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December 04, 2007

Your Buck Will Not Pass Go. It Will Not Collect $200.

Kay Steiger makes a good point on the vaguely mysterious release of the National Intelligence Estimate: Is the intelligence community's sudden aggressive promotion of their consensus view on Iran a reaction to the Bush administration's efforts to pin the failure of the Iraq War on their faulty data? Is this a "never again" moment by a profession wounded by the battering their reputation has taken over the past few years?

December 4, 2007 | Permalink


The intelligence community leaked contradictory information last time. It was not to prevent an invasion of Iraq but to CYA knowing the invasion of Iraq was inevitable.

Yes, the intelligence community cares about its reputation. But no, it never ever will try to prevent a war or make one more unlikely. Very much against the core of how they view their jobs.

If the war with Iran was definitely not going to happen, there was no reason to leak the report. Executive Branch professionals do not humiliate the President unnecessarily.

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Dec 4, 2007 6:58:18 PM

Bush says his policy has not changed. He used to word "dangerous" in reference to Iran many times. This NIE release will damage any diplomatic efforts the Bush administration is working with Iran or the UN or the allies. The Intelligence Community does not make a habit of shredding the President's credibility while negotiations are going on.

But what the heck, everybody else in the whole wide world thinks the bombing is off, so who am I to worry?

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Dec 4, 2007 7:05:16 PM

bob mcmanus:
You are forgetting Valerie Plame. After what happened to her, do you think the CIA is going to go quietly into the night? Don't you think Poppy would have warned Jr. not to screw over the intelligence community?

Posted by: Joe Klein's conscience | Dec 4, 2007 7:24:39 PM

I think the intelligence folks really wanted this out, but had to fight for it - and maybe were using the argument that if they attempted suppression, it would leak, and that caused Hadley to work against Cheney to protect Bush. Hadley's comments the day before release (to WaPo) made it clear that even back in Sept or so, Bush knew what the report would say.

With a Dem. Congress Bush just couldn't take the risk of having the NIE leak with info counter to the Bush/Cheney party line. Recall that this report was a year in the making, and involved 16 intelligence agencies. That's just too many people to enforce non-disclosure, especially with the military chiefs (and Gates) being against an Iran war in our current situation.

Kevin Drum has a piece today that hints that there's a pattern to what's happened - a big fat ole defector from Iran's Defense Ministry. If so, that's really hard to hide, especially with the 'curveball' story from the buildup to Iraq War.

Posted by: JimPortlandOR | Dec 4, 2007 7:45:40 PM

I am not forgettin Plame or the leaks prior to Iraq, but my point is that the Intelligence Community at that time knew it wasn't going to stop the war. I don't think the CIA would stop a war anymore than they would start one, it violently goes against the ethos. And in principle, I don't like this undercutting of the President while negotiationa are going on. This is like someone telling the press that JFK's Cuba photos presented by Stevenson, were fake. Or even better, the Gary Powers incident, which cost Eisenhower a lot, forcing him to admit to a lie and IIRC concessions.

You only hear this stuff when it no longer matters. And it didn't matter in '02-03. Apparently much of this has been sat on for years, official story being it needed "super-duper" confirmation. That should tell you something about the IC's attitude.

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Dec 4, 2007 8:15:29 PM

"...Kevin Drum has a piece today that hints that there's a pattern to what's happened..."

Iran's new UN negotiator, Jalili, made a curious statement a few days before the NIE bombshell:

“There is no longer an Iranian nuclear problem,” and had added that the only interlocutor recognized by Iran from now on would be the International Atomic Energy Agency".

And this was in response to a question as to why Iran was scratching all previous progress on agreements with the UN Security Council. Why did Iran insist that further discussion was no longer necessary? Could Iran have gotten wind of our NIE (possibly through IAEA's ElBaradai)? They certainly knew it was their defector that gave us the intelligence on their nuclear activities. Could they possibly have been responsible for the pressure to release the NIE?

Posted by: marydem | Dec 4, 2007 11:41:08 PM

Ok, Steve Clemons, Pat Lang, Juan Cole, Fred Kaplan give very strong arguments that there will not be an attack on Iran during the remainder of the Bush administration. I will be officially wrong in Jan 2009.
Until then, I will speculate no more on the subject.

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Dec 5, 2007 12:28:18 AM

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