The devil’s advocate in intelligence: the Israeli experience

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Many intelligence services around the world maintain mechanisms intended to help minimize the risk of erroneous intelligence assessments. One of the best-known mechanisms is the ‘devil’s advocate’ whose goal is to present–sometimes artificially–an intelligence assessment that contradicts the prevailing view. The goal of this practice is to try to encourage doubts, both among intelligence assessors and among decision-makers. This paper will describe the importance and function of the 'devil’s advocate' mechanism in intelligence. Using Israel as a test case, the paper will seek to draw conclusions regarding the desirable format of operations of this mechanism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)854-865
Number of pages12
JournalIntelligence and National Security
Issue number6
StatePublished - 19 Sep 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, © 2018 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Political Science and International Relations


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