CIA China Study Center Threatens to Foster Groupthink, Infect Analysis, Ex-Officer Says

© Photo : United States government work / Central Intelligence Agency
Central Intelligence Agency - Sputnik International, 1920, 07.10.2021
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The CIA’s creation of a new integrated center to study China could lead to misleading groupthink infecting the entire intelligence assessment process, former agency analyst and officer Philip Giraldi told Sputnik.
Earlier in the day, CIA Director William Burns announced the new China mission center was planned to confront perceived threats from Beijing and address the global challenge posed to the United States from China, according to an agency statement.
"The idea is that with everyone together it will speed up the process of winnowing through an ocean of information to come up with useful insights," Giraldi said on Thursday. "The problem is it also produces groupthink as one interpretation strongly embraced and then promoted can infect the entire process, preventing alternative views from surfacing."
The former CIA officer said the move also reflects the extent of Washington's concerns.
"They [CIA] are clearly seeing China as a multi-faceted global threat, which is plausible if not completely accurate, and the Center would presumably follow the model of having analysts, case officers, technical staff as well as representatives from Secret Service, FBI, NSA [National Security Agency], Treasury and others on hand," Giraldi said.
He cautioned that many independently arrived at assessments were more valuable than a homogenized product.
Giraldi was also a US Military Intelligence officer and is now director of the Center for the National Interest and a founding member of the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) group.
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