Author Topic: Shaping the Topic: the NIE memo  (Read 2098 times)

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sirs

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Shaping the Topic: the NIE memo
« on: September 26, 2006, 02:34:39 AM »
Putting aside for the moment the likely illegal leaking of this latest classified information, here's the WSJ's suggestion in dealing with it.

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Declassify the Terrorism NIE
How to defeat selective politically motivated leaks.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


As media scoops go, those based on "classified" information seem to have a special cachet. But judging from the latest, selective intelligence leak about terrorism, we wonder if anyone would bother to read this stuff if it didn't have the word "secret" slapped on it.

That's our reaction to Sunday's New York Times report claiming that a 2006 national intelligence estimate, or NIE, concludes that "the Iraq war has made the overall terrorism problem worse," according to one of the unidentified "intelligence officials" cited in the article. This is supposedly because the war has provoked radical Islamists to hate America even more than they already did before they hijacked airplanes and flew them into buildings. If this is the kind of insight we pay our spooks to generate, we're in more trouble than we thought.

It's impossible to know how true this report is, of course, since the NIE itself hasn't been leaked. The reports are based on what sources claim the NIE says, but we don't know who those sources are and what motivations they might have. Since their spin coincides rather conveniently with the argument made by Democratic critics of the war, and since this leak has also conveniently sprung in high campaign season, wise readers will be skeptical.

The White House responded yesterday by saying the full NIE on "Trends in Global Terrorism" is far more nuanced and complex than the press reports claim. Spokesman Tony Snow added that one "thing the reports do not say is that war in Iraq has made terrorism worse." So here's our suggestion for President Bush: Declassify the entire NIE.

It's not as if NIEs usually contain sensitive raw intelligence. They're more like Council on Foreign Relations reports, full of consensus analysis and glorified by the mere fact of being "secret." To the extent that any passages might compromise sources and methods, those parts could be redacted or summarized. Meanwhile, disclosure would give the American public a valuable window into the thinking that goes on at places like the CIA. 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 [RANDO]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.

As for the substance of the 2006 NIE's alleged claims, does anyone doubt that many jihadis are rallying against the American presence in Iraq? The newspapers tell us that much every day. Whether the war in Iraq has produced more terrorist hatred than would otherwise exist, however, is a matter of opinion and strategic judgment.

We recall, for example, that one of Osama bin Laden's justifications for declaring war against the U.S. was American enforcement of sanctions and a no-fly zone against Iraq before the 2003 invasion. Bin Laden didn't need the war to hate us. More broadly, the liberation of Iraq and Afghanistan has deprived the jihadis of two safe havens and sources of funds. So while there are still many al Qaeda-type terror cells out there, there's no reason to believe they are any more dangerous now than before April 2003. Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, one of the terrorists who was harbored in Iraq before the war, certainly isn't any more dangerous; he's dead.
The real issue at stake here is a political and policy fight over the future of Iraq.

The Democrats claim that Iraq is a "distraction" from the war on terror and so a rapid U.S. withdrawal would leave the U.S. with more resources to fight elsewhere.

Mr. Bush says Iraq is now the central front in the war on terror, and that withdrawing would create a vacuum that the Islamists would fill and give them a potential new state-supported base of operations.

That's the choice voters really ought to be thinking about as they go to the polls in November, and if the NIE has something useful to say about that debate, Mr. Bush should disarm the selective leakers in his bureaucracy by making it public.


http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110008998
"The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal." -- Aristotle

hnumpah

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Re: Shaping the Topic: the NIE memo
« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2006, 09:18:06 AM »
Makes sense - declassify and release the entire memo, so we can see if it's being misquoted or if the administration is trying to hide behind the fact that it is classified.

