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25 September 2006


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So if the US doesn't like reality - they simply engineer a better one that supports their views? Nice.


There have been quite a few controversies over NIEs in the past decade. My favorite was the ruckus caused by NIE 95-19 "The Ballistic Missile Threat to the United States" NIE published in 1995. Missile defense advocates blew a gasket because the NIE concluded no countries besides Russia and China would be capable of deploying a missile which can hit the US before 2010. All kinds of slander were directed at the NIO (Dr. Dave Osias) who oversaw that NIE, and the Rumsfeld Commission (remember that?) was established to debunk the document. Now we're getting close to 2010, and guess what, the conclusions of 95-19 has mostly withstood the test of time. Let's see who will have been correct come 2010.



The 2002 Iraq NIE (which was forced from an unwilling Tenet (CIA) (by a Sen Graham D, Fla...at the time), was a hundred or so pages, with 4 or 5 pages of an executive summary.

Our vaunted Congress Critters deemed fit to ignore it for the most part. Only a handful read the whole thing; a few more read the executive summary. The rest probably had some sycophantic aide read the thing, then spit out a hundred word memo outlining its' contents, as well as the Congress Critter's suggested support (or non-support) posture, (Talking points to follow in a later memo).

This is what passes for representative government.


Pat you might want to look at your first sentence;

In 1982 the administration was eager to use the NIE on Iraq published in October.....

Don't you mean 2002?

Ken Houghton

Shouldn't that first line begin "In 2002..."


From an essay on the Straussian view of NIE goals and usage:

'[The} neocon agenda and philosophy of intelligence is clearly articulated in other publications co-authored by Shulsky and Schmitt, who argue that intelligence gathering and analysis should be considered more as a philosophy than a science.
'Allen Dulles, director of Central Intelligence under president Dwight Eisenhower, had adopted as the CIA's motto the biblical verse: "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." ... But as an operating principle for national intelligence, it was inadequate and counterproductive, according to Shulsky and Schmitt, who concluded their book advising that "truth is not the goal" of intelligence gathering – the goal is "victory."'

"The Neocon Philosophy of Intelligence" by Tom Barry



I was surprised by your positive statements about Negroponte since I most remember him as the chief enabler to central American mass-murder in the 80's and for the "Salvador Option" Shia Interior Ministry death squads that coincidentally popped up after his tenure as Viceroy of Iraq. You certainly know more about the NIE process than I do, so I'm willing to give Negroponte points for letting this NIE out in this form, however it should be noted that he's in full backpedal mode now, at least publicly:

Negroponte denies terror claims

US Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte has rejected claims that the terrorist threat to the US has increased since the invasion of Iraq.

He was commenting for the first time on recent leaked excerpts of a government report suggesting the conflict had fuelled Islamic radicalism.

Mr Negroponte said the Iraq war made up only a small part of the report, and overall the threat had not increased.

He said that in fact it had diminished since the 11 September 2001 attacks.

"My personal assessment with respect to the United States is that we are certainly more vigilant, we're better prepared, and in that sense I think we could safely say that we are safer," he said on Monday.

Brent Wiggans

Let’s try a little thought experiment: imagine that we had not invaded Iraq. Where could we have been directing even a fraction of the resources expended on Iraq and to what effect? What foreign policy options would be open to us that have been foreclosed by the invasion of Iraq? Are the benefits of our kinetic military engagement in Iraq worth more than the potential of a military at full strength and readiness (i.e., did we piss away our strength on the wrong war at the wrong time)? How would the country’s short-term and long-term financial outlooks have been different? Is there a provable, causal relationship between the invasion of Iraq and the fact that there have been no successful terrorist attacks inside the U.S. since 9/11?

Yes, it is officially time to second guess. The administration has chosen to make the war in Iraq the make-or-break issue of the 2006 elections, so, one of the logical ways to evaluate it is to consider what things might have been like without it. This report is a key document in that evaluation.



I think Negroponte is being disingenuous here. Few would argue that US domestic counterintelligence efforts have been unsuccessful or that we are not in fact more vigilant than before September 11. The problem, however, is not a domestic one at all - the operation that culminated in 9/11 was very much European and Afghan-grown. Most of the hotbeds of the jihad movements remain in the Muslim enclaves of European and Indonesian cities, and the Iraq war has strengthened these movements, plus provided a training ground for on-the-job combat experience for their fighters. I doubt you could find one European police or intelligence official who would concur with Negroponte's assessment. And ultimately this increased insecurity outside the US (despite some very successful multilateral efforts in which the US IS participating, and some great work being done by very professional agencies in Europe and elsewhere) will once again spill over onto our shores. So I would argue that we are not in fact safer, that the increased danger is not domestic, nor has that ever been the case.

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