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Group C’s Diagnostic Techniques Summary of Secretary Powell’s Presentation to the UN Security Council. February 10, 2011. Outline. Introduction/Summary – Antonia Shull Key Assumptions Check – Amber Marriott Quality of Information Check – Brandon Payne

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Group C’s Diagnostic Techniques Summary of Secretary Powell’s Presentation to the UN Security Council

February 10, 2011


Introduction/Summary – Antonia Shull

Key Assumptions Check – Amber Marriott

Quality of Information Check – Brandon Payne

Indicators or Signposts of Change – Hadis Dashtestani

Analysis of Competing Hypotheses – Chuck Barber

Diagnostic techniques
Diagnostic Techniques

Diagnostic techniques allow analyst to identify key theories, uncertainties, intelligence gaps, and consider multiple hypotheses (even the unlikely ones) in order to make a sophisticated and credible intelligence assessment. The four techniques are:

  • Key Assumptions Check – listing the key assumptions that underlie the analysis by thinking critically about each assumption and making the assumption stronger or weaker

  • Quality of Information Check – evaluating the completeness and soundness of available information sources in order to detect possible deception or intelligence gaps

  • Indicators or Signpost of Change – identifying a set of competing hypotheses by listing supporting evidence, reviewing, and identifying the most likely hypotheses

  • Analysis of Competing Hypotheses – weighing of alternative explanations that involves identifying a complete set of alternative explanations or outcomes then systematically evaluating each and selecting the best fit

Preface of the address
Preface of the Address

  • Nov. 8, 2002 - U.N. Security Council Resolution 1441 was passed (unanimously)

    • Offered Iraq “a final opportunity to comply with its disarmament obligations” that they had been found guilty of for over 12 years

    • Iraq was in material breach of its obligation under previous resolutions, which included:

      • Manufacturing WMD

      • Violating ceasefire terms

      • Construction of prohibited types of missiles

      • Purchases and import of prohibited armaments

      • Refusal of Iraq to compensate Kuwait for the widespread looting

  • Goals of Resolution 1441 were to:

    • Give Iraq one last chance to be compliant or they will face serious consequences

    • To verify the existence or destruction of Iraq’s remaining unaccounted for WMD

    • Allow inspectors from UNMOVIC/IAEA to perform inspections with full cooperation

  • November 13, 2002 – Iraq agreed to Resolution 1441

  • November 27, 2002 – UNMOVIC/IAEA inspectors returned to Iraq

Key assumptions check
Key Assumptions Check

  • Intelligence gathered from human sources is accurate and true.

  • Experts (imagery analysts, translators, etc.) provided accurate representations.

  • Iraq has a “Duty to Comply” with the UN’s resolution 1441 and inspectors.

  • Iraq’s actions have been in “bad faith” rather than more benign reasons.

  • Information outside of existence of WMDs, precursors, or other related items is indicative of Iraq’s possession of WMDs.

Key assumptions check1
Key Assumptions Check

  • Precursors, parts, past possession and current knowledge translate into possession of physical WMDs.

  • Iraq’s “Higher Committee for Monitoring the Inspection Teams” is there to inhibit the inspectors.

  • The 12,200 page declaration is poor in information and devoid of new evidence.

  • Link to terrorist cells relates to possession of WMDs.

Quality of information qoi
Quality of Information (QoI)

“My colleagues, every statement I make today is backed up by sources, solid sources. These are not assertions. What we are giving you are facts and conclusions based on solid intelligence.”

- Colin Powell, February 5 2003

Qoi observations
QoI - Observations

  • Conviction and confidence of presentation – Persuasive language

  • Perceptual Bias (expectation)

    • e.g., because Saddam Hussein is doing a, b and c, that must imply z.

  • Intelligence Acquisition:

    • Variety of Sources?

    • Reliable Sources??

      • Web of lies?

Qoi interpretation
QoI - Interpretation

  • The Price of Ambiguity

    • A “decade of proof that [Saddam] remains determined to acquire nuclear weapons.”

      • “If we knew today or knew then what we know today that there were no WoMD…the justification would not have been there.” – Colin Powell on Meet the Press, June 10, 2007

    • The “sinister nexus between Iraq and the al-Qaida terrorist network.”

      • According to Secretary Powell, there had been a “decades long experience with respect to ties between Iraq and al-Qaida” …

      • …Even though Al-Qaida had only been formed between 1988 and 1989, and these ties were not what he was led to believe.

  • And once again on sources…

    • Ibn al-Sheikh al-Libi – Referred to as “Senior terrorist operative” currently being held in detention.

      • Libyan national, apprehended in Pakistan in 2001

      • Subjected to torture at US base in Afghanistan

      • Fabricated story?

