NIE Follies

One of the few diplomats I trust says:

Rarely has a document from the supposedly hidden world of intelligence had such an impact as the National Intelligence Estimate released this week. Rarely has an administration been so unprepared for such an event. And rarely have vehement critics of the "intelligence community" on issues such as Iraq's weapons of mass destruction reversed themselves so quickly.

Plus this:

The defection of General Ashgari (along with several other high-ranking Guard officers) is a plausible explanation for the new Intelligence Estimate. We don't know what Ashgari reported to Western intelligence. Chances are that much of his information was accurate, if out of date. He would need to give that much to gain credibility.

But there is a famous history of the CIA jumping on Soviet double agents -- Golitsyn and Nosenko -- who poisoned the wells of US intelligence with great success. These phony Soviet defectors could be the model the Iranians are emulating.

If we ever had a document with more reasons to be skeptical, I can't remember it. Our intelligence community has proven itself to be completely hostile to the present administration. Are they putting us in peril simply to score political points in Washington?

I wouldn't be surprised.


Terry Cowgill

7:00 PM

The thought had crossed my mind that this intel was an Iranian plant. Maybe we'll never know, but, as the author notes, the Bush admin should have been better prepared and it appears GWB wasn't exactly a "Curious George" when he was first confronted with this info.