Module 1: Defining Critical ThinkingThere are some who say a lack of critical thinking was responsible for several intelligence failures in the past 50 years. For example, key assumptions have been made in the past that negated our ability to foresee important changes in the world, such as the unification of Germany, the fall of the Soviet empire and the testing of nuclear weapons by Pakistan. In the case of the unification of Germany, the U.S. believed that the Soviets would intervene, militarily, to prohibit it. In the case of the fall of the Soviets, we believed that the empire was around to stay. These assumptions (also known as ‘conventional wisdom’) stopped us from being prepared for these changes (CIA, 2005, p.3). Other key assumptions that were proved wrong were the components of the profile developed in the DC Sniper Case (2002). The assumptions were that the sniper was acting alone, was a white male, and was driving a white van. The CIA noted that rejecting these assumptions could have left law enforcement open
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