John Negroponte has been nominated by GW Bush to be the US's first Director of National Intelligence. My initial reaction was generally positive (given some of the other possibilities) - the choice was a surprise yet made a lot of sense; he'll surely coast through the confirmation process; he's patently very able; he's half-European and born in London, and seems affected by it; and, above all else, he's not Porter Goss. But then he went up to the microphone to respond to the president's introduction, and my spirits sank.
Providing timely and objective national intelligence to you, the Congress, the departments and agencies, and to our uniformed military services is a critical national task -- critical to our international posture, critical to the prevention of international terrorism, and critical to our homeland security.
'Objective intelligence' is an ideal that is unachievable in the real world. The most the president's daily intelligence briefer ought aspire to is to present intelligence as objectively as is humanly possible. The president and his advisers then need to receive it as objectively as they can, and not try to read into it whatever they subjectively might want it to contain. When people believe that intelligence is objective, they stop being scientific about intelligence and don't take into account human fallibility. I hope John Negroponte understands this or else he's a bad pick..