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Intelligence and Policy Making for the 21st Century

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Intelligence and Policy Making for the 21st Century: A Case-study of the Benghazi Attacks and the Relationship Between Policy Makers and the Intelligence Community

Joe Harris

Introduction

The relationship between the intelligence community (IC) and policymakers has been a complex one.  Good intelligence is arguably the backbone of good and proper policymaking and exists principally in the United States to serve the executive authority[i]; it is the work of intelligence that guides the policymaker down the road to just and reasonable policy.  On the other hand, intelligence relies on the policymaker to provide it with direction and the appropriate intelligence questions/requirements needed in order to produce actionable intelligence that assists the policymaker.  However, that said, the relationship is a symbiotic one in which a failure on one part is a failure of the entire system. 

The result, all too often, of this is that failed policy decisions are blamed on poor intelligence.  The bureaucratic politics and organizational dynamics of the policymaker play a major role in how decisions are made and thus, how intelligence is used to support those decisions.  In addition, the executive authority has final say over what intelligence is used, how it is used, and to a large degree, how it is disseminated.  Furthermore because the executive authority is primarily a politically motivated animal with concerns of vote retention and the appeasement of its electorate concerns of objectivity and integrity can be pushed aside in favor of political gain.  However, a thorough investigation of this relationship may provide that the true failure is not one of poor intelligence but one of policymaker bias, bureaucratic politics, organizational structures, and information processing errors. 

This naturally leads one to ask: does policymaker bias effectively negate good intelligence assessments and lead to failure that causes crisis?  For the purpose of this research paper the author will zero in one specific event, the 2012 Benghazi attacks, and seek to the answer the following research question: What were the biases present in the policy making community before and immediately after the 2012 Benghazi terrorist attacks and how did they affect the intelligence process?  The paper will then attempt to answer the follow-up research question of: How can these biases and information processing errors of the policymaking community be properly mitigated by the intelligence community?

Numerous policy failures can be used as case study examples to explore this thesis stretching as far back as WWII.  However, by doing so the author believes this would constitute a severe injustice to the gains obtained through such things as the Foreign Intelligence and Surveillance Act[ii], the PATRIOT ACT[iii], the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act[iv], and the Protect America Act of 2007[v].  Post-mortem analysis of policymaker/intelligence community failures cannot continue to live in the past without taking into account the changes that preceded them.  To gain a more clear understanding of where failures still occur and explore methodologies to correct them requires analyzing the most recent events in context with current events, policy, and legislation.  Therefore, a more recent and more relevant event was chosen in the 2012 terrorist attacks on the U.S. Special Mission compound in Benghazi, Libya.  It is hoped that this paper will provide one of the first academic attempts at this and provide a foundation for further study, debate, and exploration.

Literature Review

For the purpose of this paper it was necessary for the author to seek out literature describing bias as it relates to the policymaking process, literature describing bias in the intelligence process, and literature relating to the organizational structure of the U.S. government.  In focusing in on the 2012 Benghazi attacks, it also became important to seek out literature relating to those attacks and the ongoing investigations into their aftermath.

Literature surrounding the many different biases and their effects on decision-making abounds.  Numerous studies have been conducted and articles posted about the psychology of the policymaker and how his/her decisions are made.  At the same time, much has been written on proper intelligence analysis and conduct.  Again, numerous studies have been conducted and articles written espousing the evils of bias and how best to overcome them in the intelligence community.  This made gathering evidence and material somewhat easy and even, to a point, overbearing in that so much of it is present.  Where the gap seems to exist, however, is in how to marry the two communities together and address how the IC should mitigate policymaker bias, while at the same time maintaining its integrity and objectionability.

A review of the literature therefore should begin with that involving policymakers and international relations.  Schafer and Young[vi] provide a good stepping-off point in their discussion about the role of cognition in international relations.  The fundamental point made in their argument is that power and interest (fundamental concepts of international relations) are cognitive in nature and flow from the individual, not the organization[vii].  It is the individual leader with his/her own personal cognitions, beliefs, past, and experiences that directs the flow of interstate relations.  By applying a mixture of operational code analysis, cognitive mapping, image theory, conceptual complexity, and automatic content analysis it becomes possible to assess the “madness” of an international leader’s actions[viii].  Schafer and Young provide a well-written article that backs up their thesis and provides a certain amount of insight into how one person’s individual cognition can affect affairs of the state.  Where they falter in providing a true understanding of the complexities of international affairs and the intelligence that guides them is by failing to take into account the influence of the full bureaucratic spectrum and the influences provided by other top-level state leaders.

However, by including the work of those such as Welch[ix] into the equation we can begin to appreciate the complexities that bureaucratic politics and the organizational processes of individual administrations play on international affairs.  “The Organizational Process and Bureaucratic Politics Paradigms: Retrospect and Prospect[x] examines Allison’s[xi] work that combined the rational actor (Allison’s “Model I”), the organizational process (Model II), and governmental politics model (Model III).  Welch extrapolates that, while the initial paradigm of the rational actor still appears to be the most useful, there “are strong prima facie grounds to believe that some paradigm concentrating the analyst’s attention on organizational characteristics or processes other than those on which Models II and III focus might yield significant analytical gains”[xii].  Therefore, the importance of the organizational process, or the bureaucracy, cannot be ruled out as having a level of impact on the decision-making of the individual rational actor.  Due to the scope of Welch’s work, though, he only covers the relationship between the decision maker and his/her advisors and not the workings of the agencies under them.

Another perspective to bureaucratic politics and organizational processes can be found in the work of Schafer and Crichlow in their article, “Groupthink Versus High-Quality Decision Making in International Relations[xiii].  Here the interactions of the group as well as the individual leader are analyzed using several case studies involving U.S. international relations and policymaking.  A wonderful discussion of group dynamics, organizational processes, personal psychologies, and bureaucratic politics dissects U.S. policy decisions and compares the groupthink phenomenon with high-quality decision making.  Another huge plus for this research is the fact that many of the policy decisions dissected are recent events covering the administrations of Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan, and both Bush’s.  This helps to provide more recency as we explore the relationships between administrations and their intelligence apparatuses. 

Blindside: How to Anticipate Forcing Events and Wild Cards in Global Politics[xiv] begins to bring the literature closer to analyzing that relationship.  Specifically the chapters contributed by Richard Posner (Chapter 2: Thinking About Catastrophe) and Bruce Berkowitz (Chapter 4: U.S. Intelligence Estimates of the Soviet Collapse: Reality and Perception) speak to this difficult relationship.  Posner provides a thorough discussion about low-probability/high-impact (LPHI) events (e.g. asteroid strikes, tactical nuclear terrorist attacks, etc.) and how decision-makers form their policies around them.  The connection with the IC comes in here in that man-made LPHI events and their probabilities are the strict purview of the intelligence community thereby making it important to understand how the IC and the policymaker interact.  Berkowitz analyzes the fall of the Soviet Union and makes a rather convincing case that the IC was truly on top of its game and well aware of the impending collapse.  It was the policymakers’ own cognitive biases and information processing errors that prevented them from truly understanding the intelligence brought before them.  The gaps remain in that none of the works delve further into that relationship, research the problems, nor provide suggestions for better interactions.

