The UK intelligence community has recently undergone a ‘season of enquiry’ relating to the Iraq War and the ‘War on Terrorism’. This essay discusses each of the four enquiries in turn and argues that while the debate has been intense, much has been missed. The enquiries have largely focused on specific administrative issues, while the media have focused on blame–casting. Although the enquiries have been useful in underlining the extent of genuine ‘intelligence failure’, wider reflections about the nature and direction of UK intelligence have been conspicuously absent. None of the enquiries has dealt with the difficult issue of how intelligence analysis might interface with modern styles of policy–making. More broadly, it is argued that there is a growing mismatch between what intelligence can reasonably achieve and the improbable expectations of politicians and policy-makers
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