Baltic Pipeline Discussion (Current Events)

LilWabbit

Senior Member
you seem to want to argue that people who've sworn an oath to protect the USA, or who advise the US on how to best beat Russia (e.g. RAND) shouldn't be assumed to be biased in favour of the USA

Not at all Mendel. I'm saying the experts cited cannot be automatically deemed biased, propagandists or incompetent (like you seem to be arguing) just because they disagree with your pro-Russian narrative or have previously been involved with the US government in various capacities. Plus I made a second point which need not be repeated.

and also reverse the burden of evidence

The evidence that their speculation is not to be naively equated with any other Tom, Dick and Harry guesser is the overall soundness and dispassionate manner of their argument and analysis as well as their professional credentials and earlier analyses. But like I clearly said, even that wouldn't prove they're right. Empirical evidence pointing to Russia would.

how do you distinguish a "superior speculation" from a lucky guess?

By meta-analyzing, after the fact, the soundness, the detail and the rationale provided by these two 'analyses' (i.e. lucky guess and superior hypothesizing) and comparing which one is better supported by the facts. It's not rocket science.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
I'm saying the experts cited cannot be automatically deemed biased, propagandists or incompetent (like you seem to be arguing) just because they disagree with your pro-Russian narrative
I have not argued that.

I have argued that your experts are biased because they are former US intelligence or US think tank members, listing their names and associations.

I don't have a problem with biased experts. I have a problem when that bias is not acknowledged, or when they're used with a "just trust them on this" appeal to authority.

I'm sure that if it turns out Russia did it, they'll have come up with the right reasons for why.

(For all that disdain you showed in the "psychoanalysis" thread for passive aggression, you sure employ a lot of it.)
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
how do you distinguish a "superior speculation" from a lucky guess?
Article:
[...] an unexpected outcome from an inescapably probabilistic estimate does not signify that the prior estimate was flawed or slanted. Intelligence estimates in general are inherently uncertain, which is to say that they are probabilistic. Estimates made about something to be found or experienced in the future can at most only lead to a conclusion that there is a conjectured probability that a specified outcome will be realized.

Unexpected outcomes may ensue because of faulty estimates, or due to other factors such as those above. Which gives rise to the question—how can intelligence users, let alone the general public, know whether the occurrence of an unexpected outcome resulted from the range of uncertainty or from the incompetence of the estimators?
 

LilWabbit

Senior Member
I have argued that your experts are biased because they are former US intelligence or US think tank members, listing their names and associations.

Former or even current affiliation with the US government is not evidence of bias against Russia. It's not even evidence of bias in favour of narratives that exonerates US from responsibility for wrongful or questionable acts of aggression.

I don't have a problem with biased experts. I have a problem when that bias is not acknowledged,

I have a problem with an automatic assumption of bias on the basis outlined in my previous paragraph because it gives no benefit of the doubt and assumes a lot of things based on little or no evidence.

or when they're used with a "just trust them on this" appeal to authority.

I have a problem with that too. I guess we agree on this point. Hooray. ;)

I'm sure that if it turns out Russia did it, they'll have come up with the right reasons for why.

This sentence, to me, demonstrates your pro-Russian and anti-American bias which borders on conspiracy theorizing. But granted, unprovable.

(For all that disdain you showed in the "psychoanalysis" thread for passive aggression, you sure employ a lot of it.)

Mine was pure aggression without the 'passive' bit. I didn't mince my words or appear something I'm not.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
your pro-Russian narrative
just because a member is honest and neutral, when evidence is lacking, does not make one "pro" anything.
This is a dishonest ad hominem dig to trick readers into disregarding his (and others, on other topics) input. Trying to "cancel" speech is more pro-Russia than anything Mendel has said.
 

LilWabbit

Senior Member
Article:
Unexpected outcomes may ensue because of faulty estimates, or due to other factors such as those above. Which gives rise to the question—how can intelligence users, let alone the general public, know whether the occurrence of an unexpected outcome resulted from the range of uncertainty or from the incompetence of the estimators?

You're citing a 2003 article regarding Bush administration's over-reliance on a probabilistic intelligence estimate on Iraq possessing WMDs which, it turned out, Iraq didn't. How does that demonstrate anything I've written in the above to be faulty? Be specific. Don't assume or over-interpret.