Numerous works exist covering the importance of maintaining objectivity and mitigating bias[xv] within the intelligence community.  However, very little research has been done into how the IC can maintain its objectivity and freedom from politicization while still being convincing enough to overcome the biases of the policymakers they serve.

In order for the intelligence community to provide an objectionable, timely, and accurate product there needs to be a systematic and proven methodology to its work.  Conducting research and analysis in the intelligence world is slightly different than in much of academia in that information may not be available, may be classified/compartmentalized, or may be purposely denied and/or changed in an effort to deceive[xvi].  By providing structure to the research and analysis process, the IC can ensure that is products remain free from partisan political influences, objective, and accurate.  Clauser[xvii] provides a cornerstone work in this area.  Clauser, however, focuses on the analyst and the organization of the intelligence community and does not take into account the relationship with its masters (the executive authority).

Ford[xviii] provides a very simple, yet thorough, introduction to the intelligence community in his work “Introduction to Intelligence: A Synthesis of Public Domain Sources”.  Providing a brief overview of history and a summary of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act lays the foundation for his book.  The true strength in Ford’s work for this research is the roughly 90 pages he dedicates to the relationship between the IC and the Congress.  The increase in intelligence briefings and product dissemination to the lawmakers of the country has grown tremendously since the 1980s[xix].  More and more reliance is being placed on intelligence as an integral part of the lawmaking process as can be seen from the hundreds of briefings the IC provides the Congress every year.  While Ford does a superb job in defining the role the IC should play with the Congress and discussing the need for a more full intelligence disclosure with them he fails to speak to the relationship between the IC and the executive.  That being said there are several valuable kernels of insight to be gotten from Ford’s discussion.  Many of the same principles applied to the Congress can also be applied to the relationship with the President and his cabinet.

Another valuable work to lay the groundwork for exploring these relationships comes in “Communicating with Intelligence: Writing and Briefing in the Intelligence and National Security Communities”[xx].  In this work, Major brings the analytic community back to its basic roots and discusses the finer points of clear and concise communication.  After all, if we hope to be able to convince the executive that certain analyses are accurate and pertain to policy it must be of utmost importance how that information is relayed.  As Herbert Meyer points out in his Foreword to this work, “To succeed as an intelligence officer you must do two things.  First, you have to be right (…).  Second, you must deliver your projections (…) clearly enough so they can grasp what lies before them”[xxi].  Reviewing these basics should be one of the first steps in analyzing how the relationship between the executive and IC has apparently faltered.

Finally, the literature review must include source information dealing with the case study that will help to explore the thesis.  However, locating peer-reviewed sources for this case was near impossible due to the event’s recency.  Locating sources for this case was also stymied by the fact that much of the inner workings of the executive and cabinet level officials here are still classified.  That being said, open-source resources were abundant and should provide a sufficient level of insight into the case to allow it to be studied.

Perhaps the best place to begin is with a background of the entire incident.  Such a background was provided in “Under Fire: The Untold Story of the Attack in Benghazi[xxii].  Although Burton and Katz write the book with a certain amount of Hollywood flair and an eye for the action reader they still provide a great review of the events before, during, and after the attack.  Furthermore, it is evident that they did an enormous amount of homework during this work that included numerous interviews of people directly involved in the incident.  This coupled with the insight they provide into U.S. State Department makes this book an integral foundational piece to understanding the attacks that fateful night halfway around the world.  While Burton and Katz did a fabulous job recounting the attacks they, sadly, failed to continue their investigation into the post-mortem investigations and public criticism that followed.

For that insight the literature turns to 2013 Interim Progress Report for the U.S. House of Representatives[xxiii].  Taking into account the report was written for the members of the House Republican Conference it is necessary to recognize the potential for partisan politics and, hence, bias is high; especially in the atmosphere following the attacks and Congressional investigations that followed.  However, the report does provide some interesting insight into the actions taken by officials in the executive in the immediate aftermath of the attacks.  Specifically the report zeroes in on the reduction of security levels prior to the attacks, even though Diplomatic Security (DS) agents and the ambassador had made numerous requests for higher security, the alteration of the IC provided talking points after the attacks, and the allegation that those alterations were made for purely political gain.  Central to this investigation are the numerous emails cited throughout the report that provide the context around the why for which the talking points were changed.  The report is well written and done so in an environment of policy considerations and decision making that makes it a necessary source for this paper.

Providing further evidence into the aftermath of the attacks and policymaker attitudes comes from the independent review board[xxiv] sanctioned by the State Department to investigate the incident.  This investigation was sanctioned as an independent review of policies and actions taken by the State Department that led to the attacks.  While the investigation focuses on the actions of the State Department itself and not the entire executive authority it does provide some level of insight into the organizational dynamics of the Obama Administration and its decision-making process.  The report highlights some of the administrative failures to provide security to the Special Mission that, from which, inferences can be made as to how the Department reacted to current intelligence being provided it.  There have been several allegations, mainly from Republican politicians, however that the report is not as “independent” as it should have been in light of the fact that certain high-level officials (namely Secretary Clinton) were not interviewed nor made part of the report.  Even with this allegation the report still provides a somewhat non-biased account of policymaking and decisional processes.

Another interesting piece of evidence surfaces in the statement provided by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) Public Affairs office[xxv] in which the IC appears to defend itself from the allegations that faulty intelligence was to blame for the attacks.  This statement is important in its rarity that IC agencies do not normally make public statements contrary to the party-line of the sitting administration.  The report also corroborates other open-source reports from the U.S. media that intelligence was not to blame for this attack.  This then can be extrapolated to identify some of the biases present on the side of the policymakers and further the thesis of this paper for it is rare that researchers have the luxury of personally interviewing the rational actor of IR themselves.

Further sources for this paper include the numerous open-source documents from news media outlets covering the ongoing investigations.  While these sources naturally contain a certain amount of spin and bias they do help to shed light on public opinion and the overall perception of the events.  Investigation into allegations that previous jihadist rallies provided warning[xxvi] and investigative reports into the Accountability Review Board (ARB) report[xxvii] all provide tertiary source information that further validates, corroborates, and helps identify policymaker cognitive errors that can be explored.  Furthermore, intelligence reports citing the past IED attacks on intelligence compounds[xxviii] in Libya help provide that intelligence did exist and was (or should have been) known to decision makers.

