CASIS International Conference, Day 3 Student Report (22 October 2021)
Editor: Dr. Grant Dawson, Carleton University Panel 10: In Pursuit of the Analytical Holy Grail, Part 2: Professional Tradecraft
Chair: Joanne Weeks, Executive Director, Office of the Communications Security Establishment Commissioner
Panellists: Dr. Thomas Fingar, Assistant Secretary of the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR); Warren Fishbein, Deputy Director of the Global Futures Partnership; Dr. Robert George, Sherman Kent Center, CIA University's Sherman Kent School for Intelligence Analysis
This panel continued the discussion on improvements in analytical techniques within the intelligence community.
Rapporteur: Brian Neary, University of Toronto
Dr. Robert George set the stage for the panel discussion by bringing up post-mortems of the 9/11 intelligence failure, and the important topic of trying to rebalance analytical tradecraft. George noted that presently about 90% of intelligence literature centered on the collection aspect of the intelligence cycle, yet analysis and dealing with information gaps was of prime importance. George stated that while much of what he would say was his own viewpoint, it may also reflect the CIA's stance on analysis.
He then delved into the area of "mental maps" and noted how experts tended to ossify their conceptualization of their specific expert areas, (i.e. flexibility of thinking about issues tends to be easier for neophytes.) Experts need to update their mental maps often to stay current and relevant in their analyses, George noted, and a lack of this updating may be responsible for intelligence failures inherent in the Yon Kippur War and Cuban Missile Crisis. George noted Sherman Kent's analytical self-post-mortem of predictions that the Soviets would not place missiles in Cuba in 1962, and the surprise to many of India's nuclear test.
Up until 1998 the CIA had made little headway in combating cognitive bias, but at this point workshops about "alternative analysis" were initiated. There was some agency resistance to these measures - they were considered auxiliary - but the Iraq / WMD intelligence failure has reminded us of bias's negative effects. George went on to discuss various traditional methods for avoiding groupthink, such as devil's advocacy, Team A versus Team B, "red cells", (i.e. thinking outside the American mindset) and structured brainstorming/scenario development. He also espoused the value of "competing hypotheses", where one develops numerous theories about events, and seeks to de-confirm them, rather than working with a single idea and trying to confirm it. George stressed the need for diverse backgrounds among analytical workforces so that more diverse perspectives can be brought to bear, and emphasized the importance of a continual "lessons learned" ethic - for successes as well as failures - within the intelligence community.
Dr. Warren Fishbein noted that his panel contribution is based on a paper he recently co-authored, titled "Challenging Thinking about Challenging Thinking: Enhancing 'Alternative Analysis' for Trans-national Threats." Fishbein asked what the implications are when you consider alternative analysis, and noted that such techniques are not commonly viewed as an essential part of the analytical process. Supporting this, he cited an instance where a red cell study was performed before Pearl Harbor in early 1941, but was consigned to "a dusty bookshelf" and had no actual effect on policy.
Moving on, Fishbein said that there are new analytical challenges to be faced when dealing with trans-national actors, as opposed to the more traditional state-level entities agencies are used to examining. Trans-national actors are, for example, more adaptable to new circumstances, and tend to be "complex" problems for analysts, rather than "knowable" ones. Complex problems, like ecosystems and economies, have a wide range of causes and effects, and make explanation and prediction difficult. Also, many trans-national actors tend not to have established behavioural track-records from which to derive conclusions.
Fishbein examined the work of Carl White's work on "high reliability organizations", which are potentially very dangerous (i.e. hospitals, nuclear plants, aircraft carriers) but which have very few accidents. White noticed the tendency towards "mindfulness" -informal critical examination of circumstances meant to locate potential failures. Fishbein noted that intelligence agencies are not high reliability organizations, but should attempt to adopt the "5 C" practices White's work elucidated. These are "Continual" [conversational evaluation of ongoing issues], "Creative" [alternatives, not just logical deductions], "Collaborative" [thinking, such as through the use of blogs], "Counter-intuitive" [understanding that we can be wrong, not matter how certain we may feel], and "Consumer Friendly" [dialog between producers and consumers of intelligence analysis]. Fishbein concluded that analytical bodies should resemble high reliability organizations more closely than academic ones.