Secondly, you're suddenly changing the tune and quoting RAND when (you think) it serves your argument. I thought it was biased, it's Washington-based! Can you not see your motivated reasoning, Mendel?
 

LilWabbit

Senior Member
just because a member is honest and neutral, when evidence is lacking, does not make one "pro" anything.

Honesty and neutrality is not what I see. Nor do I see it in your pretension as if you don't agree with me on the tendency to side with pro-Russian narratives in this particular case. Something you pointed out to me almost immediately when I joined MB.

P.S. Nobody's denied anyone's right to be pro-Russian and spew whatever narratives they like. I'm just calling for honesty in doing so.
 
Last edited:

Mauro

Senior Member
While I agree with @Mendel that we have no data, only speculations, I also speculate Russians have a very good reason for blowing up Nord Stream 1 and 2: to show they can attack vital infrastructures while keeping plausible deniability (I already posted about this but my post remained in the old thread before this one was spun off). Classical bullying: we showed you we can destroy the undersea pipelines on which Europe is so reliant for gas (not only in the Baltic/North Sea, Mediterranean pipelines could be a target too), or we can destroy the undersea cable which keep the world wired together, etc.


This is from The Moscow Times (an independent Russian outlet, not based in Russia ofc):
The attack may, however, have signaling value. If so, that does change the strategic landscape in the energy war. If perpetrated by Russia, the signaling value toward the West — which would certainly know Russia is behind the explosions — may be a threat to the rest of the marine energy infrastructure. Back in 2021, Putin told a gathering of military leaders: "If our Western colleagues continue the obviously aggressive stance, we will take appropriate retaliatory military-technical measures and react harshly to unfriendly steps. I want to emphasize that we have every right to do so." Was the Nord Stream attack a hint that similar mishaps might happen to some or all of the seven major pipelines delivering Norwegian gas to the UK and continental Europe? The explosions coincided with the inauguration of the Baltic Pipe taking Norwegian gas to Poland, so this is hardly an academic hypothesis.
https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2022...who-attacked-the-nord-stream-pipelines-a78952
 

qed

Senior Member
I'm sure that if it turns out Russia did it, they'll have come up with the right reasons for why.
Spoken like a true rationalist/skeptic/debunker. [they being the now biased experts mentioned in the sentence before]
This sentence, to me, demonstrates your pro-Russian and anti-American bias which borders on conspiracy theorizing. But granted, unprovable.
Huh?
 

LilWabbit

Senior Member
Anyway, let's get back to the topic. I guess we all agree there's yet no evidence pointing to any particular country. So it's wait and see for now.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
Spoken like a true rationalist/skeptic/debunker. [they being the now biased experts mentioned in the sentence before]
They're not just "now biased", they'll be biased in the future as well. But when reality aligns with their world-view, they're likely to be correct about it.

The question right now is whether it does align.
 

LilWabbit

Senior Member
They're not just "now biased", they'll be biased in the future as well.

Both claims yet to be demonstrated by evidence.

But when reality aligns with their world-view, they're likely to be correct about it.

Premised on the foregoing claims yet to be demonstrated by evidence.

The question right now is whether it does align.

That's the more relevant question, yes.
 

qed

Senior Member
They're not just "now biased", they'll be biased in the future as well. But when reality aligns with their world-view, they're likely to be correct about it.

The question right now is whether it does align.
But do you agree that if/when this is solved, even most of these biased experts will agree with that conclusion. There will be outliers. But me, you, mick, deirdre, and almost all those experts will agree. They will change to meet reality, not the other way around, as your post suggests.
 

benthamitemetric

Senior Member
Honesty and neutrality is not what I see. Nor do I see it in your pretension as if you don't agree with me on the tendency to side with pro-Russian narratives in this particular case. Something you pointed out to me almost immediately when I joined MB.

P.S. Nobody's denied anyone's right to be pro-Russian and spew whatever narratives they like. I'm just calling for honesty in doing so.
You are losing sight of the argument here. For what it's worth, I have personally donated thousands to pro-Ukraine causes and want to see nothing more than for the Russian line to collapse, for Ukraine to reclaim the disputed territories, and for it all to end with Putin being deposed, one way or another. And that same sentiment makes me very much want to believe that it was Russia who blew up the pipeline as an extension of a series of cynical and flagrantly dishonest actions in the international arena that, in one way or another, are intended to consolidate Putin's control at home. And that may well be what happened. But, if I'm intellectually honest with myself, I can realize that my sentiment is not evidence for anything particular. For now, none of us has any evidence of who blew up the pipeline or why. To take any proposition of guilt beyond the "that's plausible"-level, we'll need actual evidence.
 

