With, Beth Sanner, Former Deputy DNI for Mission Integration, PDB Briefer for President Trump. Moderated by Paul Kolbe, Belfer Center Intelligence Project Director
The role of intelligence is to provide leaders and policymakers with facts and context which enable better decisions and the formulation of more effective policies. However, this is not a one-way flow of secrets and insight from intelligence producers to intelligence consumers where assessments are just delivered into an inbox for leisurely perusal. Critical intelligence needs often go hand in hand with crisis, pressure, and unrelenting decision deadlines. The Intelligence Community (IC) gets drawn into the thick of the fray, and often finds itself delivering unwelcome news of a policy failure, unintended consequence, or horrific event. The IC may also be placed in the awkward position of grading its own Covert Action homework. It is crucial for intelligence agencies to engender trust, confidence, and understanding in the customers it serves. The complex relationship between intelligence producers and policy consumers is perfectly embodied in the delivery of the President’s Daily Brief (PDB), and the role of the PDB Briefer.
In this session, Ms. Sanner will explore core issues on the nexus between intelligence and policy. How do agencies deliver bad news? What is intelligence politicization and how do agencies prevent it? How can intelligence both be used and acted upon, while still protecting fragile sources and methods? Should intelligence engage more transparently with the public, or is too much already revealed by a relentless press?
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