I doubt that will happen before election day, just as I doubt gas prices will start going back up before then.
"I love WikiLeaks." - Donald Trump, October 2016

Michael Tee

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Re: Shaping the Topic: the NIE memo
« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2006, 09:39:49 AM »
Of course, the fact that they WON'T release the NIE - -  just like they won't release the more than 90% of Abu Ghraib photos and videos taken - - doesn't tell you anything, does it?

sirs

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Re: Shaping the Topic: the NIE memo
« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2006, 11:24:38 AM »
Tells me that certain things are classified for certain reasons.  No more no less.  Ususally because of national security issues.  Trying to read minds, I'll leave up to you.
"The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal." -- Aristotle

Michael Tee

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Re: Shaping the Topic: the NIE memo
« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2006, 12:40:09 PM »
<<Tells me that certain things are classified for certain reasons.  No more no less.  Ususally because of national security issues.  Trying to read minds, I'll leave up to you.>>

Nice cop-out.  Now forget about reading minds for a minute.  [Ask a conservative to try using plain, everyday common sense to figure things out and they almost invariably come up with some wise-ass comment that they can't read minds or they're not psychics.  Now why is that?]Try to think of one valid security issue that would be compromised by a photo of one of America's finest sticking things up the ass of a bound and helpless prisoner or burning his feet with a blowtorch or raping him.  Especially if personal ID material can be blacked out.  Try real hard.

sirs

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Re: Shaping the Topic: the NIE memo
« Reply #5 on: September 26, 2006, 01:30:09 PM »
It's called reality and common sense, Tee.  You should try it some time.  Even pretending all your facts are accurate regarding the supposed torture/killing of a prisoner, you think it would have been allowed to go all the way up to the President's desk?  Common sense would make it clear as day that the immediate folks/superiors would do everything they could to keep it hush.  Your mutated hypothesis would require that Bush is given info on everything that happens at the grunt level, and even goes so far as to imply it's supported if not approved by Bush.  That's the mind reading ability of yours that really sucks, since common sense would dictate other wise
"The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal." -- Aristotle

Michael Tee

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Re: Shaping the Topic: the NIE memo
« Reply #6 on: September 26, 2006, 02:04:39 PM »
Try to focus on the issue under discussion, sirs, we haven't been talking about "Bush knew" for at least the past few posts.  Maybe it's time for your mid-day nap.  The issue under discussion was why the bulk of the atrocity photos and videos from Abu Ghraib haven't been released, the implication being that what's being covered up must be far worse than what's been allowed out.  A virtually forgone conclusion to anyone whose brains haven't been mortgaged to the Republican Party's right wing.

However if you want to go back to a "Bush knew/didn't know" issue, that's OK too.  Bush knows what he wants to know and if he were at all concerned about torture (as if!) then he'd make it his fucking business to know down to the last prisoner in the last cell block.  He'd put officers on it who report directly to him, and they'd put officers on it who report directly to them.  And somewhere down the line would be guys who had top-level authority to enter any prison any time without notice and go anywhere in that prison.  They'd have authority to medically examine every detainee and question every soldier.  And if anyone failed to extend full cooperation, their ass would be grass.  THAT'S what it means to be Commander in Chief.  That was the power entrusted to Bush by the American people.  Which he has criminally abused.

Naturally, if the guy were totally disinterested in the issue (which, of course, he is) THEN things would happen as you described and he could go on knowing nothing, seeing nothing and hearing nothing - - as you can see he does.

sirs

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Re: Shaping the Topic: the NIE memo
« Reply #7 on: September 26, 2006, 03:25:36 PM »
And with all that hot air, still the fact remains, no proof, no smoking gun, no evidence what-so-ever, outside of your Bush hating blinders as to Bush having anything to do with what happened with these Green Berets, or any torturing by any anomolous service men for that matter       ::)
"The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal." -- Aristotle

sirs

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Re: Shaping the Topic: the NIE memo
« Reply #8 on: September 26, 2006, 05:16:16 PM »
Bush to declassify parts of key intel report
President says NIE leak was political, denies Iraq has worsened terrorism
 
MSNBC News Services

WASHINGTON - President Bush on Tuesday announced that he will declassify parts of the National Intelligence Estimate, which reportedly concluded that the war with Iraq has worsened terrorism.