Dr. Thomas Fingar told the audience that his job was to raise the quality of US analytical work in intelligence, and therefore had to work from a "higher level of generality." Fingar examined the effects of intelligence failure on the entire intelligence cycle: 9/11 caused intelligence workers to be err on the side of worst-case scenarios, whereas the Iraq/WMD failure resulted in more conservative filtering of information. Fingar repeated his own story of how he was on duty at the State department and had to determine the credibility of a terrorist attack warning on tourist hotels in the Philippines as an example of how judgments about information must be made.
Fingar noted the need for precision and transparency in analysis, as well as clarity in what is and is not known to analysts. There is a need to make it easier for senior officials to make decisions. Fingar recalled his visit to Iraq a few weeks before the October 2005 vote on Iraq's new constitution and being presented with predictions that were mostly worst-case scenarios (which almost never happen). But this was still very useful because it gave policymakers details about what signs to look for as events unfolded that would help guide their decisions.
Fingar concluded by talking about the differing requirements for precision between analysis and operations-operations require precise, timely data. Intelligence agencies strove for consensus in analysis, but the homogeneity of analysts' backgrounds produced overly similar opinions without much imagination. Most people visiting Graceland, Fingar pointed out, think Elvis Presley was a great entertainer.
Rapporteur: Kim Miller, University of Ottawa
Dr. Roger George encouraged the intelligence community to continue to shift its focus away from collection of information to concentrate on analysis and improvements in analysis techniques. A key problem in analysis is that of cognitive bias (the unconscious inclusion of one's own values in analysis) and outdated mental maps. Over time, once-useful mental maps can become inaccurate if they are not continually updated and challenged. Experts, in particular, have very highly developed mental maps of their field. Alternative analysis, adopted by the CIA in 1998, can be used to combat cognitive bias by generating multiple hypotheses, exposing assumptions and increasing transparency.
There are several techniques of alternative analysis and they should be used selectively according to the situation. Hypothesis testing encompasses the following activities: devil's advocacy, team A/ team B analysis, and red cell work. The generation of new hypotheses involves outside-in thinking, structured brainstorming, and scenario development. Analysis of competing hypotheses utilizes the construction of multiple hypotheses and constantly looks for data to disconfirm a hypothesis. Future steps for the CIA include: increasing the diversity of the analyst population, conducting more strategic analysis, and proactively developing a "lessons learned" process to examine both successes and failures.
Dr. Warren Fishbein spoke second. He called for alternative analysis to be revised to include not only structured techniques but also ongoing informal and organizationally embedded processes for thinking about how we might be wrong. This is particularly relevant to trans-national issues, such as terrorism, which tend to be less clearly bounded by history, operating rules, and predictable state actor behaviours.
It can be useful, he said, to examine "high reliability" organizations (nuclear power plants, aircraft carriers, etc.) that, despite high operating risks, have exceptionally low rates of accidents (which could be equated to intelligence failures). This is due largely to mindfulness - embedded informal processes for continually questioning how things might go wrong in the future. Common characteristics of these types of organizations include:
healthy preoccupation with failure, refusal to simplify problems, and a heavy emphasis on collaboration.
Dr. Fishbein advocated five guiding principles to promote mindfulness: make it a continual iterative process; encourage creativity, often through the use of free time; make greater use of collaborative tools such as blogs; utilize counter-intuitive exercises such as pre-mortems; and make the process consumer friendly to encourage receptiveness. In short, building a highly reliable organization in the intelligence field is a difficult task. It involves changing reward and evaluation structures to provide incentives for collective self evaluation, allowing sufficient time for thinking, and changing the organizational culture.
Dr. Tom Fingar reflected upon the two very different lessons learned from 9/11 and the Iraq WMD issue. Analysts who were criticized for failing to connect the dots prior to 9/11 have learned that it is better to be forward leaning and aggressive in issuing warnings, erring on the side of predicting trouble. This has been turned almost into a systematic shortcoming. In contrast, analysts involved in the Iraq WMD issue learned to be very cautious about reaching judgements without rock-solid evidence.
These two very different lessons come together in an interesting clash when one asks questions such as whether Al Quaeda can acquire nuclear materials. There is the need for both incredible precision and transparency - to show assumptions and have research that can be replicated. Depending on the issue being addressed and the utility of the exercise, this transparency can trump the need to be right all the time. Sometimes being wrong can be very useful in that it highlights where one ought to look, what the indicators are, where forces should be, and what kind of messages to look for. The goal of the analytic undertaking can dictate the type of approach. For example, the use of worst-case scenarios makes more sense for prudent preparation exercises such as aircraft design than it does for an operational undertaking seeking to determine if a ship is carrying chemical weapons.
