Know all ye by these presents that Thomas Fingar is hereby awarded the Corner-Brightener Candlestick, presented by Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence.
In 2005, when Tom Fingar assumed responsibility for supervising the preparation of National Intelligence Estimates (NIEs), the discipline of intelligence analysis had been corrupted on both sides of the Atlantic. We know from the Downing Street Minutes of July 23, 2002 that “the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy” prior to the US/UK attack on Iraq.
Integrity and professionalism were the only cure. 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. That 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.
The Estimate’s findings were a marked departure from earlier assessments of Iran’s nuclear program. That it was instrumental in thwarting an attack on Iran is seen in President George W. Bush’s own memoir in which he complains 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?”
Presented this 23rd day of January 2013 at Oxford University by admirers of the example set by our former colleague, Sam Adams.
Remarks by Sam Adams Associates Annie Machon, Tom Drake, Ann Wright, Brady Kiesling, and Craig Murray
At Award Ceremony Honoring Thomas Fingar
Oxford Union Debating Chamber, January 23, 2013 (23 min.)
Sam Adams Award for Integrity in Intelligence
Debating Chamber, Oxford Union, Jan. 23, 2013