Bureau of Intelligence and Research

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A relatively little-known member of the United States intelligence community, the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Intelligence and Research is a pure analytical agency, with an excellent reputation for their work. As opposed to most other IC members, other than diplomatic reporting, they have no collection capability. They do, however, have access to all-source material from other agencies, and they have no vested interest in any particular collection stovepiping. While the analogy is not at all perfect, there are some similarities between their role and that done by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.

In addition to its analysis as part of the IC, it generates reporting of specific use to diplomats. Since many of its staff have direct diplomatic experience, they have a sense of the kind of information that a working diplomat needs. There have been complaints by diplomatic personnel that, for example, a Central Intelligence Agency report has far too much background material, with which a Foreign Service Officer assigned to the country in question knows extremely well. The CIA analyst preparing that report, however, may have to make the report readable by a political appointee or subject matter specialist that does not have the same background.

INR deals with the intergovernmental aspects of counterintelligence, intelligence cooperation, and law enforcement. They are also the focal point for international boundary issues, and other matters of political geography, for the U.S. government. While the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency might provide the precise terrain map of a disputed area, INR will eventually be responsible for drawing the jurisdictional lines followed by all U.S. agencies.