Finally, Dr. Fingar noted it is imperative that we be clear about what we know, we don't know, how we're reaching judgments, what the purpose of the judgment is and the standards that we should use. There has been too much emphasis on gaining consensus on what we know; instead, we need to highlight differences in judgments and underscore how that judgment was reached.
Questions & Answers:
1. How much is open source information valued within US intelligence community?
Tom Fingar: For most questions, open source is the most important type of information. There are some subjects such as penetrating a proliferation network, where it's not helpful. But there is a lot of valuable insight gleaned from media, academe, etc. The intelligence community could make more effective use of open source information.
Roger George: Open source was the basis upon which we did most of our work and we couldn't have done our work without it. Now there's greater realization with the Internet that we've got to be using this more effectively than we have been.
2. How does the analyst deal with group think and the politicization of intelligence?
Answer: There are two types of politicization: pressure from the outside for which there is an ombudsman one can go to, and cognitive bias problem for which we need to make analysis as transparent as we can.
3. Has the intelligence word fundamentally changed such that we have to get used to the analytical construct being the intelligence and the absence of empirical evidence?
Tom Fingar: The kinds of questions that we're asked to deal with all the time have to deal with intentions, trends, and drivers and there is a very real need for the analytical construct. That requires real expertise about places, culture, language, communication patterns, shipping, international finance, etc. Then we need the collaboration to get a reality check, get past the bias. If things don't make any sense, they're probably not right.
Warren Fishbein: The problem we're facing is one of speed. To look for evidence, you'll have to do a lot of prior thinking to know what to look for and to be ready and equipped. Looking ahead 5-10 years, demands on intelligence and analysis will expand exponentially.
4. Why do governments have a tendency to disagree? Presumably, it has something to do with ideological and value differences, but Iraq is one good example of how different countries deal with a problem differently. What are the benefits and pitfalls of dealing with foreign analysts?
Roger George: Collaboration is necessary as it brings different perspectives, looks at evidence differently, weighs it differently, and forces us to question whether we've properly evaluated it. The downside is that if collaboration becomes so complete that you've become your own 'in-group', you'd have what we had with Iraq. Ironically, even though our governments may have disagreed about policy toward Iraq, the allied intelligence services all agreed about WMD.
Tom Fingar: Most of the info we're dealing with is not self evident so more heads are better than fewer. We use the government-to-government method in two different ways: we want to know what you know, and also to advance a policy or share with the purpose of persuading the other country that what we're doing is a sensible course of action. Analysts are often uncomfortable trying to get support for policy. Exchanges to influence are different than exchanges to understand and we have to remember where we are in any given process.
Panel 11: Proliferation: The Threat and the Response?
Chair: David Charters, University of New Brunswick
Panellists: Angela Bogdan , Director, Global Partnership Program, Foreign Affairs Canada; Gavin Cameron, University of Calgary; Trevor Findlay , Director, Canadian Centre for Treaty Compliance, Paterson School of International Affairs, Carleton University
Under the chairmanship of History Professor David Charters, this panel dealt with the issues surrounding nuclear proliferation and what is being done - and in the case of Iraq, was done - to prevent war involving weapons of mass destruction (WMD).
Rapporteur: Ryan Cross, University of British Columbia
Angela Bogdan outlined the national governments work to limit the proliferation of WMD through the Foreign Affairs Canada 'Global Partnership Program.' She showed how the government's efforts, with the G8 and other nations, have focused on reducing the amount and vulnerability of the Russian weapons stockpile, which is the largest potential source of WMD globally. As a 'lesser adversary' during the Cold War, Canada is well placed to engage the Russian state (which has expressed reservations about the program, citing national security concerns) and help secure Russian WMD. She pointed to a program area which works to ensure that the knowledge-based that fuelled the Soviet Unions's weapons programs (the scientists and technicians, now unemployed or under-worked), have options available to them so they are not forced to proliferate there knowledge to questionable countries, organizations or people. Canada's approach to non-proliferation, through the 'Global Partnership Program' is to work with global partners and focus on long-term solutions. It enhances Canadian and global security because threats are being reduced.