LilWabbit

Senior Member
You are losing sight of the argument here.

I'm merely responding to yours.

For what it's worth, I have personally donated thousands to pro-Ukraine causes and want to see nothing more than for the Russian line to collapse, for Ukraine to reclaim the disputed territories, and for it all to end with Putin being deposed, one way or another. And that same sentiment makes me very much want to believe that it was Russia who blew up the pipeline as an extension of a series of cynical and flagrantly dishonest actions in the international arena that, in one way or another, are intended to consolidate Putin's control at home. And that may well be what happened. But, if I'm intellectually honest with myself, I can realize that my sentiment is not evidence for anything particular.

You seem to be assuming, without evidence, that I'm using my sentiments as evidence. ;) Something I wouldn't do even when I'm drunk. Which is never.

For now, none of us has any evidence of who blew up the pipeline or why. To take any proposition of guilt beyond the "that's plausible"-level, we'll need actual evidence.

No real disagreement there. But to naively state that all propositions are equally plausible at this point is epistemologically incorrect.
 

benthamitemetric

Senior Member
I'm merely responding to yours.
Well, no. You are also responding to other posters and accusing them of being pro-Russian.
You seem to be assuming, without evidence, that I'm using my sentiments as evidence. ;) Something I wouldn't do even when I'm drunk. Which is never.
Well, you are certainly liberally mixing your sentiments with your arguments, at least.
No real disagreement there. But to naively state that all propositions are equally plausible at this point is epistemologically incorrect.
If you have figured out a way to determine the truth of something, even probabilistically, without evidence, then please share your rigorous methodology and the probabilities that result from it in this case.
 
Last edited:

qed

Senior Member
Are explosives on the robots really possible (internal from either end)?

Given the amount of gas spewing out, surely the whole pipeline would have exploded?
 

LilWabbit

Senior Member
Well, no. You are also responding to other posters and accusing them of being pro-Russian.

No accusation involved. Just an observation. It's not a crime to be pro-Russian. I'm not a McCarthyist reincarnate. Nor a "commie". I kinda detest both to be very honest.

Well, you are certainly liberally mixing your sentiments with your arguments, at least.

You're assuming a sentiment that's not there based on my usage of words like 'pro-Russian' and 'anti-American' which, in your country, carry a hella lot of historical and political baggage. But not so much in my usage. Perhaps I could have worded it better. But that was the simplest and clearest I could be.

If you have figured a way to determine the truth of something, even probabilistically, without evidence, then please share your rigorous methodology and the probabilities that result from it in this case.

I've already mentioned several criteria above when it comes to determining the greater plausibility of certain propositions concerning this particular case at issue. But for the sake of clarity, let's repeat them again:

A hypothesis demonstrating:

(1) Well the geopolitical and military context surrounding the pipeline sabotage;

(2) A solid operational analysis on the progress of the war in Ukraine;

(3) A decent analysis and understanding of the history of Russian conventional as well as hybrid warfighting tactics;

(4) A solid awareness of Russian war doctrines and the current status of the war in Ukraine;

(5) A historical familiarity with Putin's and Russia's priors in political signalling through similar actions;

And its proponent demonstrating:

(6) A dispassionate and honest overall demeanor;

(7) Non-reliance on purely public news sources while benefitting from networks of other competent experts meeting criteria 1 thru 6 to critically explore/brainstorm all the rival hypotheses with;

(8) Credentials and a good track record in 1 thru 7;

Render the hypothesis more plausible (whilst unproven) than any guess you or I can make based on our sentiments, even if we guess the very same 'culprit' as proposed by the hypothesis.

The fact that such a hypothesis and its proponent, meeting criteria 1 thru 8, may have been formerly or even currently affiliated with the US Government or any other government or agency for that matter, does not in itself automatically invalidate these criteria from being met.
 

occams rusty scissor

Senior Member.
Some fair points, but I think it's a good bet we're not talking about your grandfather/father's limpet mine technology. Advances in energetic chemistry and weapons design, subs (like the US Virginia and UK Astute classes) designed from the ground up to transport/support clandestine underwater missions, highly specialized (and almost certainly classified) underwater gear/support equipment, and operators with the best training in history for such missions would be expected to up the game of limpet type mines and those who deploy them. An educated guess is a trip to the USN's Undersea Warfare Center in RI and/or similar facilities in other nations would be an eye opener.

