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The Impact of the Information Revolution on Policymakers’ Use of Intelligence Analysis

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Publication Date: October 2004

Publisher(s): Pardee Rand Graduate School

Author(s): Lorne Tietelbaum

Topic: Government (Foreign relations)

Type: Report


This dissertation compares how policymakers have traditionally used intelligence with how they are using it today, examining the effects that new technology and open sources of information, such as the World Wide Web, are having on how the policy community uses intelligence. The author examines three foreign policy cases from the late 1950s and early 1960s to establish how the traditional intelligence-policy relationship evolved. He then describes three modern foreign policy cases and analyzes how policymakers’ use of intelligence to support the policymaking process has changed. He concludes that the intelligence community has tried to adapt to the information revolution with the adoption of a network named Intelink but has not fully supported this network as a means for disseminating intelligence to policymakers, nor have policymakers adopted it. Internet and web-based sources of analysis have not become major contributors to the policymaking process. Overall, policymakers still find intelligence analysis useful for supporting the policymaking process, especially when it is conveyed through a one-on-one intelligence briefing, but for situations that require the most timely information, policymakers often rely on the telephone to call someone for information, and more and more are relying on CNN.