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The International Politics of Intelligence Sharing


In the months prior the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the US found itself lacking reliable intelligence about the state of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction programs.  Intelligence provided by the Germans, from a source codenamed Curveball, provided the confirmation US policymakers felt they needed to justify the invasion.  The Germans, however, refused to let the US question the source directly.  Ultimately, it turned out that the source had lied about his background, his experience, and even the reason he left Iraq. Although there are a range of debates to be had about the errors leading up to the invasion, this book deals with the politics of information sharing between states.  Why did the Germans decline to allow the US to question such a critical source?  Better yet, why did the US accept such consequential intelligence second-hand?  The author here explores some mechanisms to overcome such perils that should be built in to multi-national intelligence operations.

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About the author:  Dr. James Igoe Walsh is Professor of Political Science at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, NC. His research interests include the military and political consequences of advanced weapons, links between natural resources and conflict, and intelligence and national security. His work has been supported by the Army Corps of Engineers, the Department of Homeland Security, the National Science Foundation, and the Minerva Research Initiative. Dr. Walsh holds a Ph.D. in international relations from American University.