“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 announcement came at a press conference with Afghan President Hamid Karzai after the two met for private talks at the White House.

Bush asserted that portions of the classified report that had been leaked were done so for political purposes, referring to the Nov. 7 midterm elections.

Portions of the document that have been leaked suggest that the threat of terrorism has grown worse since the Sept. 11 terror attacks and the war in Afghanistan, due in part to the war in Iraq.

Only part of the story
Democrats have used the report to bolster their criticism of Bush’s Iraq policy. The administration has claimed only part of the report was leaked and does not tell the full story.

Negroponte “is going to declassify the document as quickly as possible — declassify the key judgments for you to read yourself,” Bush told reporters in the East Room. “And he’ll do so in such a way that we’ll be able to protect sources and methods ... that our intelligence community uses.”

Bush said the full report shows “that, because of our successes against the leadership of al-Qaida, the enemy is becoming more diffuse and independent.”

Both the chairman and the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee have urged the White House to release the material.

Using a portion of the report to attack his Iraq policy and suggest it has fanned more terrorism is “naive,” Bush said.

“I think it’s a mistake for people to believe that going on the offense against people that want to do harm to the American people makes us less safe,” he said.

Tense ties
The bilateral meeting was a prelude to joint talks with Karzai and Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf Wednesday at the White House to discuss fighting terrorism in a region where al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden is believed to be hiding.

The two central Asian presidents have been at odds recently over each country’s efforts to hunt terrorists and to stop them from crossing their shared border, especially in tribal areas.

“You know, it’ll be interesting for me to watch the body language of these two leaders to determine how tense things are,” Bush said.

“I’ll be good,” Karzai said.

“We will back any move, any deal, that will deny terrorism a sanctuary” along the border, the Afghan leader added.

Bush said that it was in the interests of both Karzai and Musharraf, as well as in the interests of the United States, to see Osama bin Laden and other terrorist leaders brought to justice.

Even before the meetings, some tensions have surfaced among the three leaders in the last week.

Bush in a television interview said he would issue an order to go after bin Laden if there was firm intelligence about his location, including inside Pakistan. That prompted Musharraf to respond that Pakistan would handle such a situation itself.

And Karzai on Monday called on Musharraf to close extremist schools in Pakistan. “There will not be an end to terrorism unless we remove the sources of hatred in madrassas and the training grounds,” Karzai said.

More money for Afghanistan?
The Bush-Karzai meeting was expected to include rising Taliban violence and an unprecedented narcotics trade were also on the agenda — possibly along with a request for more U.S. money to stabilize Afghanistan.

Karzai said Sunday on “Meet the Press” that his country would be “heaven in less than a year” if it received the $300 billion the United States had spent in Iraq.

As it is, Karzai said at a news conference Monday that Afghanistan has $1.9 billion in reserves, up from $180 million in 2002.

And in a speech Monday at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, he expressed concern — without elaboration — with “radical neighbors who have very dangerous ideas” and said narcotics had supplanted the growing of grapes, raisins, pomegranates, almonds and other crops.

Struggling farmers need more help, he said. “Give us the roads and we will give you the best grapes in the world,” Karzai said with a smile.

Afghanistan has been suffering its heaviest insurgent attacks since the Taliban regime was toppled in late 2001 in a U.S.-led war.

Border politics
U.S.-led forces ousted the Taliban from power in Afghanistan in 2001 as a response to the Sept. 11 attacks. Since then, Afghanistan has complained that the Taliban is being sheltered on the Pakistani side of the rugged border.

Musharraf’s government this month signed a deal with pro-Taliban tribesmen in the North Waziristan region that critics said may create a refuge for the Taliban and al-Qaida.

Musharraf has disputed the criticism. “This treaty is not to deal with the Taliban. It is actually to fight the Taliban,” he said Friday.