Methodology

The framework of this research paper focused on identifying the policymaker biases in the Benghazi incident and applying consistency theory to them.  Consistency theory argues that actors will attempt to maintain consistency in their cognitive processes and strive to maintain that consistency by any number of ways[xxix].  The desire to see one’s environment and the people and actions in it coupled with one’s feelings about that environment as coherent drives decision-making[xxx].  When actions or people within that environment then become incoherent it becomes necessary to attempt to make them coherent once again.  Bolstering, or selective exposure to information[xxxi], leads decision makers to neutralize dissonant information by “resorting to a complex battery of belief-system defenses that (…) make learning from history a slow process”[xxxii].  Given that political actors charged with making policy and conducting international affairs are highly educated professionals with little time to concentrate on any one specific issue it stands to reason that they are more prone to fall victim to these biases.  Furthermore, in the highly charged political environment in which they operate, this bolstering and then defending leads to a groupthink environment in which bolstering is reinforced. 

Another theory the author will explore involves high-risk low-probability theory.  High-risk low-probability argues that decision makers often justify failure to act on certain crises prevention methods due to the perceived low probability that the crisis will actually occur[xxxiii].  Even when confronted with evidence (i.e. intelligence) that the crisis is inevitable at some point in the future it is common for policymakers to evaluate the “future” based on their specific term in office and how likely that event is to occur within in their own tenure.  When the potential crisis is seen as “low-probability” within that window it is much more likely to get pushed off to the side in favor of other crises perceived to be imminent.  Again, the author will take into account the nature of American politics and the fact that American policymakers are so heaped with responsibilities that high-risk low-probability is a natural side effect of consistency theory.

The methodology used for this research paper will incorporate the Benghazi attacks as a theory testing case study to analyze the biases and information processing errors that existed.  The dependent variable of the study will be the IC mitigation of policymaker bias and information processing errors with the independent variables being made up of the biases and high-risk low-probability phenomenon affecting policymaker decisions coupled with intelligence analysis processes and final intelligence production.  The emphasis of the research will not focus on the dependent variable so much.  Rather on the independent variables and how they shaped the outcome of this particular case.  After all, cognitive processes and bias will be different with each individual case and the combination of differing biases can be as infinite as the personalities of those involved.  This makes focusing on the independent variables much more noteworthy than the outcome; only by understanding this can the IC truly hope to mitigate them. 

Analysis of the event will be conducted by breaking the crisis down into three manageable parts: pre-crisis, during crisis, and post-crisis.  Variables will be identified for each part and the concepts of consistency theory applied to identify the biases present and their effects on the intelligence production process.  Second, those variables will be further broken down into dependent and independent ones in order to search for the relationship between the parts.  The next step will be to match specific biases with specific events in the crisis-management process made by the policy making community.  By breaking down the evidence available and categorizing the biases of the policymaker it should be easier to offer mitigation practices that will help prevent future failures.  Identification of patterns will further highlight and help this process.  By answering these questions it should be possible to identify specific actions or procedures the IC as a whole can take to steer policymaking while remaining objective and free from undue political influence.

Limitations to the study include the fact that this incident is relatively fresh (happening only one year ago) and much of the information surrounding the specifics of the attacks remains either classified or still under investigation.  Furthermore, due to the freshness of the event, peer-reviewed material and in-depth post-mortems are few and far between.  Finally it will be impossible to conduct interviews of any kind with the policy makers involved in this incident thus making the narrowing down of bias a matter of inference.  This, in turn, makes the answers to the question-set heavily dependent upon inference.  However, enough material exists to provide a solid foundation for the analysis of policymaker bias and its effects on intelligence production making this dependence easily articulable.  For this reason, the results of this analysis will be more qualitative than quantitative

Analysis and Findings

With many of the events surrounding the 2012 Benghazi attacks still under investigation or classified, analysis of the events was driven by media articles, Congressional investigative reports and correspondence, and a documentary action novel written by a former Diplomatic Security Services (DSS) officer.  A close examination of the available media, while differing in its political spin, does lay bare certain events that all sources accept as true and provided the basis for this analysis.

The crisis was broken into three different phases for this analysis which consisted of “Pre-Crisis”, “During”, and “Post-Crisis” (See Table 1).  The three different phases were then broken into 10 different variables (three in the “Pre-Crisis” category, three in the “During” category, and four in the “Post-Crisis” category) from which the policy-maker biases were identified (See Table 2).  These biases, now identified, were compared against the intelligence reporting surrounding the crisis and current analytic practices of the community in order to identify whether or not the IC could properly mitigate them. 

After analysis of the evidence it was determined that mitigating steps by the IC were near impossible given the relationship it has with the executive authority and the mission it is mandated to accomplish; provide actionable, timely, and accurate intelligence to guide policy making decisions.  For this reason, focus shifted to a more government-wide solution that would allow the intelligence community to provide a further check and balance to governmental affairs.  The following in-depth analysis will show that what is needed is some sort of Inspector General (IG) or an organization similar to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) that provides the IC with a voice to address harmful political practices that negatively affect national security and public trust.

“Pre-Crisis” Phase

The “Pre-Crisis” phase can best be described as one of a perceived balance in the eyes of the executive policy-makers.  This may be more so than normal due to the fact that the sitting Administration was in the middle of a tense Presidential re-election campaign.  Because of the domestic re-election campaign it would be more important for the sitting Administration to maintain a sense of consistency and normalcy.  After all, it should not be forgotten that who fills those positions in the top leadership circles that presided over the Benghazi incident are appointees of the President.  Therefore, not only is the continued reign of the president on the line, but so are the numerous cabinet level officials that manage the nation and are responsible for crisis-leadership.  Therefore, a sense of normalcy and consistency becomes important for political reasons; especially for an Administration with a questionable foreign policy history.

In the case of Benghazi numerous pieces of evidence existed to guide decision-makers down the path of realization that the security environment was tenuous at best[xxxiv].  While it is not the purpose of this paper to regurgitate previously reported facts and circumstances, it does become necessary to provide a background from which the analysis was made.

On June 7th and 8th, 2012 IC analysts documented an al-Qaida pep-rally in Benghazi’s Al-Tahir Square in which approximately 300 armed men gathered flying the black flag of al-Qaida[xxxv], June 11th, 2012 an armed group of terrorists attacked British diplomatic officials in Benghazi[xxxvi], intelligence reports described armed militias roaming and operating freely[xxxvii], and the U.S. State Department advised Americans against traveling to Libya, citing as one of the reasons, “political violence in the form of assassinations and vehicle bombs has increased in both Benghazi and Tripoli.”[xxxviii]  Other reports were available as well, such as a report by the Irregular Warfare Support Program of the Pentagon’s Combating Terrorism Technical Support Office that predicted increased selective terrorism by al-Qaida in Libya and a report from the Congressional Research Service in August 2012 describing Libya’s security situation as deteriorating[xxxix].  In fact the situation had deteriorated so much that the British closed its Benghazi mission just days after the failed assassination attempt on Ambassador Dominic Asquith[xl].

