Saturday, August 11, 2007

Reliability of Debka.com

I first heard of Debka.com five year ago around the time of the run-up of tension leading to the invasion of Iraq. I looked at it, saw a lot of eye-opening claims and queried someone who is a legitimate expert on security in the Middle East and they said that Debka had real reliability problems and were basically not credible at all. A lot of intelligence data is very sketchy, very vague, very ambiguous, and frequently very wrong. Debka appears to ignore all of these limitations and compound the problem by filling in the "gaps" and "connecting the dots" with the intelligence equivalent of its own "special sauce." The resulting intelligence "reports" are in fact very interesting, but not really useful at all. Still, people who should know better feel obligated to pay attention to Debka on the off chance that maybe on accasion they might in fact have stumbled on some legitimate, hard-core, actionable intelligence.

Debka just got a lot of attention because of an article in The New York Times by Cara Buckley entitled "Claim of Plot to Strike City Unfounded, Officials Say" which discusses the latest alert in New York City concerning an alleged threat of a radiological terrorist attack.

If they had simply said "Debka" upfront, people would know not to give the "report" any credence.

But, if you are really into conspiracy theories, Debka is a must-visit web site.

-- Jack Krupansky

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