NEWS & OPINION: Bush’s effort to undermine the NIE

Artificial intelligence

President George W. Bush hasn’t accomplished much on his voyage to the Middle East, but he did take the time to inflict another wound on the entire U.S. intelligence community—and on the credibility of anything he might ever again say about the world.

In the latest Newsweek, Michael Hirsh reports that, during a private conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Bush “all but disowned” the agencies’ Dec. 3 National Intelligence Estimate on Iran. A “senior administration official who accompanied Bush” on the trip confided to Hirsh that Bush “told the Israelis that he can’t control what the intelligence community says, but that [the NIE’s] conclusions don’t reflect his own views.” [complete article]

In Iran reversal, bureaucrats
triumphed over Cheney team

Senior officials at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the umbrella organization that coordinates the U.S.’s 16 spy agencies and that oversaw the report, say payback wasn’t a factor. They defend the report as a righting of the ship after the Iraq intelligence failures.

Hundreds of officials were involved and thousands of documents were drawn upon in this report, according to the DNI, making it impossible for any official to overly sway it. Intelligence sources were vetted and questioned in ways they weren’t ahead of the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq.

Thomas Fingar, 62 years old, is one of the lead architects of the Iran report. A veteran State Department official, Mr. Fingar helped lead the office that argued in 2002 that evidence of Iraq’s nuclear program was faulty. He is now a senior official at the DNI.

Of the backlash against the report, Mr. Fingar says, “A lot of it is just nonsense. The idea that this thing was written by a bunch of nonprofessional renegades or refugees is just silly.” [complete article]

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1 thought on “NEWS & OPINION: Bush’s effort to undermine the NIE

  1. WSJ Subscriber

    Paul, I thought you would add this comment yourself.

    We’ve all been waiting for Murdoch to start spinning the sane part of the WSJ (the news) his way. I’ve seen three debatable marks already. But this one is not debatable.

    Why say “Bureaucrats” when you mean “Professionsals”? The opponents quoted (e.g. Wurmser) are no less bureaucrats than the authors of the NIE, they’re merely out of control.

    In fact I’d say about the first third of the article is Fit For Fox and only the last half is the kind of thing we would have read in the WSJ a year ago.

    Add to this the article you referred to just before this one. Unbelievable, what a surprise, Bushie-Boy takes up the New WSJ’s spin a day later with Olmert. Both shoes have now dropped.

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