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British Public Confidence in MI6 and Government Use of Intelligence: The Effect on Support for Preventive Military Action

Davies, GAM and Johns, R (2012) 'British Public Confidence in MI6 and Government Use of Intelligence: The Effect on Support for Preventive Military Action.' Intelligence and National Security, 27 (5). pp. 669-688. ISSN 0268-4527

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There are considerable concerns about public perceptions of intelligence stemming directly from the highly politicized nature of intelligence estimates in the run-up to the US-UK invasion of Iraq in 2003. In this article we use a new public attitudes dataset to provide the first ever analysis of British public confidence in MI6 and Government use of intelligence. The article demonstrates that the public have relatively high confidence in the intelligence produced by MI6 but are extremely sceptical about how the Government will present that intelligence. Using an ordered logit model this article then examines the factors that influence public perceptions of both intelligence and Government, finding that women are a lot less confident in both the intelligence services and government presentation of intelligence than men, suggesting that this might help explain gender differences in support for military action. The study also demonstrates that party identifiers and Catholics have very low confidence in the intelligence produced by MI6. The study shows that public confidence in both government and intelligence has a strong effect on support for preventive military action against terror camps, suggesting that the intelligence agencies need to avoid being contaminated by political agendas as much as possible if the intelligence case for future military actions is to be supported by the public.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Special Issue: A Decade of Intelligence Beyond 9/11: Security, Diplomacy and Human Rights
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences
Faculty of Social Sciences > Government, Department of
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 18 Sep 2013 12:37
Last Modified: 15 Jan 2022 01:11

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