Former U.S. Intelligence Analysis Chief to Receive Award at Oxford
Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence is pleased to announce the selection of Thomas Fingar for its annual award for integrity in intelligence. Dr. Fingar served from 2005 to 2008 as Deputy Director of National Intelligence for Analysis and as chairman of the National Intelligence Council – the office that produces National Intelligence Estimates.
Dr. Fingar oversaw the landmark 2007 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iran, which concluded with “high confidence” that Iran had halted its nuclear weapon design and weaponization work in 2003. The NIE was issued with the unanimous approval of all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies. Its key judgments have been revalidated every year since by the Director of National Intelligence.
In keeping with the ethos of intelligence analysis, the Estimate was aimed solely at arriving at the truth about Iran’s nuclear program. It began with a bottom-up assessment of existing evidence but benefited also from intelligence acquired and analyzed in 2007.
The Estimate’s findings were a marked departure from earlier assessments of Iran’s nuclear program. Thus, the White House instructed the drafters to create an unclassified version of the key judgments for publication. Public reaction, plus strong opposition by senior military officers to war on Iran, played a key role in thwarting plans by the Bush/Cheney administration to launch war in 2008.
In his memoir “Decision Points,” former President Bush acknowledged that the “eye-popping” findings of the 2007 NIE stayed his hand: “How could I possibly explain using the military to destroy the nuclear facilities of a country the intelligence community said had no active nuclear weapons program?”
Sam Adams Associates will present the award to Dr. Fingar on January 23rd at the Oxford Union, Oxford University, where he will teach a course on global trends and transnational issues as part of Stanford University’s Bing Overseas Studies Program – a course open to Oxford students, as well. He will also give guest lectures and public talks while at Oxford (January-March).
At Stanford, Dr. Fingar is the inaugural Oksenberg-Rohlen Distinguished Fellow in the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies. Before taking the helm at the National Intelligence Council in 2005, Dr. Fingar served as Assistant Secretary of State in charge of the Bureau of Intelligence and Research (2004–2005), its principal deputy (2001–2003), and head of analysis (1994–2000).
Thomas Fingar holds a PhD in political science from Stanford. His most recent book is Reducing Uncertainty: Intelligence Analysis and National Security (Stanford University Press, 2011).