The president and the intelligence community: the importance of the relationship
Holtmeyer, Dane M.
Sepp, Kalev I.
Dahl, Erik J.
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This thesis identifies the correlation between the quality of the U.S. president's relationship with the intelligence community and intelligence failures. This research also evaluates how the relationship changes over the course of a presidency in an effort to identify factors that contribute to a working relationship strong enough to mitigate the risk of intelligence failures. Case studies are used to establish the character of the relationships between Presidents John F. Kennedy, George H. W. Bush, and George W. Bush and their supporting intelligence communities. These relationships are then used to analyze intelligence and operational successes and failures that occurred during their respective presidencies. This thesis determined that, in general, a good relationship with the president increases the intelligence community's chances for success, and a negative relationship increases the chance for failure. Additionally, once failure has occurred, if a president is receptive to intelligence and change, the relationship will improve. This thesis also found that the intelligence community must establish trust and communication with a receptive president to form a working relationship, and recommends that a newly elected president carefully appoint a trusted, non-political Director of National Intelligence upon taking office.
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