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The Problem of Secret Intelligence$
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Kjetil Anders Hatlebrekke

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780748691838

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748691838.001.0001

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Secrecy and Intelligence Tribal Language

Secrecy and Intelligence Tribal Language

(p.111) 3 Secrecy and Intelligence Tribal Language
The Problem of Secret Intelligence

Kjetil Anders Hatlebrekke

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter argues that psychological phenomena, and thus intelligence tribal language, are difficult and challenging to comprehend. Intelligence tribal language is a phenomenon that arises and develops in closed, secretive and often self-referring cultures. This fuels the language as a communication form that can only be fully understood by those who belong to these specific cultures. The language creates a sense of pride and fellow feeling, but it also, and more importantly, develops intellectual isolation and consequently discourse failure between different agencies and their consumers. Each agency probably has its own specific language that increases simultaneously with a changing and increasingly complex threat, since intelligence tribal language develops in the battlefield that arises between the human fear of freedom and the complexities offered by prediction. The communication between the intelligence communities prior to 9/11 was thus significantly hampered.  A complex threat that fused with ‘product protection’ and a ‘need-to-know’ culture, and a rooted self-referring intelligence tribal language, seriously decreased discourse between intelligence operators and between intelligence institutions – but most importantly, and consequently most devastatingly, between the intelligence institutions and the intelligence consumer.

Keywords:   The Fear of Freedom, Creativity, Discourse, Dissemination, Humint, CIA

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