The Second Panellist, Dr. Gavin Cameron, asked the question 'does proliferation of WMD and associated technologies at the state level increase the possibility for sub-state or terrorist groups acquiring them?' Looking at the examples of North Korea, Iran, Pakistan, and Russia, he argued that while there were arguably established links to dubious organizations or groups, the real threat of proliferation as an 'official' sanctioned operation was minimal for the principal reason that states fear the loss of control over the WMD once transferred to other organizations. A more pervasive threat, Cameron argued, were subversive elements within states, furthermore, the real possibility of WMD and associated technologies 'getting lost' in the chaos surround a regime change or failed/failing state. Cameron recommended a policy of non-proliferation which included the active prevention of proliferation, and, if proliferation occurs, support for improved governance, and the threat of massive retaliation. Deterrence must be extended to all potential actors, using a series of multi-, bi-, and unilateral approaches to for non-proliferation.
The third and final panellist was Dr. Trevor Findlay from Carleton University. He discussed the relationship between national intelligence and multilateral verification organizations engaged in anti-proliferation operations. Considered were verification regimes founded on treaties and United Nations Security Council resolutions. Using the lead up to the latest Iraq war as a case-study, Findlay argued that the relationship between national intelligence organizations and multinational verification regimes must be carefully managed. National intelligence agencies must resist the temptation to influence the work of verification regimes and avoid 'giving themselves away' when providing intelligence. To sum up, the relationship between the intelligence community and verification regimes is a "necessary evil, but [it] can be managed."
The subsequent discussion highlighted how, through consistent efforts to prevent the proliferation of WMD and associated technologies and knowledge, the world can and is reducing the risks to security.
Rapporteur: Elysse Zarek, University of Toronto
Angela Bogdan, the director of the Global Partnership Program at Foreign Affairs Canada, was the first speaker. She gave background information on the Global Partnership Program, which was created in 2002. The purpose of the Global Partnership Program is to disarm Russia, which has the world's largest stockpile of chemical and biological weapons, prevent future threats through teamwork and cooperation, and implement policy that will achieve non-proliferation goals. Canada has raised $19 billion for the program, given $1 billion over the course of the program's lifetime, and has developed guidelines for it.
The program is implementing programs to disarm nuclear submarines, destroy nerve agents and chemical weapons. There has been less progress in talks over the destruction of some 600 tonnes of nuclear weapons-grade fissile material because it is the most sensitive subject for Russia. Russia has a large pool of unemployed or underemployed scientists, and Canada has supported more than 50 programs that employ Russian scientists and research. Biological non-proliferation is difficult to control because the substances occur naturally in the environment. The focus is to ensure that the agents are secure but not weaponized. This program will require a long-term commitment.
Gavin Cameron from the University of Calgary was the second speaker. He argued that that states that sponsor terrorism and sub-state groups that seek weapons of mass destruction add to the security risk, but only up to a point. The main concern is about the transfer of technology, both deliberately and inadvertently. North Korea and Iran are problem states in this area, but Pakistan and Russia are different models that also raise questions about sub-state acquisitions.
North Korea has acknowledged that it has a plutonium program, has sold plutonium to Libya, has a history of selling ballistic missile technology, and a bad negotiation record. It threatened it would give this technology to other countries if the United States did not negotiate. The United States should see this as a negotiation tool and not an outright threat. The United States must convince North Korea that it respects North Korean sovereignty and will not seek regime change. Iran has no need for weapons of mass destruction, but it has a uranium program. It is motivated by a range of goals, especially projecting power regionally. It sponsors and provides arms to groups such as Hezbollah. The International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA) insists that Iran should respect its provisional agreements. Members of Pakistan's security service have links to terrorist organizations, and the country is a hub for the Al-Qaeda black market and was a link in the technology-transfer network between Europe, Asia, Russia and the Middle East. Pakistan has sponsored Kashmiri separatist groups. Its goal is to destabilize India. The problem of Russia's nuclear weapons has already been discussed.
Regime change and individuals acting on their own can trigger a transfer of nuclear technology. Countries may sponsor sub-state groups but not give them nuclear technology because plutonium is a finite resource and they fear a loss of control. However, the issue is more "loose nukes" than deliberate state transfer of technology. The solution is to prevent proliferation in the first place. Once a state has nuclear weapons, minimize internal unrest and convince it that other countries will not try to destabilize it, and make it clear that there will be retaliation if the state steps out of line.