All that said, I believe if the damage was done by limpet type explosive device(s), it/they were conceived/designed/tested/produced uniquely for this mission. When time is critical, new specialized weapons can be fast tracked. An example was the "bunker buster" bomb used in Desert Storm, from clean sheet of paper to deployment to the ME was less than a month.

Not saying it wasn't an emplaced device, just that limpet mines probably wouldn't be the goto- NEQ of 500kg is way too big. A linear cutting charge or similar would be more appropriate, something used for underwater demolition.

Getting it in there would be the harder bit, a sub would be harder to justify being in the area and a pretty big red flag if caught.
 

LilWabbit

Senior Member
My "gut" for now is 0.66 because I really don't get why Putin would.

I don't blame you. For me it took years to "get into Putin's head" so to speak. Far from claiming I know its contents! But after years of study, debate and professional duties involving Russia and its geopolitical pursuits, some things have started to make sense and even become predictable.
 

occams rusty scissor

Senior Member.
Are explosives on the robots really possible (internal from either end)?

Given the amount of gas spewing out, surely the whole pipeline would have exploded?
Have read a theory that from the inside is possible through the use of a rigged inspection gauge (called a PIG). Sent thru gas pipelines to inspect for leaks/creaks etc. Not sure how feasible it would be, but I guess a consideration?

Pipeline-inspection-gauge-capsule-with-different-types-of-sensor-carriers-mounted.png

These pipeline inspection gauges get sent through high pressure gas lines, called "pigging". Hard to say how easy it'd be for someone to sabotage the process without being obvious or without the blessing of one side or the other.
 

FatPhil

Senior Member.
Are explosives on the robots really possible (internal from either end)?

Given the amount of gas spewing out, surely the whole pipeline would have exploded?
To the latter point - The fuel can't burn without oxygen.
To the former - I would presume it's possible (if there is an internal inspection capability for maintainance purposes, then there needs to be a way of getting bots in[*]), but not possible to get away with it. It's weak, but I'm going to have to resort to an "I can't believe" that the pipeline isn't being monitored such that there would be irrefutable evidence by the other party that such an event occurred. That argument breaks down if the two are in cahoots, but we're heading off into Hollywood territory here.

* Edit: this kind of thing: Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xPMpzpUq8xs
 

FatPhil

Senior Member.
Have read a theory that from the inside is possible through the use of a rigged inspection gauge (called a PIG). Sent thru gas pipelines to inspect for leaks/creaks etc. Not sure how feasible it would be, but I guess a consideration?

Pipeline-inspection-gauge-capsule-with-different-types-of-sensor-carriers-mounted.png

These pipeline inspection gauges get sent through high pressure gas lines, called "pigging". Hard to say how easy it'd be for someone to sabotage the process without being obvious or without the blessing of one side or the other.

Your image isn't one of the ones here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pigging , but there are many equivalent examples. Just for posterity, can we have a source?
A pig has been used as a plot device in three James Bond films: Diamonds Are Forever, where Bond disabled a pig to escape from a pipeline; The Living Daylights, where a pig was modified to secretly transport a person through the Iron Curtain; and The World Is Not Enough, where a pig was used to carry and detonate a nuclear weapon in a pipeline.
Content from External Source
(from the "In Popular Culture" section of that wikipedia page, emphasis mine.) Could it be real life stealing from fiction again?
 

Duke

Active Member
Not saying it wasn't an emplaced device, just that limpet mines probably wouldn't be the goto- NEQ of 500kg is way too big. A linear cutting charge or similar would be more appropriate, something used for underwater demolition.

Getting it in there would be the harder bit, a sub would be harder to justify being in the area and a pretty big red flag if caught.
LSC was my first thought as well, and basically what I had in mind when I mentioned advances in energetic chemistry/weapon designs to upgun a limpet style mine. I have a lot of experience with LSC (on aircraft) fired in air, not sure how it would work underwater. We ran MIL STD 810 environmental tests to induce humidity to ensure our sealed systems didn't allow moisture intrusion. When moisture was present, it affected the cutting jet to the point in some tests the aluminum structure looked more like it had been perforated than cut.

