Fun with the NIE

September 29, 2006 at 7:51 pm (Iraq)

After the mainstream media selectively leaked portions of a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) compiled by our intelligence agencies earlier this year which, the Times reported, claimed that the Iraq invasion is fueling the global jihadist movement, President Bush responded by declassifying the entire key judgments section. The New York Times responded by saying that “Mr. Bush decided to release this small, selected chunk of the report in reaction to an article on the intelligence assessment that appeared in The Times over the weekend.”

Apparently, the New York Times is having a hissy fit over Bush only releasing the key judgments. This is especially funny, since the original Times article provided the reader with only a few sentences, whereas Bush has provided the public with the entire key judgments of the report. As Seixon puts it, “I think the Times is jealous because Bush’s ‘chunk’ was bigger than theirs.”

With the aforementioned New York Times piece at the forefront, the MSM is in full time war mode in response to Bush’s declassification of the key judgments.  Now the MSM is running headlines that complain about Bush not releasing the entire NIE, something which the White House argues, quite reasonably, would put our intel source at risk. One commenter at at complains “Why not declassify the whole thing? Hmmm…what don’t they want us to read?” Answer: How about sensitive information about the nature of our intelligence gathering that could put our agents at risk?

Additionally, here’s an interesting portion of the NIE which hasn’t gotten much media attention (indeed, probably a fraction of the amount of attention the line about Iraq become a “cause celebre” for jihadists):

Greater pluralism and more responsive political systems in Muslim majority nations would alleviate some of the grievances jihadists exploit. Over time, such progress, together with sustained, multifaceted programs targeting the vulnerabilities of the jihadist movement and continued pressure on al-Qa’ida, could erode support for the jihadists.

Reading that without any context, one might be tempted to think that it is a quote from Bush himself outlining his Middle East philosophy. 

Also interesting to note, is that the NIE key judgments does not lay the surge in jihadism solely at the feet of the current Iraq war.  There are four underlying factors that the NIE blames, only one of which is Iraq:

(1)Entrenched grievances, such as corruption, injustice, and fear of Western domination, leading to anger, humiliation, and a sense of powerlessness; (2) the Iraq jihad;. (3) the slow pace of real and sustained economic, social, and political reforms in many Muslim majority nations; and (4) pervasive anti-US sentiment among most Muslims, all of which jihadists exploit.

Take particular note of the third point; “the slow pace of real and sustained economic, social, and political reforms in many Muslim majority nations.” Just what exactly are we working to do in Iraq? Answer: create a Western-style democracy. Needless to say, such a system should effectively address concerns over economic/social/political reforms, closing another area that, according to the NIE, jihadists are exploiting to recruit more followers.

And how many MSM reports on the declassified key judgments have mentioned those quotes?

More reading on the issue:

They Just Don’t Get It, says David Strom;

A fair and balanced look at the NIE via TCS Daily


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