote, "Certitude is not the test of certainty. We have been cocksure of many things that were not so."
  • We must protect ourselves from groupthink, an institutional mindset, or personal bias. We must also avoid the temptation to weight our arguments or our case as a corrective to the perceived failings of others.
  • We must view coordination as an important step in ensuring that all views have been considered. Indeed, the task force found that refusal to alter a view or take into account the views of others during the coordination process frequently leads to charges of distortion or politicization.

But, above all, we must build an atmosphere of confidence and trust between analysts and managers. This requires a renewed commitment to accountability, expertise, and intellectual honesty. Accountability means standing behind the intelligence that one sends forward and being held responsible for any distortions that have been imposed upon it. It is not producing analysis designed to please one's superiors; nor does it mean that a branch, division, or office's analysis must always be right. Accountability requires that analysts and managers understand each other's viewpoints and work together in producing the best analysis they can.

In doing so, we rely on expertise. Managers should ensure that analysts are given opportunities to build and hone their substantive expertise and analytic skills. Managers are chosen to manage their analysts, not to become superanalysts themselves. In helping their analysts develop, managers can build a reserve of trust. Analysts, for their part, must dedicate themselves to becoming experts on their subject and sharpening their critical thinking skills. This takes talent; this takes hard work; this takes dedication; and, not least, this takes time! It follows that managers will demonstrate increased confidence in analysts of such proven expertise.

Finally, we all need to recognize biases and blindspots — in ourselves and in others — viewing them not as weaknesses but as opportunities to grow. Such an approach would allow us to deal more openly with others and foster a more collegial give-and-take among analysts and managers. Greater intellectual honesty on everyone's part can make the process less bureaucratic, less hierarchical, and less of a win-lose situation.

By improving analyst-manager trust, I believe that concerns about the review process skewing intelligence can be lessened. Moreover, in the scope of a more collegial relationship, a manager challenging assumptions should not be seen as a threat by analysts. On balance, it is the managers who bear the greater burden of responsibility in the review process, and they need to have a sound basis for their actions. In editing and revising intelligence products, I expect managers to explain their changes in face-to-face exchanges with their analysts and to be willing to admit when a revision is unwarranted. In turn, I expect analysts to use evidence and logic when arguing against proposed revisions in substance, to be open to new approaches and ideas, and to guard against purely defensive reactions. Expertise is a requirement, but analysts must not become so wedded to their views that they exclude well-grounded, alternative arguments.

The issue of analyst-manager communications is paralleled in the DI-NIC relationship, where NIOs review drafts submitted by DI analysts. A majority of the time, the process works smoothly. In some instances, however, tensions have flared over disagreements on substantive changes. Both sides must endeavor to communicate openly to resolve differences in views or outline alternative scenarios. Moreover, the NIOs' access to the DCI is not exclusive; analysts are welcome to bring their concerns about the estimative process directly to me.

I would like also to address the special obligations and responsibilities that fall on the Directorate of Intelligence and Directorate of Operations when CIA is involved in a covert action. For the DO, a covert action activity does not absolve it of its foreign intelligence reporting responsibilities. It must meet its professional obligation to report as accurately and as fully on an area or problem in which a covert action is under way, as on any other subject. The DO's task is made harder and scrutiny will be all the more intense because inevitably the DO will be working against the perception that its reporting is skewed by involvement in a covert action. And, in truth, it is only human nature to expect that those who are trying to implement a policy will develop strong opinions about, and even attachments to, that policy. We would be fooling ourselves if we tried to deny that reality. But all the more reason for the DO, as professional intelligence officers, to assert their own first obligation to seek and report the truth. And all the more reason that we must reaffirm that those who are responsible for covert action must not be in a position to produce, coordinate, or disseminate anything that is, or looks like, finished intelligence. At the same time, DI analysts must seek out the expertise in the DO, including in areas where covert action is involved, where operations and reports officers have great experience, expertise, and day-to-day working insights. And a special burden falls on the leaders of joint DO-DI Centers, who must ensure that neither the perception nor the reality of politicization gets a toehold.

There is one other potential problem that I need to talk about. As we all know, the DO frequently has information that for one reason or another is not formally disseminated. This may be especially true in cases involving covert action. The DO, in those cases, must make sure that the relevant analysts are made privy to the information they need to strengthen their analytical understanding and work.

In discussing this topic, I would be remiss in not stating that, with a few exceptions, we have a long history of effectively making this partnership between the DO and the DI work — where the DI has earned a well-deserved reputation for independence and insight and the DO for reporting unblinkingly and accurately even when involved in covert action.

