Critical Thinking through Writing: Intelligence and Crime Analysis

Critical Thinking through Writing: Intelligence and Crime Analysis


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I have spent over forty years working in intelligence analysis and in the last ten of those years have expanded into teaching crime analysis. There are a few textbooks that touch on one or the other of these analytical styles, but I do not know of any text that draws close parallels between the two, teaches how to do the analysis for both through writing, and dispels some of the myths about intelligence, the Intelligence Community, and intelligence writing. Therefore, I decided to write this book.

Intelligence and crime analysis writing is difficult. But much can be done to better explain how to do these kinds of analyses, and I hope to do just that in the pages of this book. Furthermore, the texts I am familiar with all have one glaring shortcoming: how does one deal with the real world that all intelligence and crime analysts exist in? This book touches on attempts to manipulate intelligence by consumers and producers of intelligence and gives examples of those attempts.

This textbook is not just a book about analysis and writing. Intelligence analysts face a wide number of problems not confronting other professions. For example, all consumers of intelligence have an agenda, and they are looking to get support for their policies, prejudices, or biases from intelligence. Few other professions are subjected to such close scrutiny by the public and the media.

The media too have a political bias. Furthermore, far too few members of the media of to the primary sources---the intelligence reports---as a basis for their reporting. As a result, some of their reporting is based on unsubstantiated information instead of primary sources. Often these primary sources are available but are not checked out. I have discussed the many difficulties all intelligence officers by providing face-real world problems.