Trevor Findlay is the director of the Canadian Centre for Treaty Compliance at the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs. He discussed the relationship between multilateral verification organizations and national intelligence services. National intelligence services are acting in their country's interests. They give intelligence information to the multilateral groups, but because they act in their own best interests, the information is filtered and may have a political motivation. These agencies must resist the urge to co-opt multilateral organizations and not reveal their intelligence capabilities, sources or methods. Multilateral verification groups exist to enforce treaty requirements and rely on national intelligence services. They must be wary of information they receive for the reasons mentioned above. To avoid over-reliance, verification groups should develop their own intelligence capabilities.
Findlay discussed the case of Iraq and the intelligence on it prior to the American invasion. Two agencies, UN Special Commission on Iraq (UNSCON) and UN Monitoring Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC), received special attention. The challenge of Iraq is that weapons were destroyed in secret and no paper trail was left behind. UNSCON received intelligence from the United States and Britain about weapons. Intelligence was boosted by the defection of Saddam Hussein's son-in-law, but problems arose because it was assumed that UNSCON would finish its tasks sooner than expected, so pressure mounted on intelligence agencies to provide more information, which in turn led to increasing scepticism about where the process was leading. UNMOVIC was chaired by Hans Blix. The agency wanted to distance itself from the national intelligence services and have one contact point with those services. UNMOVIC made better use of satellite intelligence and was better structured, but it was influenced politically, and in the end, most intelligence it received was useless.
Questions were raised about Iran's oil resources, the relationship between the relationship between the IAEA and national intelligence agencies, and on the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.
Panel 12: The Informed Citizen: Between the Scylla of Secrecy and the Charybdis of Manipulation
Chair: Paule Gauthier, Former Chair of the Security Intelligence Review Committee
Panellists: Greg Fyffe, Exec. Dir., International Assessment Staff, Privy Council Office; Eleanor Hill, former Staff Director, Joint Congressional Committee on 9/11; Patrick Martin, The Globe and Mail; Reg Whitaker, Emeritus Professor York University, Adjunct Professor of Political Science, University of Victoria
This panel was focussed on some of the merits and demerits surrounding the provision intelligence information to the public.
Rapporteur: Suzanne Skinner, Concordia
Paule Gauthier introduced the speakers, in the process highlighting the dichotomy between the need for secrecy in security intelligence vis à vis the public's right to information. She underlined the government's task to ensure that the control of information does not lead to misinformation.
Greg Fyffe then spoke on the government's task of protecting intelligence secrets when the government releases information to the public. This leads to public suspicion and scepticism regarding the reliability of government intelligence. According to Fyffe, opportunities for releasing intelligence-based rationales for policies are rare. An independent review of intelligence through a parliamentary committee could be one such opportunity; however, not all sensitive information can be released in "real-time" even in that setting. The government has the right to be secretive, especially considering the scope for media misunderstanding, competing sources of intelligence, and genuine national security concerns. It is the government's task to avoid decisions that are not firmly supported by intelligence information so as to avoid media and political fiascos.
Eleanor Hill agreed that the intelligence community had very little to gain and much to lose from indiscriminately releasing information to the public. Indeed the US government's credibility in the area of security intelligence was undermined by the inability to confirm weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. In addition to credibility, Hill pointed to the failure of the US intelligence community in raising public awareness of terrorism prior to 9/11, despite knowledge of an imminent attack. This failure would have made a difference on two fronts. First, the public could have been a prominent resource in filling the intelligence gaps that preceded the attack in New York. Second, the US ability for prevention could have been enhanced if officials, including the police and the general public, had been on alert. Hill also recommended more progress in the area of declassification so that "real time" sharing of information with the public could be possible.
Patrick Martin spoke to the level of public fear and distrust with respect to intelligence policy, and increasingly amongst Muslim communities. Media information operates in the shadows and the average citizen has access to even less information. Martin asserted that not enough is being done to keep the public aware on three fronts: the interface between the public and the intelligence community, general public concern that harm has been done, and ongoing intelligence security operations. To the first issue Martin suggested bridge building and outreach to the public, and he called for more openness and recognition of errors to rectify the second. For the third, an analysis and recognition of opportunities for manipulation on the part of the media and officials is needed so that information leaks are understood within their context and origin.
