Bureau of Intelligence and Research

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The Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR), part of the Department of State, is part of the intelligence community, according to the organization's web site:

"The Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) is headed by Assistant Secretary Thomas Fingar. The Bureau, drawing on all-source intelligence, provides value-added independent analysis of events to Department policymakers, ensures that intelligence activities support foreign policy and national security purposes; and serves as the focal point in the Department for ensuring policy review of sensitive counterintelligence and law enforcement activities. INR's primary mission is to harness intelligence to serve U.S. diplomacy. The bureau also analyzes geographical and international boundary issues. INR is a member of the U.S. intelligence community."

Douglas Jehl wrote in the July 19, 2004, New York Times that the INR was the "Agency that got Iraq the least wrong":

"On Iraq and illicit weapons, the intelligence agency that got it least wrong, it now turns out, was one of the smallest - a State Department bureau with no spies, no satellites and a reputation for contrariness.
"Almost alone among intelligence agencies, this one, the Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) does not report to either the White House or the Pentagon. Its approach is purely analytical, so that it owes no allegiance to particular agents, imagery or intercepts. It shuns the worst-case plans sometimes sought by military commanders."
"With just 165 analysts, the bureau is about one-tenth the size of the CIA's analytical arm. But its analysts tend to be older, more experienced and more likely to come from academic backgrounds than those at other agencies like the CIA, and they are more often encouraged to devote their careers to the study of a particular issue or region."
"The bureau was still wrong, along with other intelligence agencies, in asserting that Iraq possessed chemical and biological weapons. But congressional officials say that over all, its recent record on Iraq has been better than that of its larger rivals, like the CIA, with its more than 1,500 analysts, and the Defense Intelligence Agency, with more than 3,000. The example of the State Department agency, congressional officials say, is being closely studied as the White House and Congress debate what changes may help intelligence agencies avoid future failures.
"Among other recent successes, the bureau's admirers say, was a classified report in 2003 that was critical of the Bush administration view that a victory in Iraq would help to spread democracy across the Arab world.
"It also predicted correctly that Turkey might not permit American troops to cross its territory en route to Iraq and dismissed as 'highly dubious' a British assertion that Iraq was trying to procure uranium from Niger. Not surprisingly, the praise that has been directed at the agency, including a widely noticed column in May by David Ignatius in The Washington Post, has prompted some backbiting at other intelligence agencies from officials who argue that its successes are being exaggerated.
"The agency, with about 300 people in all, including support staff, is too small to shoulder the kind of analytical burden placed on the CIA and the even larger analytical branch of the Defense Intelligence Agency.
"Its bureaucratic distance from spymasters at the CIA, the signals-intelligence mavens at the National Security Agency and the satellite gurus who serve the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency means that it has little interaction with those who are actually collecting information around the world, intelligence officials say. Any restructuring, the bureau's admirers say, should preserve debate and rivalry between the intelligence agencies' various analytical branches. In addition to the State Department agency and the CIA's Directorate of Intelligence, these agencies include most of the Defense Intelligence Agency; an element of the geospatial agency, which interprets satellite imagery; the intelligence office within the Department of Energy; and analytical offices within the various military services."

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