The Psychological Puzzle: Contributing Factors to the Top-Down Politicization of Intelligence
Keywords: Social Science, Intelligence, Top-Down Politicization
AbstractPolicy and intelligence are intimately intertwined. Policymakers need intelligence to make decisions, while the intelligence community derives significance from its ability to provide policy makers with reliable information. In this symbiotic relationship, it is healthy for intelligence consumers to at times check and direct the work of intelligence producers. However, if undertaken maliciously, this checking mechanism manifests as top-down politicization. Here, leaders use intelligence post facto to legitimize their policies instead of using it to guide them, reversing the rational decision-making process. Certain factors may compel leaders to manipulate intelligence to reflect their policy preferences. This essay demonstrates how three distinct processes of top-down politicization can arise from ambiguous evidence, the psychology of intelligence consumers, and the nature of the leaders’ political positions and responsibilities. It then proceeds to argue that political leaders’ psychology is the most potent source of top-down politicization.
How to Cite
Moretti, R. (2016). The Psychological Puzzle: Contributing Factors to the Top-Down Politicization of Intelligence. Elements, 12(1). https://doi.org/10.6017/eurj.v12i1.9302
Copyright (c) 2016 Rebecca Moretti
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.