In its examination of politicization, the task force concluded that "the solution to the problem of politicization, broadly defined, is not so much a matter of mechanisms as it is confidence in the integrity and capabilities of our people. For our recommendations to yield positive results, every Agency employee from the DCI on down must demonstrate adherence to the principles of integrity on which objective analysis rests, and civility, which fosters a trusting, creative environment."

While I agree that, first and foremost, attitudes must change to help us overcome the unease that politicization has produced among Agency employees, concrete steps should be taken to set a process of reconciliation and dialogue in motion. As I noted earlier, I fully endorse the task force's recommended actions. At the risk of reciting a laundry list of new initiatives, I would like to outline for you the measures that I have undertaken in an effort to address the problem of politicization.

As a first step, I pledge to you today my firm commitment to ensure that analytic objectivity is at the core of every finished intelligence product and that the importance of people-oriented management is instilled at every supervisory level. I want to see this Agency excel in its mission; but to do so, its personnel must have a sense of value and feel that their contribution matters. I expect every manager in this organization to echo my commitment and foster an atmosphere of confidence and trust.

To strengthen management skills and enforce accountability for good management, I have directed the DDI to initiate a zero-based study of DI management practices, to mandate that performance appraisal reports explicitly cite deficiencies in management related to charges of politicization, and to support initiatives to secure better feedback from personnel — such as the evaluation forms being developed by the DI/MAG.

In an effort to assist managers in cultivating the analytic talent of the people under their supervision, I have asked the DDI to ensure that DI managers devote greater attention and resources to practical on-the-job training of analysts — showing them how to gather evidence, assess sources, make judgments, and write up or brief their analysis, our so-called "tradecraft." The DDI also should develop a DI "tradecraft" manual and work with the Office of Training and Education to enhance the "tradecraft" training that analysts receive in formal courses. In addition, managers should rely more frequently on the expertise and experience of senior analysts to assist in developing new analysts.

As a means of minimizing the chances for distortions and misperceptions caused by the review process, I have directed the DDI to institute practical measures to reduce layers of review, encourage greater flexibility and variety of formatting, and encourage fuller debate of substantive issues. To achieve these goals, a DI task force will be established to study the directorate's review and coordination process. At the risk of prejudging the task force's findings, I expect to see a noticeable reduction in the layers of review. In addition, I have asked the DDI to reserve his own substantive review to sensitive products intended for high-level consumers. I have not and will not become involved in the review process.

To ensure that our consumers get the benefit of differing analytic perspectives and to demonstrate the directorate's openness to new ideas and thoughtful alternative viewpoints, I have asked the DDI to restate his support for the inclusion of well-reasoned., relevant, and factually supported alternative views in mainline products, and to appoint a committee to develop practical means to accomplish this goal.

In an effort to remain vigilant to future instances of politicization, I have directed all major analytic components to establish and publicize procedures — within the chain of command — to deal with allegations of politicization. I also asked the DDI to appoint a fulltime ombudsman to serve as an independent, informal counselor for those with complaints about politicization, and he has asked Dave Peterson to take on that job. Dave will have access to me, the DDCI, the DDI, and all DI analytic products; he will counsel, arbitrate, or offer recommendations and have the authority to initiate inquiries into real or perceived problem areas. While Dave will be administratively located in the DI, he will be responsible for dealing with concerns about or allegations of politicization from throughout the Agency, as well as the NIC and estimative process.He will also publish an annual report that includes an assessment of the current level of concern and the effectiveness of measures being taken to alleviate it.

I have directed that several other measures be taken to guard against politicization becoming a problem in the future. IG studies of analytic components shall specifically consider the effectiveness of the review and coordination processes, and the DDI should make relevant portions of IG studies of DI components available to a wider audience within the DI. The DDI should also mandate wider dissemination of studies by the Product Evaluation Staff, as well as increase the studies' emphasis on distortions of the product and process and on the use of alternative analysis. As a follow-up to the task force's efforts, a survey of DI analysts and managers should be conducted a year from now on the issue of politicization.

Finally, the DDI and I are committed to encouraging open and continuing discussion throughout the DI and the NIC of politicization and will promptly take steps when allegations of problems arise, particularly in centers and task forces involved with DO operations. Specifically, I have asked the DDI to encourage all components to discuss politicization in general, and as it pertains to specific substantive issues, and to mandate that officers engaged in the conduct of covert action in areas where policy implementation and analytic functions are integrated shall not be involved in the formal coordination of finished analytic products. The DDI, the NIC Chairman, and the Deputy Director for Operations currently are developing guidelines to ensure that the entire intelligence production process, including the preparation of regular intelligence analysis, National Intelligence Estimates, briefings, etc., including in the DCI centers, are insulated from the influence of those with responsibility for implementing and supervising covert action.

