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Fixing the Facts: National Security and the Politics of Intelligence (Cornell Studies in Security Affairs) Hardcover – July 7, 2011

ISBN-13: 978-0801448294 ISBN-10: 0801448298 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Series: Cornell Studies in Security Affairs
  • Hardcover: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press; 1 edition (July 7, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801448298
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801448294
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.5 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #674,561 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Intelligence should inform policymakers without pandering to them. In practice, it proves easy to honor either one of these aims but surprisingly hard to accomplish both at once. Joshua Rovner's careful study of the subtle dynamics of this balancing act is a model of intelligent, balanced, and policy-relevant scholarship."—Richard K. Betts, Director, Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies, Columbia University

"If leaders are free to disregard unwelcome intelligence estimates, why would they pressure analysts to alter their reports? Joshua Rovner answers this question by identifying how intelligence can empower officials facing domestic political pressures and constraints. Fixing the Facts advances our theoretical and practical understanding of intelligence politicization by highlighting the politics at the heart of the intelligence-policy nexus."—James J. Wirtz, Dean of the School of International Graduate Studies, Monterey, California

"Fixing the Facts is an insightful exploration of how relations between intelligence officers and policymakers too often go sour. Joshua Rovner convincingly shows that politicization has been a persistent phenomenon and that many of the best-known errors and controversies involving intelligence are rooted in politics and in efforts by leaders to sell their policies to the public."—Paul R. Pillar, Georgetown University, former senior CIA official

"In this rigorous and penetrating examination of the oft-mentioned but virtually opaque mystery of how politicization affects intelligence work, Joshua Rovner accomplishes more—even furnishing a taxonomy of the genus—than anyone in decades. No interested reader or intelligence professional can afford to miss Fixing the Facts."—John Prados, author of How the Cold War Ended

"Does intelligence shape policy, or do policy and politics shape intelligence? Joshua Rovner's careful theorizing and in-depth historical studies provide a comprehensive and systematic analysis of the complex relationships among intelligence, policy, and politics. Fixing the Facts is essential reading for theorists, historians, and the intelligence and policy communities."—Jack S. Levy, Board of Governors' Professor, Rutgers University

About the Author

Joshua Rovner is Associate Professor of Strategy and Policy at the U.S. Naval War College.

More About the Author

Joshua Rovner is the John Goodwin Tower Chair in International Politics and National Security at Southern Methodist University. He is also associate professor of political science and Director of Studies at the SMU Tower Center for Political Studies. Rovner is the author of the multiple-award winning Fixing the Facts: National Security and the Politics of Intelligence (Cornell, 2011), and he writes widely on intelligence, national security, and nuclear weapons. Rovner holds a Ph.D. in political science from MIT.

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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Retired Reader on September 30, 2011
Format: Hardcover
In the U.S., the relationship between strategic intelligence and the formulation of national security policies has been to say the least complex and often confusing. This book provides what has long been needed, an objective and scholarly review of this relationship.

Rovner provides an excellent theoretical background to guide his examination of specific case histories that he has chosen to illustrate the relationships between strategic intelligence and policy. Ideally intelligence analysts should be able to operate without interference to produce strategic intelligence reports that are honest, objective, and supported by the best information available. Again ideally policy makers should be free to challenge such reports. Finally both analysts and policymakers should be able to hold rational discussions over differences in interpretation and conclusions in which the supporting evidence is considered objectively. Unfortunately this ideal is often thwarted by what Rovner calls "the pathologies of intelligence-policy relations." He has identified three such `pathologies': 1) neglect-policy makers ignore intelligence that does not fit their assumptions; 2) politicalization-the most egregious of the pathologies and one that has several different forms; and 3) excessive harmonization - intelligence analysts and policymakers are in such close agreement that they fail to critically scrutinize their conclusions. In the course of his discussion, Rovner also makes an interesting observation about secrecy. Secrecy he notes can be used by intelligence agencies as a source of power and as a means to support dubious analysis. Policymakers can use secrecy to support dubious policy decisions by implying that there classified evidence supporting their conclusions.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By F. Rafiq on September 27, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The author presents several cases that explain his model, but offers no cases in non-democracies where politicization of intelligence can occur. Additional analyses should be done for autocratic and hybrid regimes on intelligence-policy relations function.
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