Click the links for the full posts. Followed by a brief comment from me:

Dr. Thomas P.M. Barnett

“This analysis is typical intell stuff: obvious, useless, and playing into a do-nothing mind-set that here says, “Do nothing to piss off the terrorists!”

…The issue isn’t our military involvement, which has been constant for decades now, but the everything else that we suck at: our diplomatic, economic and social engagement with the region. Criticizing our military in the region is perfectly fine, but most of that criticism (from me included) revolves around how poorly we do the everything else–not the mil stuff per se.”

Colonel W. Patrick Lang

“Since the reforms of recent years, the CIA no longer runs this “show.” It is among the many functions that CIA has lost to other parts of the government. The NIC now works for John Negroponte as the Director of National Intelligence (DNI). It appears that Negroponte is trying to let the NIC function as it should, in splendid isolation from the policy confirmation needs of whatever administration might currently be in power. It must be difficult. The neocons believe that they “know better” than the intelligence people, and that estimates should be written on the basis of the needs of an administration for propaganda support of policy. Negroponte evidently resisted that demand in this NIE. He has tried to publicly distance himself somewhat from the judgments of this NIE, but he let it be published. Congratulations Mr. Negroponte. Congratulations.”

GroupIntel Blog

“First, I helped put together one or two NIEs and other NIC documents in my day but even without my insights it should strike everyone as fairly obvious that this assessment likely says a whole lot more than just this heavily flogged and hyped data point. If I had to guess I’d say you’re talking at least 15 pages of material that runs across a wide spectrum of terrorism-related issues, so either that’s 15 pages of variations on the “Iraq is the source of all our woes” theme or there is a certain element at work that would like you to believe that is true by leaving out what the other 14 pages says. I’ll let you guess which is more likely.”

Dave Schuler

“I do wish that people would stop chiding us, the Administration, the President for not seizing on alternatives that we didn’t have. “

Counterterrorism Blog

” The claim in the NY report would echo judgments of some of our Contributing Experts, notably Evan Kohlmann as early in May 2005, that the Iraq war has been an “engine of international terrorism.” But it’s also true the NIEs have certainly included some major blunders. The 1997 NIE, the last one before the 9/11 attacks on global terrorism, mentioned bin Laden in only three sentences as a “terrorist financier” and didn’t reference al-Qaeda at all. And of course, it was the October 2002 NIE which was a significant factor in the decision to use force against Iraq by famously asserting, “Baghdad has chemical and biological weapons as well as missiles with ranges in excess of UN restrictions; if left unchecked, it probably will have a nuclear weapon during this decade.”


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