I, better than anyone, know that this directorate lives and breathes skepticism. It is, after all, our stock in trade. And no area is so subject to skepticism — even cynicism — than senior-level rhetoric. "Show me" is the watchword. And so it should be. I intend to monitor closely the implementation of these instructions and ensure that they are carried out. This will be no paper exercise. Actions at every level and a sustained commitment will be required and, as we go along, the DDI and I will continue to welcome ideas in implementing the recommendations.

At the same time, you and I both know that this kind of problem cannot be directed away. You cannot order integrity, you cannot demand that a culture preserve its ethics. In the end, preventing distortion of our analysis depends on where all of us draw the line day in and day out. We must draw a line:

  • Between producing a corporate product and suppressing different views.
  • Between adjusting stylistic presentation to anticipate your consumer's predilections, and changing the analysis to pander to them.
  • Between making order out of chaos and suppressing legitimate debate.
  • Between viewing reporting critically and using evidence selectively.
  • Between avoiding wishy-washiness and pretending to be more certain than we are.
  • Between being a team player and being a careerist.
  • Between maintaining efficiency and suppressing legitimate debate.
  • Between providing leadership and fostering a fearful, oppressive climate.

I wish I could look back on my career in the DI — from analyst to DDI — and say that in each and every case over 25 years I have always drawn all these lines in all the right places. I can tell you, however, that as DCI I intend to do everything in my power to guarantee that analytic objectivity remains the most important of the core values of the Central Intelligence Agency.

It is my sincere hope that the steps I have outlined will help alleviate the underlying causes of and concerns about politicization. Let me reiterate. In our efforts to be policy-relevant, we should not allow our analysis to become skewed in favor of one policy option or another. Nor should the views of one individual — manager or analyst — prevail when wellsourced, well-reasoned arguments support a different set of judgments. We must improve the analyst-manager relationship, and the burden is largely on those who lead. Collegiality and honesty should be two key watchwords in our dealings. We must also avoid ascribing base motives to those with whom we disagree. Moreover, the analytic process should vigorously scrutinize all available evidence, including clandestine reporting, to ensure that underlying policy goals are not distorting our analysis.

In closing, I want to emphasize that the underlying key to dealing with this issue of politicization is respect for individuals, trust in their judgment, confidence in their capabilities, and concern for their well-being. Managers must tell employees what is expected of them, and they must hold them responsible for following through. At the same time, however, managers must give employees the trust and confidence, as well as the training and control, they need to carry out the task. And they must reward employees for their competence, creativity, and commitment to the analytic process.

I want respect for the employee again to become a central value of this organization, and I want that value to run deep. Many managers pay lipservice to this. I want all of us to deliver, and I think we should be held accountable for doing so. Because trust begets trust, I am certain perceptions of politicization would be reduced in the process.

I will make a commitment to you today. My door is always open to discuss this issue with you. If you believe your work is being distorted and you are not satisfied your managers are seriously addressing your concerns, I want to hear from you.

I am very proud of the Directorate of Intelligence. I served in it; I led it; and I used its analysis to frame policy. I want to see it — and the people in it — prosper. I have always been greatly impressed with the breadth and depth of expertise in the DI. And I do not want anybody — inside or outside the Agency — to believe this expertise is tarnished by political considerations.

I was uncertain how to present my message today — how exactly to say what I wanted to convey. So, I did what I have often done for years. I turned to the DI for help. I asked two members of the politicization task force each to give me a draft of what they thought I should say, and I asked them to choose two analysts — unknown to me — to do the same.. My remarks today are an amalgam of those four drafts and my own views. Though many of the words today originally were not mine, I believe wholeheartedly in what they express. The sentiments, the views, are mine if not every word. Those who helped me know who they are, and I thank them.

Let me conclude then by simply reiterating that the absolute integrity of our analysis is the most important of the core values of the Central Intelligence Agency. Policymakers, the Congress, and the American people must know that our views — right or wrong — represent our best and most objective possible effort to describe the threats and opportunities facing the United States. They must know our assessments are the product of the highest quality and the most honest intelligence analysis available anywhere in the world. Thank you.

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Historical Document
Posted: May 08, 2007 08:48 AM
Last Updated: Aug 04, 2011 12:49 PM