Inconsistent information can be ignored or distorted in order to provide an appearance of consistency with attitudes and cognitive processes[xli].  Inconsistent information is then compartmentalized allowing people (policy-makers) to refuse to see their actions as serious and sets the stage for bolstering[xlii].  In this case, the knowledge of a high-threat environment and inadequate physical security protocols in Benghazi was inconsistent with the then-current desired domestic view of an Administration in control of foreign policy and able to concentrate on domestic issues (dependent variable).  This was especially true in light that Libya was widely seen as a foreign policy success.  The systematic withdrawal of security assets and the denial to provide replacements (independent variables) then became acts of compartmentalization and bolstering, providing the cognitive thought processing error that led in part to the crisis.

The intelligence community provided ample warning that threats existed and these have been well documented.  Other Western countries had also recognized the growing threat environment and had begun taking action to mitigate it (e.g. the British pulling out of Benghazi in June of 2012).  All of these warning indicators were readily available to USG officials.  “Pre-Crisis” it would appear the U.S. Government (USG) had ample evidence available to conclude that the security environment in Libya was rapidly waning.      

It is important to note here that it is not the IC’s job to provide concrete intelligence stating date, time, and nature of any pending threat/attack (nor is it reasonable to expect).  The purpose of “warning” intelligence is to report periodically (as often as necessary) on indications that a hostile group is preparing or planning for some new action[xliii]; according to the evidence available, it would appear the U.S. intelligence community succeeded.  This is further evidenced by the fact that a CIA post was in place in Benghazi at the time and actively reporting on the activities of the various groups and militias[xliv].  At this point the IC had done all it could to adequately advise the USG of the situation on the ground in Benghazi.  Taking into account the intelligence function of providing intelligence to guide decision making therefore, the effects of compartmentalization and bolstering were minimal.

“During” Phase

During the crisis three independent variables were recognized as having an effect on the leadership of the event: 1) lack of appropriate response authorizations, 2) a micro-managing effect; and 3) an over-reliance on technological tactical intelligence.  The dependent variable lies within the same variable as the “Pre-Crisis” phase; the mentality and cognitive errors that kept the decision-makers from acting in a timely and effective manner.  However, in this case the dependent variable becomes the alert status itself because the continued failure to recognize the threat led to an inappropriate alert status being declared.  Therefore, the posture of both the State and Defense Departments was not in accordance with the reality on the ground.  Due to the cognitive errors that affected the “Pre-Crisis” phase it becomes a natural and predictable outcome to have a less than optimal alert status in place. 

Crisis management leadership has recently been a heavily researched topic[xlv].  One unescapable truth about crises and crisis management, it has been learned, is the rapidity with which they evolve[xlvi] and the forced immediate dependence the leadership has to its existing processes[xlvii].  A comparison of the crisis management and leadership of President George W. Bush during 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina provides an excellent (and recent) example of this.  During the 9/11 crisis President Bush took decisive action and was assisted by a well-educated and experienced cabinet that assisted him in successfully managing the incident whereas during the Katrina crisis his cabinet make-up differed and his inexperience with domestic social disasters made him look incompetent and uncaring[xlviii]

Furthermore, the political ideology around low-probability high-impact events creates a structure in which tough decisions must be made in crisis management.  As the number of catastrophes possible has gotten bigger the number of those that cannot be averted has gotten smaller[xlix].  This causes leaders to have to make decisions on whether or not to expend resources that could be utilized elsewhere; there is no question that any idea of an attack on U.S. interests in the Middle East falls into that category.

The same principles are true in Benghazi.  Due to the cognitive processing errors already identified in the “Pre-Crisis” phase, the crisis management leadership found itself at an extreme disadvantage and caught in a game of “catch-up” rather being able to be proactive and provide effective leadership.  The idea that one policy that contributes to the value of foreign policy in one part of the area also contributes to several other aims led decision makers to be ignorant of the real situation.  It can be inferred then that this failure to make value trade-offs caused the leadership to view the standing alert status and response protocols as effective which in turn allowed them to get blindsided by the reality that they were not.

As the crisis rapidly unfolded decision-makers found themselves behind the “8-ball” in effective and mitigating decisions.  Those that could be made (and were considered) could not have possibly provided the intended relief.  For example, the U.S. African Command (AFRICOM)[l] had the appropriate resources to handle the ongoing crisis (e.g. U.S. Marine Corps Fleet Antiterrorism Security Teams (FAST), AC-130 gunships, and SpecOPS operators) but the problem was one of logistics[li].  By the time assets could have been deployed the crisis would have been (and was) long over.

The rapidity of the evolution of the crisis and the extremely violent and rapidly changing environment of the crisis makes any criticism of bias seem unfair.  However, the avoidance of value trade-offs by the executive made any attempts to mitigate the crisis both impossible and “too little, too late”.  Tactical real-time intelligence during the attacks was provided by an AFRICOM unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) diverted from another mission[lii] and the communications from both the Benghazi Special Mission and Embassy Tripoli.  However with the low threat alert status decisions were forced to permeate towards the top and required both Commanding General and Director level approval.  Factors such as foreign relations, international law, and Constitutional law had to be taken into account before resources could be deployed.  Intelligence components and decision makers did the best they could under the circumstances but their hands were effectively tied due to the low alert status and the micro-managing effect this had on decision making.

“Post-Crisis” Phase

As Boin, t’Hart, and McConnell, et al.[liii] point out it is the ‘crisis after the crisis’ that captivates society and this has again proven to be true with Benghazi.  As the aftermath of the crisis unfolded and became much worse politically, so did the cognitive biases that affected it.  In analyzing the ensuing blame-game following Benghazi four variables were noted from which to detect bias (see Table 2).  Interestingly these four variables can be analyzed through the two lenses of post-crisis blame games (the extent to which blame for crisis mismanagement is attributed to leaders/government and the political astuteness of blame game management behaviors during and after crisis)[liv] and help identify the biases present.  The research in this paper followed the path already blazed by Boin, t’ Hart, et al.[lv] and analyzed these variables through the political challenges that emerge after a crisis has occurred: Facing Inquiries, Dealing with Public Criticism, and Coping with Political Verdicts.  The analysis then goes one step further by applying the “staged retreat” theory: 1) Denial of the problem, 2) Acceptance of the problem but denial of responsibility, and 3) acceptance of both the problem and responsibility.  By looking at the variables through these political challenges and then applying the “staged retreat” theory it is possible to see the steps the Obama Administration took to manage the crisis and how this manipulated and subverted the intelligence community’s efforts to provide objective, actionable, and political-bias free products.

