Jul 26, 2017

Shortsighted intelligence review lavished with praise

Australia has a shallow gene pool when it comes to intelligence commentary and the response to the latest intelligence review shows it.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

If the L'Estrange-Merchant review demonstrated the narrow, empire-building mentality of Australia's national security bureaucracy -- both those currently in office, and those who have since left -- its coverage has demonstrated the shallow gene pool of Australian national security commentary.

Detailed coverage of the report in the media has been paltry, and has relied heavily on the usual suspects from the national security and defence commentariat. Thus, the Financial Review today offers a review of former senior bureaucrats Michael L’Estrange and Stephen Merchant's report, from Rory Medcalf and offsider Jay Caldwell. Medcalf, who these days heads ANU's National Security College, is a former Office of National Assessments officer, diplomat and Defence White paper panellist. Caldwell is a former security bureaucrat from, inter alia, the Office of National Assessments.

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4 thoughts on “Shortsighted intelligence review lavished with praise

  1. leon knight

    Probably universities are only interested in hiring people with the same experience, instead of getting some original thinking going – in these uncertain times a different learned viewpoint or two would be very valuable – I turn to the futurist David Houle if I want to get some idea of what lies ahead for the world….

  2. James O'Neill

    “Hugh White is always around to wonder how we can better serve the interests of Beijing.”
    Bernard, this is an offensive comment and undeserving of you. Professor White is one of the very few academics in this country that perceived the nature of the changing geopolitical balance in the world, and in East Asia in particular. This is not the first time Crikey has defamed him and as i suggested on a previous occasion when Crikey ran an equally offensive and ill-informed piece by you little red blog correspondent, the least you could do is offer Professor White space for an opinion piece. It is ironic that you should head your piece on the shallow gene pool in Australia for intelligence (& intelligent?) commentary and then demonstrate that shallowness. If Crikey doesn’t have the wit to run intelligent analysis on foreign affairs, then stay away from the topic altogether. You only embarrass yourself with nonsense such as this.

  3. AR

    I have never known an intelligence analyst who was any good who was also a normal person – whether the job attracts odd people or makes ‘normal’ people weird is debatable, perhaps worth an article or five – but, as noted often (among others Clemenceau, I think), “war is too important to be left to generals” so intelligence and the affects thereof should never, ever be the sole remit of spook and their analysts.
    Least of all the ONAnists who did such a sterling job of advising the Rodent on Iraq.

  4. Barbara Haan

    BERNARD, YOU HAVE PREVIOUSLY FAILED TO ANSWER MY QUESTION, are ASIO AND ASIS NOW CONSIDERED TO BE TOTALLY SEPARATE ENTITIES? We know JBish was not pleased and didn’t turn up to vote on PeDuts’ new mega Dept. Is it just that you’re ignorant, or….?

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