Title

Evaluation a critical point on the path to intelligence

Document Type

Journal Article

Publisher

Australian Institute of Professional Intelligence Officers

Place of Publication

Woden, ACT

Faculty

Computing, Health and Science

School

School of Computer and Security Science, Centre for Security Research

RAS ID

8626

Comments

This article was originally published as

Corkill, J. (2008). Evaluation a critical point on the path to intelligence.Journal of the Australian Institute of Professional Intelligence Officers, 16(1), 3.

Original article available here

Abstract

It has been suggested that the case for war in Iraq was based on flawed and politicized intelligence processes. Furthermore there is criticism implicit and explicit that analysts failed to effectively evaluate information and sources thereby producing a flawed analytical product. Why is it that in so many situations evaluation is at worst only paid lip service and at best lacking in appropriate intellectual rigour? Is evaluation that hard or is it so poorly understood that analysts pressed for time and inundated with information simply don't bother to implement the process. This paper, based on a review of the literature and discussions with a small group of analysts, looks at the question of evaluation in the context of what does evaluation mean to the analyst? How does the analyst go about evaluating sources and information? And finally what impact does evaluation have on the analytical outcomes? Given intelligence products are generally based on incomplete data sets there always exists a significant margin for error. Poor evaluation has potential to significantly compound that margin. It may therefore be argued that evaluation is the critical juncture from which either good or poor quality intelligence emerges.