The Corner

Time to Fix Intelligence Estimates

An issue that really concerned me when I was on the House Intelligence Committee was the quality of analysis. After the heavily politicized 2007 Iran NIE, many of us in Congress found it hard to take some intelligence analysis at face value.

Fred Fleitz, a former CIA analyst who worked for me as a senior staff member of the Intelligence Committee, penned an excellent op-ed for the Wall Street Journal that discusses this problem. He points out how U.S. intelligence agencies stacked the deck with left-wing reviewers for the latest version of the Iran NIE, which came out last February. This is unacceptable, and it’s another reason why Congress should act on my proposal to institute “red teams” of outside reviewers to look over key NIEs and their evidence and issue independent assessments.

These red teams would be composed of balanced sets of experts drawn from Washington think tanks and research institutions but would exclude former intelligence officers. I have long thought that instituting this kind of outside review would restore confidence in intelligence assessments and assure the president that he is receiving the best possible analysis to protect our country.

— Pete Hoekstra, a former Michigan congressman, served as chairman and ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee. He is now president of Hoekstra Global Services, a national-security consulting firm, and he intends to run for U.S. Senate.

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