There are several verities about intelligence that seem to dominate the current discussions about intelligence.
First, there isn’t enough of it.
Second, it is often faulty.
Third, it is regularly leaked.
The first two verities are discussed on a daily basis across the web, and in newspapers and news broadcasts on radio and TV.
The third verity is just as ever-present but is rarely mentioned by the news media. They know about the leaks, of course, but since they live off such gifts of information, they are not likely to complain about them.
But all those leaks have a corrosive effect on the entire intelligence process. If documents from your safe keep showing up in the newspapers or some web site, you might be willing to consider changing the combination of the safe. Or, you might be willing to plant some faked document in your safe to see if you could fool your enemies into believing it.
Such things happen in the real world. If you can keep the source in the dark about what intelligence you are getting, you stand the best chance of keeping the source open and flowing. If not, the source dries up, or worse yet, feeds you bogus information. Either way, as the saying goes, the well has been poisoned.
It isn’t easy to construct a “what if” bridge to extrapolate what we might know today if sources hadn’t dried up, or if the well hadn’t been poisoned.
Perhaps it’s time to take a look at the legislation and trial processes that leakers believe protect them when they poison the well.