Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Charles Kesler

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The American public’s wellbeing rests on the ability of policymakers to enact informed policy. In order for policymakers to be productive in the forging of policy, they must be presented with unbiased intelligence analysis. Thus policymakers must maintain a healthy relationship with the intelligence community in order to receive accurate intelligence reports. Avoiding politicization is paramount to maintaining a healthy intelligence-policymaker relationship. Throughout the past half-century, American politicians and members of the U.S. intelligence community have sought to minimize their own political opinions when dealing with matters of national security. This thesis explores and describes the relationship between intelligence and policymaking, and examines closely how politicization of national security matters strains that relationship. It will focus on two case studies; the first concerning the Kennedy administration and the second the Trump administration. I address hostile intra-administration relations within the Kennedy administration and relate those complications to the current tensions between Trump and his intelligence services. It is concluded that for executives, the use of confidants to conduct foreign policy negotiations and to deliberate on national security matters generates resentment and distrust from intelligence agencies. Associating with the Russian government is also a major factor leading to rifts in this relationship. For the intelligence community, biased analysis, leaks, and undermining policy positions all contribute to decreases in policymaker’s confidence in their work. These forms of politicization hamper healthy intelligence-policymaker relations and lead to ineffective policy initiatives. President Trump must work with his intelligence community to curb these forms of politicization if he is to have a successful and productive presidency.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.