Reg Witaker pointed to the dilemma of the public not knowing who to believe within the intelligence discourse. Misinformation is a risk in three areas. First, conflicting information disseminated by government and media about the who, what, where, why and how of terrorists has confused the public. Terrorist strategic goals and justifications for their attacks are often poorly understood. In times of crisis, the public is sceptical of the state as a resource for explaining terrorist threats. This scepticism has been recently heightened by public perceptions of economic incentives for war, the afterthought nature of the focus on American homeland security, and the "phantom" weapons of mass destruction. Third, between the state and the terrorists are the media, academics, think tanks and other groups, each trying to advance their interests in the controlling and framing of information. Witaker stressed the need to build confidence in the public, an effort recently undermined by the disastrous response to Hurricane Katrina.
Most speakers agreed on the need to enhance public confidence in the intelligence community and the governments' ability to build responsive policies. While secrecy was recognized as essential to national security, more exploration of the cautious involvement of the general public is needed.
Rapporteur: Michael Spencer, University of Toronto
Eleanor Hill began the panel's discussion by stating the importance of the Security Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC) in assessing the activities of Canada's security service and maintaining the balance which exists between the security services and citizens. Hill noted that SIRC has effectively corrected the security service in the past and suggested that it would be an excellent body to review the RCMP, stating that the committee's past achievements 'guarantee' future successes.
Greg Fyffe, the Executive Director of the International Assessment Staff, Privy Council Office, began the panel by asking what is entailed in the legitimate use of intelligence. While intelligence is crucial to effective decision making, he argues, there have been cases where revealing secret intelligence to the public has been useful. Fyffe cites the American use of satellite photos during the Cuban missile crisis, as well as the Bush administrations releasing of intelligence when proposing the invasion of Iraq. Fyffe recognises the usefulness of intelligence in convincing the public of proposed actions which they may otherwise be sceptical of. While Fyffe is willing to accept the release of intelligence for this purpose, he argues that there is generally no need for secret intelligence to be made public.
Eleanor Hill provided the 'American' perspective on the debate. Hill cited the events of September 11th and the inability of the United States to find WMDs in Iraq as being catalysts in the discussion regarding secrecy and the right of the public to have access to intelligence. Hill recognises that the intelligence and security community generally does not see the benefits in sharing intelligence. She argued that sharing intelligence with the public does, in fact, have a number of benefits. Primarily, sharing intelligence with the public provides security and intelligence services with an element of credibility which they otherwise lack. She went on to note that by sharing intelligence an "alert and committed American public" is created, aiding in the fight against terrorism and other security threats. No matter how good the intelligence may be, there will always be 'gaps,' and the public, if informed, can be utilised as a source of intelligence. While Hill recognises the need for some intelligence to be kept secret, she argues that there is an unnecessary level of secrecy which badly serves both the public and the intelligence services.
Patrick Martin, a The Globe and Mail journalist, continued Hill line of argumentation. Martin pointed to three areas of concern. First, he alluded to a fear and mistrust (particularly, as Martin points out, those ethnic communities which are most effected by security and intelligence issues) which permeates the relationship between the security services and the public. Second, Martin worries that harm has already been done to the public's trust of Canadian security and intelligence services. The Inquiry into the Arar affair was an opportunity for the intelligence and security services opportunity to build trust, especially among the Arab and Muslim communities, but its proceedings have been largely hidden from the public. Finally, Martin pointed to the area of on-going operations, about which transparency and details are lacking. Given the inadequate transparency and limited information on current operations and events, he worries that there is too much room for abuse, and that journalists are vulnerable to unintentional misrepresentation of the issues. He concluded his presentation by called for the creation of a Parliamentary oversight committee to expose problems early on, hopefully increasing the level of trust among the citizenry and the credibility of the security and intelligence services.
Reg Whitaker concluded the panel's discussion. Whitaker argued that in a time rife with insecurity and national and man-made disasters, it is even more pertinent for citizens to be sceptical of the state since it is at those times that policies and political agendas that normally would be rejected by the public are pushed forward in the name of security. Whitaker argues that the 'misinformation' given to the public about WMDs in Iraq and Al-Qaeda's connection to Iraq has only served to poison the public's trust in government and security services. Whitaker sceptically claimed that the moral of the story seems to be "trust nobody, especially those who say 'trust us.'" In concluding, Whitaker called for the government and security services to build the trust of the public; an achievement which may also aid security services in the fight against terrorism.