Denying the Problem

Almost immediately after news of the crisis broke around the world the Obama Administration released statements that an anti-Islamic video posted to YouTube had incited a “spontaneous” demonstration at the Benghazi compound that turned deadly.  These statements were perpetuated even though the Administration had information that the attacks were conducted by al-Qaida affiliates and that no demonstration was ever reported at or near the Benghazi compound[lvi].  In a classic example of bolstering, the rhetoric continued and was pushed by President Obama, Secretary of State Clinton, White House Press Secretary Carney, and U.S. United Nations Ambassador Rice.  A further attempt to solidify denial of the problem came in the form of a US$70,000 advertisement campaign in Pakistan by both President Obama and Secretary Clinton disavowing the video within days of the attacks[lvii].  Even after statements of Libyan National Congress President Mohamad Magarif calling the attacks “criminal and pre-planned”[lviii] and those of a senior U.S. official in Libya informing the Administration there never was any demonstration in Benghazi the Obama Administration continued to deny the problem.  Not until September 19th, 2012 did the Administration accept the problem after National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) Director Matt Olsen testified before the U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee that the events in Benghazi had been a “terrorist attack on our embassy”[lix]

A further example of problem denial came in the drafted ‘talking points’ produced in an interagency process focused on protecting the reputation and credibility of both the State Department and the U.S. Government[lx].  Any references to al-Qaida, previous attacks, and/or the deteriorated security situation in Benghazi made by the IC generated points were removed.  Specifically, the initial ‘talking points’, created for the House Intelligence Committee by the CIA, included references to: previous notifications to the Cairo embassy reporting social media encouragement of jihadist attacks to the embassy; indications that Islamic extremists had participated in the Benghazi events; potential links to Ansar al-Sharia[lxi]; links to CIA-produced assessments of extremists linked to al-Qaida in eastern Libya; and information of five previous attacks on foreign interests in Benghazi since April 2012[lxii].  Later email evidence would show these points were explicitly dismissed and removed from any official Administration rhetoric.

A strong environment of bolstering coupled with a groupthink mentality of the Obama Administration made for strong biases in the initial stages of the crisis aftermath.  It should not be forgotten that while this crisis was unfolding this same Administration was engaged in a domestic political battle for continued reign in the presidency.  Whether or not this factor played a role in the continued attempts to deny the problem and downplay the information is hardly one that needs to be asked.  Politicization of events in order to shed a more favorable light on the embattled politician is cart and horse to current democratic governments.  Furthermore, the removal of Qadaffi and the strides towards democracy in Libya were widely seen as Obama Administration successes.

Accepting the Problem, Denying Responsibility

As the Administration begins reaching the point in which it must “accept the problem” tactics begin to change.  Acceptance of al-Qaida affiliated attackers leads to altering strategy from which to minimize political damage from the inquiries and mitigate the growing public criticism.  Globalization and increased technology that is available to the masses has made it much more difficult for state actors to find plausible deniability, at least in the long run.  The attacks on Benghazi were an international incident that caught the eye and the attention of the entire world.  This was not helped by the fact that Libya was already under an international microscope due to the increased extremism and associated violence.  The Administration’s inability to recognize this exacerbated their deficiencies in managing this particular crisis and caused a snowball effect.

As the din of ongoing inquiries and growing public criticism reaches a crescendo, internal memos and email correspondence is revealed making it no longer possible for the Administration to deny the problem.  In what can best be described as dissonance the Administration begins to accept the attacks were perpetrated by terrorist but start shifting blame to both the IC and an alleged attempt to protect classified information and an FBI investigation[lxiii].  While it is noteworthy that the claim of protecting classified information and an ongoing FBI investigation was made by then Acting Director of the CIA Michael Morrell, it should also be noted that the Director of the CIA is nominated by the President making him, arguably, a member of the Administration.  Also by being the ‘acting” director, Morrell finds himself in a position even more dependent upon towing the party line.  Furthermore, a review of the internal emails showed no concerns about protecting classified information and the FBI version of ‘talking points’ was much more open with significant information about previous threats and attacks[lxiv].  Continued groupthink, bolstering, and now dissonance provide several roadblocks for the effective use of objective and bias-free intelligence products.\

Continued advancement at such high levels of government is more dependent upon political maneuvering than on technical and professional skill.  This solidifies the groupthink mentality and brings more high-level players into the game.  Especially with so many high-level Administration members publicly involved it is more important politically to attempt to shift blame away from the executive and towards a more subordinate actor.  After all, a sitting Administration engaged in a re-election battle has no desire for its entire regime to appear incompetent.

Accepting the Problem, Accepting Responsibility

Through the dialogue of ongoing investigations and Congressional inquiries the Obama Administration has come to the point that full acceptance of the problem is inevitable.  Technology and the effects of globalization have helped to reveal more evidence about the crisis and how it was managed.  This information has made its way into the public realm and stoked the fires of public criticism which, in turn, has forced the Administration to accept it.  Possibly the most telling step has been the decision to give jurisdiction over the investigation to the FBI.  However, this decision itself is not without criticism in that the FBI is not as equipped to handle international investigations on foreign soil as other U.S. agencies might be.  Continued bolstering by the Obama Administration continues to stagnate the investigation and make it difficult for reform.  Again, the proof of this comes from the continued cries by the Congress for accountability and the apparent lack of it by the executive.  Even after Secretary Clinton stepped down and was replaced by Secretary Kerry, no one involved or mentioned in the IRB has been disciplined[lxv]

However, at this point of the idea of “staged retreat” theory hits a snag.  To date the Obama Administration has yet to accept full responsibility for the crisis and its aftermath.  This may be due to the fact that a little more than a year has passed since the incident and the investigations are ongoing; only time will tell.  Furthermore, it may be difficult to calculate how any political verdicts have been coped with due to the freshness of the events.  This would provide an interesting avenue of further inquiry for future work.

One thing is clear from the analysis, however.  The intelligence that could have prevented and/or mitigated the crisis was readily available and actionable to policy makers.  The biases and cognitive errors displayed by decision-makers hampered and, in some cases, steamrolled intelligence.

Conclusion

The purpose of this research was to analyze a recent policy failure (the 2012 Benghazi attacks), identify the cognitive processes at play within the policy-making community, and identify how the IC could mitigate them.  Analysis of the events prior to, during, and immediately after revealed the intelligence provided was accurate and on-target but was manipulated and subverted by the policy-making community.  It is clear that objectivity and freeness from politicization is not enough.  Cognitive processing errors have negative effects on both the intelligence community and national security of the nation.  While the IC does an admirable job in maintaining objectivity and providing well-researched products for policy-makers to draw information from, it all too often finds itself as the scapegoat for failed policies and programs.  The IC must have an outlet in which it can provide objective feedback free from executive retaliation. 

