Would you like to tell me what does "trade craft" mean below?


"A series of failures, particularly in analytic trade craft, led to the mischaracterization of intelligence" about Iraqi weapons programs, the committee concluded, according to the report. Cin
Trade or craft usually refers to specialized skills or knowledge. Here is the Merriam Webster definition for [url="http://www.m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary?book=Dictionary&va=craft&x=16&y=14"]craft[/url].

1 : skill in planning, making, or executing : DEXTERITY
2 : an occupation or trade requiring manual dexterity or artistic skill
3 : skill in deceiving to gain an end
4 : the members of a trade or trade association

So what this sentence is saying is....

"A series of failures, particularly associated with those individuals who gather intelligence such as spies and analysts, let to the mischaracterization of...."

The trade and/or craft is intelligence gathering. After many years of experience, you will have developed a network of contacts that will provide an accurate asseessment and you will be better able to determine valuable information from noise. Intelligence gathering and assessment is like any other valuable skillset.

Hope that helps.
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Still, there is one thing remaining a puzzle for me. That is, according to your explanation -- trade equals to craft here, I could not understand why the writer wanted to put the the same words together. Why not drop one of them to make the description terser?

Ah hah! Go to Merriam-Webster dictionary for [url="http://www.m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary?va=tradecraft "]tradecraft[/url] and you will find the following:

Main Entry: trade·craft
Pronunciation: 'trAd-"kraft
Function: noun
: the techniques and procedures of espionage"tradecraft"

Now it all makes sense.

It should be one word "tradecraft" rather than two, I believe.

I have never seen that word before, though I have seen "trade" and "craft" often. So you need to modify my prior explanation somewhat.

I learned something new.
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