I find it curious that the recent leaks to the Post and the Times about the National Intelligence Estimate recently issued seem to say that because of the Iraqi war we have more terrorists then we did before:
The classified National Intelligence Estimate attributes a more direct role to the Iraq war in fueling radicalism than that presented either in recent White House documents or in a report released Wednesday by the House Intelligence Committee, according to several officials in Washington involved in preparing the assessment or who have read the final document.
So let me see…..fanatics inside Islam didn’t hate us as much prior to the Iraqi invasion? Ok then, please explain 9/11 itself. Why were we attacked with such viciousness and violence if there really wasnt that much radicalism? How about the Afghanistan invasion, they were a little bit miffed about that also. The Danish cartoons? Our support for Israel? Our support for the Saudi royal family?
Maybe Mark Mazzetti, the Times author, could explain why were attacked in Beirut 83′, NYC 93′, Africa 98′, Cole 00′, if the “radicalism” wasn’t as deeply “fueled”?
Please note that there has not been an attack against American interests since 9/11. Does this mean we are actually winning this thing? Well, there can be no doubt we have been for the last five years. We have taken the fight to them overseas, just as Bush wanted, and it’s working.
But instead we get this kind of hyperbole from the Times about a document none of us can see.
Thankfully the author of In From The Cold, a former intelligence agent, has been able to talk to those who have actually seen the thing and they come away with a completely different assessment:
According to members of the intel community who have seen the document, the NIE is actually fair and balanced (to coin a phrase), noting both successes and failures in the War on Terror–and identifying potential points of failure for the jihadists.~~~
In one of its early paragraphs, the estimate notes progress in the struggle against terrorism, stating the U.S.-led efforts have “seriously damaged Al Qaida leadership and disrupted its operations.” Didn’t see that in the NYT article.
Or how about this statement, which–in part–reflects the impact of increased pressure on the terrorists: “A large body of reporting indicates that people identifying themselves as jihadists is increasing…however, they are largely decentralized, lack a coherent strategy and are becoming more diffuse.” Hmm…doesn’t sound much like Al Qaida’s pre-9-11 game plan.
This sentence pretty much kills the Times assertion that the Iraqi war is “fueling radicalism”:
And, some indication that the “growing” jihad may be pursuing the wrong course: “There is evidence that violent tactics are backfiring…their greatest vulnerability is that their ultimate political solution (shar’a law) is unpopular with the vast majority of Muslims.” Seems to contradict MSM accounts of a jihadist tsunami with ever-increasing support in the global Islamic community..
Did the Times just ignore these sentences? You bet your ass they did. They went right to any statement that would describe the Iraqi war in a negative context. It’s a textbook case of the bias in our MSM. Powerline agree’s:
In my addendum to this post by Paul, I repeated a point I’ve made several times before: one of the sinister aspects of leaks of classified information is that they are by nature selective. The leaker has access to lots of material, but he doesn’t leak it all: he only leaks what he thinks will best serve his political agenda. The recent leaks of alleged conclusions from the National Intelligence Estimate that was completed last spring is a perfect case in point. Paul and I talked about an article in the Washington Post by a reporter who obviously had not read the report. All she could do was pass on the Democrat leaker’s spin. Which, in all likelihood, she was happy to do.
The only way to combat this would be to declassify this document and embarrass the paper once again. An editorial at the Wall Street Journal agree:
Since some of our spooks are leaking selectively to make the President look bad, Mr. Bush should return the favor by letting the public inspect the quality of analysis that their tax dollars are buying.
Releasing the NIE would also show that the White House has learned something since 2003, which is when the last pre-election bout of selective intelligence leaks began. That leak du jour claimed that an October 2002 NIE had contradicted Mr. Bush’s claims in his State of the Union address about Iraq seeking uranium in Africa. We happened to gain access to the complete NIE, however, and reported on July 17, 2003, that the leaked accounts were incomplete and misleading. The Senate Intelligence Committee vindicated our account a year later, but the Bush Administration could have reduced the political damage by declassifying that 2002 NIE immediately.
And guess what? We may get our wish:
The Bush administration said on Tuesday it may declassify an intelligence report in order to respond to Democrats who say the document shows the Iraq war has been a distraction from the war on terrorism.
White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said officials were “giving serious consideration” to releasing the National Intelligence Estimate on the U.S. terrorism threat to demonstrate that the section being seized on by Democrats is only one part of the overall picture.
The Democrats trumped once again. When will they ever learn to stop underestimating President Bush?
The Political Pit Bull has the video of Bush announcing he will declassify the NIE:
Here is the MSNBC report on the announcement by Bush:
“Some people have guessed what’s in the report and concluded that going into Iraq was a mistake. I strongly disagree,” Bush said, referring to a New York Times report over the weekend that described what it said were conclusions from the classified analysis made last April.
The key judgments from the analysis will be released “as quickly as possible,” he added.
Bush said he had directed National Intelligence Director John Negroponte to declassify those parts of the report that don’t compromise national security.
“You read it for yourself. Stop all this speculation,” Bush told a reporter who asked about the analysis.
The head of the Intelligence disagrees with the Times and the Post it seems:
National Intelligence Director John Negroponte acknowledged Monday that the jihad in Iraq is shaping a new generation of terrorist operatives, but rejected characterizations stemming from a leaked intelligence estimate that the United States is at a greater risk of attack than it was in September 2001.
Rather, he said, the high-level assessment from the nation’s top analysts doesn’t “really talk about” an increased threat inside the U.S. border.
“We are certainly more vigilant. We are better prepared,” said Negroponte. “We are safer. The threat to the homeland itself has — if anything — been reduced since 9/11.”
Anyone remember this?
Following is the text of a memo written by a Democrat on the staff of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence that suggests how to make the greatest gain off of intelligence data leading to the war against Iraq. The memo was obtained by Fox News.
We have carefully reviewed our options under the rules and believe we have identified the best approach. Our plan is as follows:
1) Pull the majority along as far as we can on issues that may lead to major new disclosures regarding improper or questionable conduct by administration officials. We are having some success in that regard.[…]
2) Assiduously prepare Democratic “additional views” to attach to any interim or final reports the committee may release. Committee rules provide this opportunity and we intend to take full advantage of it. In that regard, we have already compiled all the public statements on Iraq made by senior administration officials. We will identify the most exaggerated claims and contrast them with the intelligence estimates that have since been declassified.[…]
3) Prepare to launch an independent investigation when it becomes clear we have exhausted the opportunity to usefully collaborate with the majority. We can pull the trigger on an independent investigation at any time– but we can only do so once.[…]
Intelligence issues are clearly secondary to the public’s concern regarding the insurgency in Iraq. Yet, we have an important role to play in the revealing the misleading — if not flagrantly dishonest methods and motives — of the senior administration officials who made the case for a unilateral, preemptive war. The approach outline above seems to offer the best prospect for exposing the administration’s dubious motives and methods.
Any wonder this leak came a few weeks prior to the November elections?