Bias and analysis
Once all the necessary information has been processed, it is time to make sense of it; that is, search for the security issues and deliver this intelligence to the different strategic levels meeting the IR that were identified during the planning step.
A lot has been written about how intelligence analysis should be done, especially in excellent books such as Structured Analytic Techniques for Intelligence Analysis (Heuer and Pherson, 2014), Critical Thinking for Strategic Intelligence (Pherson and Pherson, 2016), and Psychology of Intelligence Analysis (Heuer, 1999), among many others. These books employ many metaphors to describe the process of intelligence analysis.
My personal favorite is the one that compares the art of intelligence analysis with the art of mosaics: intelligence analysis is like trying to put the pieces of a mosaic together in which the pattern is not clear and the pieces continue to change in size, shape, and color.
One thing that an intelligence analyst cannot forget is that part of the practice is to challenge their own preconceptions and prejudices ceaselessly. Avoid confirmation bias, not to merely transmit the collected data, but to not fall for mirror imaging, clientelism, layering, and linear thinking. You should never influence the analysis so that it suits your needs or views. There are many techniques that can be used to mitigate analyst bias.
Some common traits are used to define a good intelligence analyst: he or she must have specific knowledge in more than one field; he or she must have a good spoken and written expression; and, most important of all, he or she must have the ability to synthesize the background of a situation almost intuitively.
In conclusion, we can close this chapter with the asseveration that in order to generate effective and relevant intelligence, there has to be a continuous intelligence process in place, with information from both internal and external sources being continually collected, processed, and analyzed.
This analysis must be tackled from different angles and by people with different perspectives and backgrounds in order to minimize the risk of falling into our own cognitive biases.
In addition, establishing good mechanisms for both disseminating quality and relevant intelligence reports, as well as getting feedback from the recipients, is key to enriching and improving this process.