These biases and actions of the executive demonstrate possibly the worst violation of the relationship between the IC and the executive.  On one hand, it is understood the IC’s job is to provide the intelligence and the executive’s job to act on it.  However, when intelligence information is blatantly and carelessly used to bolster political positioning it violates the trust necessary between the two.  This not only strains the relationship between master (Executive) and subordinate (IC) but also undermines the very function of intelligence: to provide actionable, timely, and accurate information.  The relationship is further strained during the blame-game that ensues and the intelligence community is blamed for not providing accurate information in the first place.

Recent years have seen many provisions and directives aimed at making the intelligence community less prone to bias and political influence.  Directives from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI)[lxvi] and the Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive[lxvii] have mandated the growing need for objectivity, cohesion of effort, and freedom from political bias “in a manner that respects the civil liberties and privacy of all Americans.”[lxviii]  In order for the intelligence community to provide an objectionable, timely, and accurate product there needs to be a systematic and proven methodology to its work.  Conducting research and analysis in the intelligence world is slightly different from that in much of academia in that information may not be available, may be classified/compartmentalized, or may be purposely denied and/or changed in an effort to deceive[lxix].  By providing structure to the research and analysis process, the IC can ensure that its products remain free from partisan political influences, objective, and accurate.

That is just the first step, however.  As is seen from the research conducted in this paper, even accurate, objective, and timely intelligence may not stop policy makers from allowing their biases to rule their decisions.  Unfortunately, this has the potential to endanger American lives, hamper U.S. foreign policy, and hide governmental operations in what is designed to be an open and transparent democracy.  Therefore, a balance needs to be added to the process that allows the IC a way to call attention to political dishonesty, scapegoating, and potential corruption of the system.

One way to add this balance would be to implement an Inspector General (IG) of sorts within the entire IC.  While this has been employed, on paper, within the Office of the Director of National Intelligence it does not negate any undue pressure or influence subjugated on intelligence personnel by the Executive since the ODNI is an appointee of the President.  It has also not stopped any manipulating or disregard for valid intelligence that does not coincide with policy maker thoughts and/or ideas.  A good example of this can be found in the Independent Review Board (IRB)[lxx] endorsed to investigate any alleged wrongdoing by the State Department.  This IRB was not “independent” in that several key figures were not included or not contacted during the investigation; furthermore, the report stops short of assigning blame or responsibility[lxxi].  As can be seen from the still unfolding investigations of Benghazi the Executive has been able to meet these inquiries with political maneuvering, backstabbing, and stonewalling.  An IG with Congressional authority that resides within the IC would mitigate this tremendously.

This IG would not be agency specific and would be more akin to the Governmental Accountability Office (GAO).  It would not fall under the direction any one intelligence component but directly under the auspice of the bi-partisan Congressional intelligence committees that provide the oversight for both the IC and the Executive.  Formation of such an entity would also force the U.S. to focus on some of the fundamentally needed reforms as identified by Neary[lxxii] (who is in charge, how do we become joint, how do we continue to drive change, and where is integration most needed).  Giving the IC an outlet to identify lapses of decision-makers free from retribution might also negate some of the extremely negative social impacts experienced during leaks such as those of Snowden.  It is plausible that if Snowden’s aim was to bring to light policies that violated our basic ideals of freedom an organization like the one described here would have provided him that while at the same time maintaining a buffer of sorts between the IC and the public and the whistleblower and the executive.  Further investigation into the allegations could then be conducted in a secure environment free from unwarranted public criticism and allow those with knowledge and training on the subjects to perform a truly independent review.

By choosing the 2012 attacks on the Benghazi Special Mission of the State Department the author made a conscious point to choose an event whose recency was not overshadowed by legislative and/or policy changes that have sought to rectify the problem.  It is not this author’s intention to validate whether or not policy changes have worked or not, rather it is to explore how and why this breakdown in the relationship occurred.  Future research should be done to continue the exploration of the relationship between policy maker and IC and how the IC can mitigate policy maker bias.  Furthermore, the research needs to continue with a focus on best practices of intelligence reporting but with an eye for propagating the ideals of a free, open, and transparent democracy.

Table 1: Variables Used to Identify Biases[lxxiii]

Table 2: Identification of Biases

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End Notes

[i] Ford, Patrick J. Introduction to Intelligence: A Synthesis of Public Domain Sources. Electronic pdf. Severna Park, Maryland: Erevno Systems Corporation, 2007. Pp. 154.

[ii] Congress, U.S. "Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act." US Public Law 95-511. 1978, Washington, D.C.: U.S. Congress, October 25, 1978.

[iii] Congress, U.S. "Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism (USA PATRIOT ACT)." H.R. 3162. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Congressional Library, October 24, 2001.

[iv] Congress, U.S. "Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004." Public Law 108-458. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Congressional Library, December 17, 2004.

[v] Addicott, Jeffrey F., and Michael T. McCaul. "The Protect America Act of 2007: A Framework for Improving Intelligence Collection in the War on Terror." Texas Review of Law & Politics 13, no. 1 (n.d.): 44-71.

[vi] Schafer, Mark, and Scott Crichlow. Groupthink Versus High-Quality Decision Making in International Relations. New York, NY: Columbia University Press, 2010.

[vii] Ibid. pp. 64.

[viii] Ibid. pp 64-65.

[ix] Welch, David A. "The Organizational Process and Bureaucratic Politics Paradigms." International Security 17, no. 2 (Fall 1992): 112-146.

[x] Ibid.

[xi] Allison, Graham T. Essence of Decision: Explaining the Cuban Missile Crisis. 2nd. Boston, MA: Pearson, 1971.

[xii] Welch, David A. "The Organizational Process and Bureaucratic Politics Paradigms." International Security 17, no. 2 (Fall 1992): pp 114.

[xiii] Schafer, Mark, and Michael D. Young. "Is There Method in Our Madness? Ways of Assessing Cognition in International Relations." Mershon International Studies Review (Wiley) 42, no. 1 (May 1998): 63 – 96.

[xiv] Fukuyama, Francis, ed. Blindside: How to Anticipate Forcing Events and Wild Cards in Global Politics. Baltimore, MD: Brookings Institution Press, 2007.

[xv] See Negroponte, John D. The National Intelligence Strategy of the United States of America: Transformation Through Integration and Innovation. National Strategy Report, Officer of the Director of National Intelligence, Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government, 2005, 32; Ford, Patrick J. Introduction to Intelligence: A Synthesis of Public Domain Sources. Electronic pdf. Severna Park, Maryland: Erevno Systems Corporation, 2007; Clauser, Jerome. An Introduction to Intelligence Research and Analysis. Edited by Jan Goldman. Lanham, Maryland: The Scarecrow Press, 2008; Major, James S. Communicating with Intelligence: Writing and Briefing in the Intelligence and National Security Communities. Lanham, Maryland: The Scarecrow Press, Inc., 2008; and U.S. Government. A Tradecraft Primer: Structured Analytic Techniques for Improving Intelligence Analysis. Technical Report, Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government, 2009, 40.

