Personal and academic blog. Explores the borderlands between rhetoric, politics and intelligence.


Intelligence and journalism

I have flown back and now I sit in my bed with a late night view of London and the flickering, drunken lights of Saturday night.

While in Denmark I had the opportunity to see the movie "Kongekabale", a political thriller of nifty quality as well as attend a seminar with the American rhetorician Michael Leff on agency and ethos. Both of those events led me to ponder over the similarities of journalism and intelligence.

After seeing the movie I thought "Intelligence is just shoddy investigative journalism". This of course isn't right - but the kernel here is that investigative journalism have that criteria for judgement that intelligence so often lacks - is it making the world a better place in a moral sense or not?

This isn't fair to intelligence, as it probably can have the same effect. But outside spy-novels it doesn't do it in such a sexy and seductive way. Furthermore you sometimes get the impression that some intelligence-work doesn't have to show the same burden of proof as investigative journalism.

The bottom-line here is a thing that I have been circling before: Intelligence-agencies should have a lot of use for journalists. And in connection to this, an open milieu of dissent and discussion and a drop of gung-ho anarchy perhaps (which seems to work so well for journalists).

It might be the enrapturing lights there, outside, but I envision creative settings like those who sprung up around the IT industry in the 90s - spies and intelligence analysts playing table-football and brainstorming in bag-chairs over Al Qaeda's latest ploy drinking vats of caffe latté.


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