Assuming the offset could be kept constant, I'd think even the thinnest layer of water while underwater would disrupt and diminish the formation of the cutting jet relative to the pipe. Not saying it couldn't/hasn't been done, only that I have no experience in purposely using LSC in that environment. I assume they'd start with a series of Bruceton/coupon tests replicating the structure and environment involved.

I agree, the political decision to deploy a high dollar strategic asset like a nuclear sub into such a scenario wouldn't be taken lightly. All comes down to the significance of the mission from the perspective of and the degree of acceptable risk to a command authority. Maybe some type of mini-sub launched from a full size sub?
 
Last edited:

FatPhil

Senior Member.
There are non-zero incentives for both Norway and OPEC to want this pipeline destroyed. Until they're removed from the list of possibilities, they must remain on the table. Living in a country where Putin's intelligence services have bank-rolled riots (which trashed my favourite pub at the time), I have quite a strong incentive to want to blame Putin, and how it fits in with his MO, but right now I'm refusing to take even the marginal possibilities off the table, and that leaves me with an even lower probability than the two already volunteered. (OK, my Norway probability starts with a decimal point and leading zeroes, so doesn't perturb the equation much.)
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
But do you agree that if/when this is solved, even most of these biased experts will agree with that conclusion. There will be outliers. But me, you, mick, deirdre, and almost all those experts will agree. They will change to meet reality, not the other way around, as your post suggests.
I didn't intend to suggest that. That would require a fair bit of 1984-style reality control!

Most experts agreed that there were no WMD in Iraq. They don't agree that their assessment was bad. (See my quote above.)
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
What about insurance? I read that the maintenance and penalty fees the company (G***) was getting from not running the pipelines was wicked expensive.

i know i sound like the 9/11 cters who think Silverstein blew up the Twin Towers for the insurance money... but ... is that a possibility? The owner blew it up to stop the fees and get the insurance? Is blowing up a pipeline something a company can do itself?

**Gazprom
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
Have read a theory that from the inside is possible through the use of a rigged inspection gauge (called a PIG). Sent thru gas pipelines to inspect for leaks/creaks etc. Not sure how feasible it would be, but I guess a consideration?

Pipeline-inspection-gauge-capsule-with-different-types-of-sensor-carriers-mounted.png

These pipeline inspection gauges get sent through high pressure gas lines, called "pigging". Hard to say how easy it'd be for someone to sabotage the process without being obvious or without the blessing of one side or the other.
The PIGs are driven by the gas pressure as it is moving through the pipeline; unless you opened the valve at the German end, a Russian PIG couldn't get underway and vice versa. This would be more likely if the pipelines hadn't been shut down..

I don't know if a PIG could move the amount of explosives required. I also expect PIG parts would unavoidably remain at the site, providing evidence of the operation—unless the PIG was rigged to leave its load behind on a timer. (It would still arrive at the German end then, or remain stuck in the pipeline.)

For plausibility, if I was using a PIG, I'd try to have it detonate at more depth, to have the site less accessible. But maybe external water pressure would protect the pipe more in that case?
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
If this was an externally executed sabotage, who'd have the capability of carrying it out?

USA and Russia, obviously.

Some smaller states? Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Lithuania? Sweden has its own submarines, I expect they could?

Does it have to be a "state actor"? Could a villain billionaire hire a team of mercenaries and do it?

What I'm getting at is, can we narrow this down based on capability, or is this sufficiently low-tech (and the expertise and explosives easy enough to come by) that it's hopeless?
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
What about insurance? I read that the maintenance and penalty fees the company (G***) was getting from not running the pipelines was wicked expensive.
Gazprom has a huge budget, I'd be surprised if this was a consideration.
And this reasoning does not apply to Nordstream 2, which was/is being blocked by Germany.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
And this reasoning does not apply to Nordstream 2, which was/is being blocked by Germany.
i dont think they at means they'd not have any insurance on it.?

this insurance thing, as im researching sounds way too complicated for me though! multiple companies, sanctions against insurance companies, etc.

did just read this though, which is the first i'd heard (they can still pump some gas). no idea what kind of source this "euroactiv" is:
Article:
Gazprom said Nord Stream 2’s ‘B’ line could still export gas to Europe, if a decision were made to start deliveries.