Musharraf, speaking in New York City on Monday night, said Pakistan was being blamed unfairly for the Taliban’s resurgence. He suggested that Karzai was partially at fault for disenfranchising the majority Pashtun ethnic group and warned that the Taliban cannot be defeated by military might alone.

Musharraf praised Karzai, calling him clearly the best choice to lead Afghanistan as it rebuilds after decades of war, but he also slammed Karzai for suggesting that much of the recent violence in Afghanistan was the result of cross-border attacks from militants hiding in Pakistan’s tribal areas.

“The sooner that President Karzai understands his own country, the better,” Musharraf told the Council on Foreign Relations, referring to alleged favoritism toward ethnic minorities in the Northern Alliance that fought against the largely Pashtun Taliban. “We have a problem with Pashtuns feeling alienated.”


http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12913317/?GT1=8506
"The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal." -- Aristotle

hnumpah

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Re: Shaping the Topic: the NIE memo
« Reply #9 on: September 26, 2006, 05:24:48 PM »
Quote
President Bush on Tuesday announced that he will declassify parts of the National Intelligence Estimate, which reportedly concluded that the war with Iraq has worsened terrorism.

Which parts? Just the parts that seem to agree with what he says? Why not all of it?
"I love WikiLeaks." - Donald Trump, October 2016

sirs

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Re: Shaping the Topic: the NIE memo
« Reply #10 on: September 26, 2006, 05:51:15 PM »
I'd assume the parts that refute the other selectively released parts, minus anything that may compromise national security
"The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal." -- Aristotle

domer

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Re: Shaping the Topic: the NIE memo
« Reply #11 on: September 26, 2006, 05:56:58 PM »
Don't forget, even the WSJ's article introductory to this thread characterizes the leaked reports as basically revealing the obvious. I agree with that. The situation in Iraq, and its effect on the terrorist movement, are available for all to ponder based on public information. Instead of dealing with that reality, Bush persists in claiming his idea to invade Iraq was a coup of the mind, a work of genius, when the average guy in the street knows, by now and in retrospect, that it was a collossal mistake.

Bush is mired in a "protect my ass" syndrome, seemingly compelled, even now, to justify his clear mistakes rather than get to the matter at hand. That matter, viewed comprehensively, is to win a POLITICAL (with military support, as needed) battle focusing on hearts and minds of the critical audiences, foremost among them the average Muslim who could go either way on this issue.

As I've said before, even conceding a central role for our military as the occasion warrants, the motif we should embrace is a political, social, religious, intellectual, cultural et al. struggle. Remember, I'm not afraid of military power, but I demand that it be used judiciously.

sirs

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Re: Shaping the Topic: the NIE memo
« Reply #12 on: September 26, 2006, 06:28:11 PM »
The situation in Iraq, and its effect on the terrorist movement, are available for all to ponder based on public information. Instead of dealing with that reality, Bush persists in claiming his idea to invade Iraq was a coup of the mind, a work of genius, when the average guy in the street knows, by now and in retrospect, that it was a collossal mistake.  Bush is mired in a "protect my ass" syndrome, seemingly compelled, even now, to justify his clear mistakes rather than get to the matter at hand.

Well, that's one person's opinion.  But I'll add this caveat, that it won't be the U.S that ultimately wins this battle against militant Islam.  It can only be ultimately won by the Muslim community and their condemnation of those trying to hijack and kill "the infidel" in the name of Islam
"The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal." -- Aristotle

Plane

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Re: Shaping the Topic: the NIE memo
« Reply #13 on: September 26, 2006, 10:58:46 PM »
   If I were an Iriqui , I would not want to be a sorce of information for Americans , the next thing you would see would be my name and address on the frount page of the post.


     I would be a sorce for the British or even the Mossad , much lower leak rate.

sirs

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Re: Shaping the Topic: the NIE memo
« Reply #14 on: September 28, 2006, 01:52:13 AM »
"The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal." -- Aristotle