[xvi] Clauser, Jerome. An Introduction to Intelligence Research and Analysis. Edited by Jan Goldman. Lanham, Maryland: The Scarecrow Press, 2008.

[xvii] Ibid.

[xviii] Ford, Patrick J. Introduction to Intelligence: A Synthesis of Public Domain Sources. Electronic pdf. Severna Park, Maryland: Erevno Systems Corporation, 2007.

[xix] Ibid.

[xx] Major, James S. Communicating with Intelligence: Writing and Briefing in the Intelligence and National Security Communities. Lanham, Maryland: The Scarecrow Press, Inc., 2008.

[xxi] Ibid. pp xiii.

[xxii] Burton, Fred, and Samuel M. Katz. Under Fire: The Untold Story of the Attack in Benghazi. New York, NY: St. Martin's Press, 2013.

[xxiii] McKeon, Howard P., Ed Royce, Bob Goodlatte, Issa Darrell, and Mike Rogers. Iterim Progress Report for the Members of the House Republican Conference on the Events Surrounding the September 11, 2012 Terrorist Attacks in Benghazi, Libya. Congressional Report, U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Congress, Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government, 2013, 46.

[xxiv] Independent Accountability Review Board for Benghazi. Accountability Review, Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government, 2012.

[xxv] Turner, Shawn. "Statement by the Director of Public Affairs for the Director of National Intelligence, Shawn Turner, on the Intelligence Related to the Terrorist Attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya." Targeted News Service. September 28, 2012. http://search.proquest.com/docview/1081120130?accountid=8289 (accessed November 13, 2013).

[xxvi] Katz, Susan, and Richard Miniter. "Benghazi Intel Warned of Jihad Pep Rally Pre-attack." Investor's Business Daily. November 13, 2013. http://search.proquest.com/docview/1450065418?accountid=8289 (accessed November 13, 2013).

[xxvii] See Labott, Elise. "Report on Benghazi Attack Cites 'Systemic Failures'." CNN U.S. December 19, 2012. http://www.cnn.com/2012/12/18/us/state-benghazi-report/ (accessed November 13, 2013) and Zakaria, Tabassum. "Senate Benghazi Report Faults State Department, Intelligence." The Huffington Post. December 31, 2012. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/31/senate-benghazi-report n 2388334.html (accessed November 13, 2013).

[xxviii] Jane's. "IED Attack Targets Intelligence Building in Libya's Benghazi." Jane's Terrorism Watch Report. August 2, 2012. http://search.proquest.com/docview/1030812568?accountid=8289 (accessed November 13, 2013).

[xxix] Cottam, Martha L, Beth Dietz-Uhler, Elena Mastors, and Thomas Preston. Introduction to Political Psychology. 2nd. New York, NY: Psychology Press, 2010.

[xxx] Ibid.

[xxxi] Ibid.

[xxxii] Tetlock, Philip E. "Theory-Driven Reasoning About Plausible Pasts and Probable Futures in World Politics: Are We Prisoners of Our Preconceptions?" American Journal of Political Science (Midwest Political Science Association) 43, no. 2 (April 1999): 335 – 366.

[xxxiii] Fukuyama, Francis, ed. Blindside: How to Anticipate Forcing Events and Wild Cards in Global Politics. Baltimore, MD: Brookings Institution Press, 2007.

[xxxiv] See Independent Accountability Review Board for Benghazi. Accountability Review, Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government, 2012 for a more detailed list of security threats documented in Benghazi prior to the September 11, 2012 attack.

[xxxv] Katz, Susan, and Richard Miniter. "Benghazi Intel Warned of Jihad Pep Rally Pre-attack." Investor's Business Daily. November 13, 2013. http://search.proquest.com/docview/1450065418?accountid=8289 (accessed November 13, 2013).

[xxxvi] CNN Wire Staff. "British Embassy Vehicle Attacked in Libya." CNN.com. June 12, 2012. http://www.cnn.com/2012/06/11/world/africa/libya-uk-attack/index.html (accessed December 2, 2013).

[xxxvii] McKeon, Howard P., Ed Royce, Bob Goodlatte, Issa Darrell, and Mike Rogers. Iterim Progress Report for the Members of the House Republican Conference on the Events Surrounding the September 11, 2012 Terrorist Attacks in Benghazi, Libya. Congressional Report, U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Congress, Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government, 2013, 46.

[xxxviii] U.S State Department. "Travel Warning." Travel.State.Gov. August 27, 2012. http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/tw/tw_5762.html (accessed December 30, 2013).

[xxxix] Katz, Susan, and Richard Miniter. "Benghazi Intel Warned of Jihad Pep Rally Pre-attack." Investor's Business Daily. November 13, 2013. http://search.proquest.com/docview/1450065418?accountid=8289 (accessed November 13, 2013).

[xl] Ibid.

[xli] Cottam, Martha L, Beth Dietz-Uhler, Elena Mastors, and Thomas Preston. Introduction to Political Psychology. 2nd. New York, NY: Psychology Press, 2010. Pp 42.

[xlii] Ibid. pp 42.

[xliii] Grabo, Cynthia M. Anticipating Surprise: Analysis for Strategic Warning. Washington, D.C.: Joint Military Intelligence College's Center for Strategic Intelligence Research, 2002.

[xliv] Burton, Fred, and Samuel M. Katz. Under Fire: The Untold Story of the Attack in Benghazi. New York, NY: St. Martin's Press, 2013.

[xlv] See Boin, Arjen, and Paul t' Hart. "Public Leadership in Times of Crisis: Mission Impossible?" Public Administration Review 63, no. 5 (September 2003): 544-553; Boin, Arjen, Paul t' Hart, and Allan McConnell. "Towards a Theory of Crisis Exploitation: Political and Policy Impacts of Framing Contests and Blame Games." Journal of European Public Policy 16, no. 1 (2009): 81-106; Brandstrom, Annika, Fredrik Bynander, and Paul 't Hart. "Governing by Looking Back: Historical Analogies and Crisis Management." Public Administration 82, no. 1 (2004): 191-210; Fukuyama, Francis, ed. Blindside: How to Anticipate Forcing Events and Wild Cards in Global Politics. Baltimore, MD: Brookings Institution Press, 2007; Sylvan, Donald A, and Stuart J Thorson. "Ontologies, Problem Represenation, and the Cuban Missile Crisis." December 1992: 709-732; t' Hart, Paul, Liesbet Heyse, and Arjen Boin. "New Trends in Crisis Management Practice and Crisis Management Research: Setting the Agenda." Journal of Contigencies and Crisis Management 9, no. 4 (2001): 181-188; and t' Hart, Paul, Karen Tindall, and Christer Brown. "Success and Failure in Crisis Leadership: Advisory Capacity and Presidential Performance in the 9/11 and Katrina Crises." 2008.

