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Team B

By ThinkProgress on December 7, 2007 at 12:57 pm

"Team B"

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Ilan Goldberg correctly notes that the sort of funny business on the NIE that I attributed to Yossi Klein Halevi below is popping up all around the conservosphere. He also rightly notes that this should be connected to the long “Team B” legacy on the right, where conservatives look at intelligence reports then jump up and down screaming that they’re insufficiently alarmist. Most of the time, this kind of Team Bing succeeds in bringing political pressure to bear to gin up more alarmist reports, which then turn out to be false, and then in typical up-is-downist manner this becomes adduced as evidence in favor of the unreliability of conventional intelligence methods the next time around.

Laura Rozen’s 2003 Washington Monthly article about “an obscure essay, ‘Leo Strauss and the World of Intelligence (By Which We Do Not Mean Nous),’ published a few years ago by Gary Schmitt and Abram Shulsky” remains a vital explanation of the higher theoretical basis for behaving in this manner. But suffice it to say that there are no accidents here, there’s a deeply flawed method that almost invariably produces unduly alarmist conclusions.

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