Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Fucked up

Read the whole of Larry Johnson's analysis of the NIE, but this portion from Ray Close, who served as the top CIA official in Saudi Arabia, struck me as a noteworthy thing for reporters to ask (so naturally THEY WON'T -- what exactly is journalism school for if it produces this kind of reporting where obvious questions are not asked?)

A National Intelligence Estimate is just exactly what the title says it is. An NIE isn't issued every day. It sometimes takes weeks to write and coordinate. Even the decision to prepare an NIE in the first place is a painstaking one. It is a BIG DEAL, in other words. An NIE is not a single report from a single agency, but represents the considered judgment of the entire intelligence community (16 different agencies, in theory) on a subject deemed to be of vital significance to makers of national security and foreign policy.

If key members of Congress (like Majority Leader Bill Frist, who claimed ignorance of this report), and neither the House nor the Senate intelligence committees, have seen the document since it was produced in April, then we have to ask ourselves whether the White House and Congress take any serious interest in the most important products of America's enormous (and extremely expensive) intelligence empire. Are we to conclude that the "brains" of the United States Government (presumably those who formulate and carry out national policy) are simply not interested in making use of the best information and advice available to them? That seems to confirm the growing impression that policy is influenced today more by considerations of ideology and political expediency than by painstaking and objective study of the world situation.

No shit. Maybe someone like TIMMAH could bring this up? Maybe David Broder can put down the "Hai Karate" and inquire about it?


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