[xlvi] Fukuyama, Francis, ed. Blindside: How to Anticipate Forcing Events and Wild Cards in Global Politics. Baltimore, MD: Brookings Institution Press, 2007.

[xlvii] Boin, Arjen, Paul t' Hart, Allan McConnell, and Thomas Preston. "Leadership Style, Crisis Response, and Blame Management: The Case of Hurricane Katrina." Public Administration 88, no. 3 (September 2010): 706-723.

[xlviii] Ibid.

[xlix] Fukuyama, Francis, ed. Blindside: How to Anticipate Forcing Events and Wild Cards in Global Politics. Baltimore, MD: Brookings Institution Press, 2007.

[l] AFRICOM is the U.S. military regional command responsible for the continent of Africa to exclude Egypt.

[li] Burton, Fred, and Samuel M. Katz. Under Fire: The Untold Story of the Attack in Benghazi. New York, NY: St. Martin's Press, 2013.

[lii] Burton, Fred, and Samuel M. Katz. Under Fire: The Untold Story of the Attack in Benghazi. New York, NY: St. Martin's Press, 2013.

[liii] Boin, Arjen, Paul t' Hart, Allan McConnell, and Thomas Preston. "Leadership Style, Crisis Response, and Blame Management: The Case of Hurricane Katrina." Public Administration 88, no. 3 (September 2010): 706-723.

[liv] Ibid.

[lv] Ibid.

[lvi] McKeon, Howard P., Ed Royce, Bob Goodlatte, Issa Darrell, and Mike Rogers. Iterim Progress Report for the Members of the House Republican Conference on the Events Surrounding the September 11, 2012 Terrorist Attacks in Benghazi, Libya. Congressional Report, U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Congress, Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government, 2013, 46.

[lvii] Ibid.

[lviii] CBS News. ""Face the Nation" Transcripts, September 16, 2012: Libyan Pres. Magariaf, Amb. Rice and Sen. McCain." CBS News Face the Nation. September 16, 2012. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/face-the-nation-transcripts-september-16-2012-libyan-pres-magariaf-amb-rice-and-sen-mccain/ (accessed December 2, 2013).

[lix] Ibid.

[lx] McKeon, Howard P., Ed Royce, Bob Goodlatte, Issa Darrell, and Mike Rogers. Iterim Progress Report for the Members of the House Republican Conference on the Events Surrounding the September 11, 2012 Terrorist Attacks in Benghazi, Libya. Congressional Report, U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Congress, Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government, 2013, 46.

[lxi] Ansar al-Sharia is an Islamist militia group advocating the implementation of strict Sharia Law across Libya and reportedly has ties to al-Qaida.

[lxii] Ibid.

[lxiii] Attkisson, Sharyl. "Who Changed the Benghazi Talking Points?" CBS News. November 28, 2012. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/who-changed-the-benghazi-talking-points/ (accessed December 2, 2013).

[lxiv] McKeon, Howard P., Ed Royce, Bob Goodlatte, Issa Darrell, and Mike Rogers. Iterim Progress Report for the Members of the House Republican Conference on the Events Surrounding the September 11, 2012 Terrorist Attacks in Benghazi, Libya. Congressional Report, U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Congress, Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government, 2013, 46.

[lxv] Federal Information & News Dispatch, Inc. "The Problems & Challenges that Occurred in Benghazi Were Not New and Should Have Been Addressed Prior to the Attack, Ros-Lehtinen says." Congressional Documents and Publications. Lanham: Federal Information & News Dispatch, Inc., 2013.

[lxvi] Negroponte, John D. The National Intelligence Strategy of the United States of America: Transformation Through Integration and Innovation. National Strategy Report, Officer of the Director of National Intelligence, Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government, 2005, 32.

[lxvii] National Counterintelligence Executive. The National Counterintelligence Strategy of the United States of America. Strategic Report, Washington, D.C.: U.S. Goverment, 2009.

[lxviii] Negroponte, John D. The National Intelligence Strategy of the United States of America: Transformation Through Integration and Innovation. National Strategy Report, Officer of the Director of National Intelligence, Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government, 2005, 32.

[lxix] Clauser, Jerome. An Introduction to Intelligence Research and Analysis. Edited by Jan Goldman. Lanham, Maryland: The Scarecrow Press, 2008.

[lxx] Independent Accountability Review Board for Benghazi. Accountability Review, Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government, 2012.

[lxxi] McKeon, Howard P., Ed Royce, Bob Goodlatte, Issa Darrell, and Mike Rogers. Iterim Progress Report for the Members of the House Republican Conference on the Events Surrounding the September 11, 2012 Terrorist Attacks in Benghazi, Libya. Congressional Report, U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Congress, Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government, 2013, 46.

[lxxii] Neary, Patrick C. "Intelligence Reform, 2001 - 2009: Requiescat in Pace." Studies in Intelligence, March 2010.

[lxxiii] The information for this table was taken in part from the following resources: Independent Accountability Review Board for Benghazi. Accountability Review, Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government, 2012.; Labott, Elise. "Report on Benghazi Attack Cites 'Systemic Failures'." CNN U.S. December 19, 2012. http://www.cnn.com/2012/12/18/us/state-benghazi-report/ (accessed November 13, 2013).; McKeon, Howard P., Ed Royce, Bob Goodlatte, Issa Darrell, and Mike Rogers. Iterim Progress Report for the Members of the House Republican Conference on the Events Surrounding the September 11, 2012 Terrorist Attacks in Benghazi, Libya. Congressional Report, U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Congress, Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government, 2013, 46.; "Statement by the Director of Public Affairs for the Director of National Intelligence, Shawn Turner, on the Intelligence Related to the Terrorist Attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya." Targeted News Service. September 28, 2012. http://search.proquest.com/docview/1081120130?accountid=8289 (accessed November 13, 2013).; Scarborough, Rowan. "Emails Reveal How Accuracy was Scrubbed Out of Benghazi 'Talking Points'." The Washington Times. July 16, 2013. http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/jul/16/emails-reveal-how-accuracy-was-scrubbed-out-of-ben/?page=all (accessed December 2, 2013).

 

About the Author(s)

Joe Harris is a graduate student in Intelligence Studies at American Public University.  He has been in law enforcement for over 12 years and continues to serve in Washington State.  He has concentrated his expertise on intelligence, Hispanic criminal street gangs, Latin American culture, and narcotics with an emphasis on their impacts to rural agencies and environments.  His future plans include a doctorate and employment in the IC.

Comments

barnharts

Sun, 11/09/2014 - 6:27am

As a fellow APUS student, I'm disppointed