Tracking potential for iraq having weapons of mass destruction
Tracking potential for Iraq having weapons of Mass Destruction


Iraq deadly behavior - Using mustard & nerve gas against Kurds

- Conducting ethnic cleaning against the Shia Iraqis

Iraq terrorist network - Nexus between Iraq & Al-Qaida (terrorist network)

Deadly weapons history - Biological weapons (confession of having it in 1995)

- Producing VX

- Chemical weapons

- Nuclear weapons

Satellite images - Housecleaning: banned materials have moved from Iraqi

weapons of mass destruction facilities (ex. Taji)

- Existence of decontamination vehicles

- Especial security facilities

Tracking potential for iraq having weapons of mass destruction1
Tracking potential for Iraq having weapons of Mass Destruction


Iraq dishonesty - Iraqi’s UAV range (declared 80 Km, actual range: 500 Km)

- Hiding equipments

- Evacuating things

- Hiding people (displacing weapon experts with other

military men)

- Replacing hard drives in weapon’s facility

- Train how to deceive inspectors

Iraq violation from its - Refusing to permit U-2 reconnaissance flights

obligations - Refusing to provide a comprehensive list of scientists

- Refusing to allow access to all official persons

- Iraq has made no effort to dissarm

Analysis of competing hypotheses
Analysis of Competing Hypotheses Destruction


  • H1: Saddam Hussein and his regime are concealing efforts to produce WMD

  • H2: Iraq is attempting to maintain a semblance of power in a threatening neighborhood

  • H3: Iraq is simply incompetent of accounting for its weapons with no malicious intent

Analysis of competing hypotheses1
Analysis of Competing Hypotheses Destruction


E1: Previous violations over 16 previous resolutions and 12 years

  • Iraq has not accounted for the biological agent and weapons it admitted to having

  • Chemical weapons not accounted for and a history of use.

  • Human rights violations and ethnic cleansing

    E2: Attempts to hide information from inspectors

  • Two recordings on November 26, 2002 and January 20, 2003 about evacuating equipment and ammunition, then hiding the fact.

  • Dr. Blix pronounced the 12,200-page declaration rich in volume but poor in information.

  • Orders to hide correspondence with the Organization of Military Industrialization (oversees WMD activities.

  • Ordered removal of all prohibited weapons from palace complexes

  • Hiding items in the homes of government officials, scientists and cars driven around the countryside

  • Iraq did not provide a comprehensive list of scientists associated with its weapons of mass destruction programs.

  • Pressure on interviewees and hiding persons of interest.

  • Photo of unusual activity and witness claiming chemical weapons moved “Al Musayyib”

E3: Evidence of Chemical, Biological and Nuclear weapons

  • Inspectors found 12 empty chemical warheads on Jan 16, 2003

  • Satellite photos of weapons facilities

  • Trucks cleaning out close to 30 facilities prior to inspectors arriving

  • Creation of transportable production facilities and dispersal methods

  • Intercepted communication about nerve agents

  • Repeated covert attempts to acquire high-specification aluminum tubes from 11 different countries for enriching uranium

    E4: Attempts to comply with UN Resolution

  • On Jan 20, Iraq promised inspectors it would search for more

  • General Sadi publicly pledged that Iraq was prepared to cooperate unconditionally with inspectors.

  • Declaration of December 7, 2002, permitted weapons

    E5: Actions of a Sovereign Power

  • Higher Committee for Monitoring the Inspection Teams

  • Iraq refused to permit U-2 recon flights

  • Pressure on interviewees and hiding persons of interest.

    E6: Increase Weapons’ Capability

  • Possession of missiles and UAVs that violate the 150-km delivery limit

Analysis of competing hypotheses2
Analysis of Competing Hypotheses Destruction

UN Violations in Iraq

  • Recommend development of indicators to distinguish H1 and H2

  • H3 is unlikely with majority of evidence pointing to malicious intent

Conclusion Destruction

Unfortunately, these diagnostic techniques do not seemed to have been applied.

  • March 17, 2003 - President Bush launched a second Gulf War despite multiple opinions questioning the integrity of the underlying intelligence information

  • September 30, 2004 – A report from the Iraq Survey Group came out stating that Iraq had

    • No deployable WMD as of March 2003

    • No production since 1991

    • No proof of any biological weapons since 1991

    • No nuclear program since 1991

  • 2008 - Senate Intelligence Committee found that the Bush administration had "misrepresented the intelligence and the threat from Iraq".

  • President Bush later said that the biggest regret of his presidency was "the intelligence failure" in Iraq

    If they would have used these diagnostic techniques they would have:

  • Challenged conventional wisdom (thought outside the box)

  • Identified mental mindsets

  • Managed and defined uncertainties

  • Assessed the impact of information gaps/deception