Nord Stream 1 had been fully functional before Russia reduced and then stopped gas flows over the past six months, citing non-payment in Russian roubles and technical problems.

But the recently completed Nord Stream 2 has never come online, since Germany, where it makes landfall, froze the authorisation process as Russia was preparing to invade Ukraine.

“If a decision is made to start deliveries through Nord Stream 2’s line B, natural gas will be pumped into the pipeline after the integrity of the system has been checked and verified by supervisory authorities,” it said.
 

Duke

Active Member
If this was an externally executed sabotage, who'd have the capability of carrying it out?

USA and Russia, obviously.

Some smaller states? Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Lithuania? Sweden has its own submarines, I expect they could?

Does it have to be a "state actor"? Could a villain billionaire hire a team of mercenaries and do it?

What I'm getting at is, can we narrow this down based on capability, or is this sufficiently low-tech (and the expertise and explosives easy enough to come by) that it's hopeless?
https://www.globalfirepower.com/navy-submarines.php

I wondered the same thing when this was first announced. According to globalfirepower.com, there are forty-two nations that have submarines. Many of them are doubtful considering the age/seaworthiness/capabilities of their subs. You could also eliminate those nations that do not possess SoFs trained and equipped for such missions. (And obviously little to be gained considering any nation that has no dog in this fight, like Argentina or Singapore.)

As to what nations could have done this independently, off the top of my head I'd say the US, Russia, China, UK, France, India, RoK, DPRK, Japan, Australia, Germany, Sweden, Turkey, Pakistan, Brazil, and maybe Taiwan. Other smaller NATO nations would probably need to operate within an integrated NATO force to pull something like this off.

I would think it would take a James Bondesque supervillain to do it outside of a nation state. Unfortunately my "Soldier of Fortune" subscription expired and I'm not up to speed on my mercenary forces these days.:)
 

JMartJr

Senior Member
Given the amount of gas spewing out, surely the whole pipeline would have exploded?
Somebody check my chemistry, but barring mixture with oxygen down at the leak, I dont seethat it could explode or burn at all. You could presumably get a neat SFX-looking fire going on the surface where the gas is bubbling if you stood well back and tossed a match...
 

LilWabbit

Senior Member
Most experts agreed that there were no WMD in Iraq. They don't agree that their assessment was bad. (See my quote above.)

You're conflating known failures in pre-fact intel (preceding ISG discovery of non-significant WMD stockpiles in Iraq) with post-fact hypothesization of a possible cause (following an act of sabotage on Nord Stream pipelines). Those are very different types of analysis where the predictive type (pre-fact intel) never benefits from direct observation (brute fact) of what's being predicted and thereby adding another layer of uncertainty. The post-fact type is closer to so-called basic research in science.

The underlying intelligence, according to the Senate Report on Pre-war Intelligence on Iraq, (an exercise which actually demonstrated self-criticism of US intelligence on the part of US authorities rather than a posture of bias and justification which you claimed) was too limited and sketchy and did not justify the conclusions and judgments arrived through a kind of uncritical group-think amongst many analysts:

Article:
Most of the major key judgments in the Intelligence Community's October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), Iraq's Continuing Programs for Weapons of Mass Destruction, either overstated, or were not supported by, the underlying intelligence reporting. A series of failures, particularly in analytic trade craft, led to the mischaracterization of the intelligence.


In other words, the intelligence itself wasn't at fault but rather the hasty conclusions made based on it. A more rigorous and disciplined intelligence analysis would have graded the underlying intelligence as 'unreliable' or 'untested', and thereby it would not have drawn any conclusions. A desire to produce conclusions that please policy-makers is a known challenge and a risk of bias amongst senior intelligence officers in most intelligence apparati the world over. The US is no different. Russia seems to have suffered from the same scourge especially of late, resulting in poorly informed decisions.

Having myself regularly attended closed-door military intelligence updates throughout my career and read written intelligence reports, standard reports almost invariably distinguish between a confirmed fact and the conclusion based on it, an untested source and a tested and reliable source. The report format is usually such that it allows us viewers/readers to determine for ourselves whether the conclusions made by the analysts are warranted, an over-reach or unnecessarily muted given the level of intelligence they're basing them on.
 
Top