E-PUB: The Case of Iraq's Aluminum Tubes
This publication includes a case study narrative and a case solution.
Learn how critical thinking skills for dealing with politicization, conducting a premortem assessment of your analysis, portraying probability and levels of confidence were applied in this case study.
In 2002, the United States Intelligence Community (IC) published a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) asserting that Iraq was continuing to develop nuclear weapons. Moreover, it judged that the aluminum tubes that Iraq was procuring from China were destined for a gas centrifuge assembly that would produce highly enriched uranium for nuclear weapons. In the aftermath of the Gulf War a few years later, IC analysts—and several major post-mortem studies—concluded that the foundation for the key findings in the NIE was solely analytic with no evidentiary underpinning, evidence inconsistent with their key finding was ignored, and more consideration should have been given to adding a null hypothesis as a credible alternative explanation. A review of this case study would reveal which key critical thinking principles and techniques were used in answering the following questions:
- How Do I Deal with Politicization?
- How Might I Be Spectacularly Wrong?
- How Should I Portray Probability, Levels of Confidence, and Quantitative Data?
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