Panel 13: Conference Conclusions and Wrap-up
Chair: Wesley Wark, President of CASIS
The purpose of this panel was to ensure that the ideas and information imparted at the conference were structured into a framework before everyone departed. Chair Wesley Wark introduced three speakers, Ron Atkey, John Headley and Magnus Ranstorp.
Rapporteur: Sarah McNeill, Carleton University
Ron Atkey was impressed with the conference and mentioned that much had remained the same as the conferences in years previous, specifically noting three similarities. The first similarity mentioned was the relevance of the topics, specifically terrorism, and high profile of some of the speakers, such as Margaret Bloodworth. The second similarity was the detailed and current political knowledge provided by speakers like as Chantal Hebert, who spoke about Canadian politics in the conference's first keynote address. The last similarity to previous years was the controversy that occasionally presented itself, such as with speakers like Seymour Hersh. Atkey encouraged the continued participation of significant sponsors and urged them to step up financially on a long term basis.
John Headley started his address off by noting that CASIS in its 20th year had hit a remarkable stride. He specifically mentioned the impressive turn-out, and the quality and diversity of the speakers. He reiterated the importance of bringing together intelligence and law enforcement and emphasized the vital nature of integration. Headley enjoyed the panel on the pursuit of the analytical holy grail; he believes this ideas discussed would assist analysts in avoiding cognitive problems like 'group think' and linear modes of thought.
Magnus Ranstorp was impressed by the way which CASIS broke down of the walls between agencies and organizations and the interaction between a wide range of specialists at the conference. He mentioned four elements / challenges that need to be focused on. The first was the need to challenge one's own assumptions, keep an open mind, and constantly question established modes of thought. The second was the desire to truly understand cultural factors and behaviours. Learning more about what drives a particular people and what assumptions or mores may be embedded within their culture are important tasks for analysts. The third was the need for better information operations by becoming more skilled in the packaging of information. Fourth, and last, was the drive to demystify intelligence and thereby harnessing human capital.
Wesley Wark then concluded the conference with a thank you to the 'conductor', Tony Campbell.
Rapporteur: Harry Skinner, University of Toronto
Mr. Wark spoke with the hope that all who attended the conference would take away new ideas about security and intelligence. He stressed the point that the arguments made during the conference should be discussed in a manner that would be understood by the general public to help expand their interest in the field.
Ron Atkey then took the floor. Atkey stated that he was impressed with the wide range of security and intelligence topics discussed at the conference. He felt that the arguments made by the individual speakers were relevant and in line with the challenges facing the contemporary intelligence community. He particularly enjoyed the panels on terrorism, rethinking border security, Chantel Hebert's insights into Canada's political realities, and the controversial Seymour Hersh.
John Hedley provided an American perspective. He believed the work done by the CASIS organization had been outstanding and he was impressed by knowledge and expertise of the various presenters. He felt the integration of intelligence and law enforcement at the conference will achieve positive effects and help facilitate their ability to work together and coordinate efforts in the future. CASIS, he argued, has achieved a diversity in its panellists that allows for examination of a wide range of views from around the world.
Magnus Ranstorp felt privileged to have attended the conference. Like John Hedley, he was impressed with CASIS's geographic and issue coverage. He felt CASIS should be praised for its ability to host a conference that provided a stage for such a wide range of important specialists and issues. He hoped that other countries would adopt and copy its model. He discussed three important issues. First, he felt people associated with the field should challenge their own assumptions and expand their own thinking by looking at cultural factors, ideologies, and codes of behaviour, which he feels are not being properly addressed globally. Second, he emphasized that information that is packaged for the public should be relevant to their interests, and not merely satisfy political needs. Last, he argued that intelligence should be demystified to allow the public can better understand security and intelligence.
Wesley Wark emphasized the importance of feedback from the audience in regards to what they felt was left out, or insignificantly addressed during the conference to provide for future improvement.
People stated how impressed they were with CASIS's ability to incorporate students and youth into the conference. One person argued that Muslim youth needed to be better integrated into future conference. This could help them understand and deal with the various problems associated with the way security impacts on their lives. There was a request by an engineer to apply more attention to the advances and history of the technology associated with security and intelligence at the next conference. Another person called attention to the lack of francophone representation and French-speaking panellists at the conference.
Wesley Wark finished the session with a special thanks to Tony Campbell, Executive Director of CASIS, for his hard work and dedication that made the conference such a success.