Improper Use of Intelligence that Led to the Iraq War

With the ending of the Cold War and a diminished requirement to concentrate with the fall of The Soviet Union, most onlookers assumed that the Intelligence group was seeking fresh tasks to defend its survival. Opposite to popular belief, the Commission discovered that the primary objectives of United States intelligence had stayed essentially unchanged (Gill, 2020). Although intelligence needs and objectives were shifted apart from Cold War goals, the tasks that intelligence organizations must fulfill have not altered much since the Cold War’s conclusion (Pfiffner, 2018). That is not to say that Intelligence’s duties and purposes must or should remain unchanged. Every government must define the parameters for intelligence operations and, in those principles, create precise needs and goals for the performance of such efforts quickly.

However, Intelligence has remained a contribution of the United States from the Nation’s inception. Though it has taken numerous forms across history, Intelligence has traditionally served an important part in delivering assistance to United States armed troops and defining US foreign policy regarding different nations. An intelligence mistake is a misinterpretation of a scenario that causes a country or its armed units to adopt improper and unhelpful measures to their security—thinking that all human activity, even intellect, would remain error-free (Pillar, 2018). Opponents can be underrated or exaggerated, and occurrences that might be foreseeable can turn out to be unexpected. Since intelligence operations are a collaborative endeavor, several characteristics of the organizational setting assist in understanding failures. The deadliest form of intelligence failure can be an unexpected assault.

Improper Use of Intelligence that Led to the Iraq War

Before the US-backed Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi departed Iran in 1978, the Intelligence community reportedly assessed that “Iran is never within a revolutionary or possibly a pre-revolutionary scenario”(Karam, 2017). The lavish ruler had spent decades seeking to develop Iran, stimulate economic development, gain goodwill with the US and even demonstrate the area’s power. According to everyone’s understanding, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini gained leadership in the Islamic Revolutionary of 1979, causing a schism for both the Iranian government and the US, which has lasted until now. The King was an essential American collaborator during Cold War warfare, primarily when the United States assisted with the overthrow of nationalistic Premier Mohammad Mosaddeq and initiated a monetary and security assistance policy in the country (Murray & Scales, 2020). Because Iran borders the former Soviet Union, the US had unrivaled intelligence abilities and the Persian Gulf resources.  However, in the early 1970s, the Shah’s socioeconomic policies, anti-religious approach, and the tendency for authoritarian measures were being greeted with hostility by Islamic priests, nobles, and experts everywhere.

According to the US, a representative in the National Security Council, the government had revised its intelligence operations within Iran in the run-up to the rebellion in subservience to the Shah. This contributed to the government executives encompassing general Iranian discontent of the Shah and the United States and underplaying the religious opponent’s capacity to destabilize the Shah. By the moment the United States President became knowledgeable of the progressively murderous protests and rallies, this seemed too late to avert what the president’s Defense Secretary explained as “the breakdown of Iran” or rather the emergence of a “leadership crisis” that would be occupied by ones dedicated to the Soviet Bloc (Murray & Scales, 2020). Nonetheless, according to a Georgetown University review in 2004, the intelligence agencies issued warnings about the Shah’s diminishing authority and the religious opponents’ increasing power and influence. In addition, the internal strife and President’s Carter government’s obsessiveness with Egyptian-Israeli diplomatic discussions were attributed to the US short-sightedness toward Iran (DeFronzo, 2018). Although the collapse of Shah affected numerous countries, the incompetence of the intelligence Agencies garnered so much criticism, particularly in a newly disclosed post-mortem by Robert Jervis.

The Iran instance allows to examine shortcomings at every level of information in the intelligence process, including workload, collecting, computing, assessment, and distribution. Even when information about Shah’s mounting fragility was revealed, the United States remained silent. Diplomatic information was partially to blame. The Shah’s choice of not using overwhelming power to quash the protests remained a surprise. The Intelligence could not enter the Shah’s psychological environment and was unaware that America’s communication was staggeringly conflicting again for Shah (DeFronzo, 2018). The leader was urged to use lethal measures in response to protestors while continuing reform measures. A deeper analysis of the accessible documentation, including a significant, previously Top Highly classified evaluation task, reveals that massive mistakes undoubtedly happened. The experts and battlefield intelligence officers submitted a handful of comprehensive findings on this ideological condition of the story. It ranged from the existence and significance of the Shaah’s religious opponents that merely could never have reached the upper ranks of judgment-call in the White House (Karam, 2017). It further cast a bright focus on the United States intelligence service, which had the job of predicting precisely this type of unrest throughout the globe, particularly in an area as critical as the middle East, but underperformed in significant ways.


Intelligence failure is frequently caused by institutional flaws across the intelligence process and may be traced back to the political and organizational array. To safeguard the Nation, legislators depend on Intelligence to assess prospective dangers and adopt well-founded defense and police initiatives (Gill, 2020). Legislators frequently presume that the intelligence agency can collect Intelligence to produce comprehensive danger analyses to support ‘complete safety’ strategy decisions. The refusal to investigate alternate answers and confirm information reveals intelligence failure due to inadequate and ineffective intelligence collecting and processing(Pillar, 2018). While the Intelligence should be considered somewhat responsible for its participation in the intelligence breakdown that contributed to the Iraq conflict, the political structure must bear the rest.

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DeFronzo, J. (2018). The Iraq war: Origins and consequences. Routledge.

Gill, P. (2020). Explaining Intelligence Failure: Rethinking the Recent Terrorist Attacks in Europe. International Journal of Intelligence and CounterIntelligence, 33(1), 43–67.

Karam, J. G. (2017). Missing revolution: The American intelligence failure in Iraq, 1958. Intelligence and National Security, 32(6), 693–709.

Murray, W., & Scales, R. H. (2020). The Iraq War. In The Iraq War. Harvard University Press.

Pfiffner, J. P. (2018). Decisionmaking, Intelligence, and the Iraq war. In Intelligence and national security policymaking on Iraq (pp. 213–232). Manchester University Press.

Pillar, P. R. (2018). Intelligence, policy, and the war in Iraq. In Intelligence and national security policymaking on Iraq (pp. 233–244). Manchester University Press.