••can ye pass the acid test?••

ye who enter here be afraid, but do what ye must -- to defeat your fear ye must defy it.

& defeat it ye must, for only then can we begin to realize liberty & justice for all.

time bomb tick tock? nervous tic talk? war on war?

or just a blog crying in the wilderness, trying to make sense of it all, terror-fried by hate radio and FOX, the number of whose name is 666??? (coincidence?)

Sunday, November 13, 2005

con intel

whoever thinks we didn't get misled on iraq must've just awoken from a coma, and i can see why many dems say bush manipulated intelligence, but i doubt he did.

more likely he just ignored what didn't back his preconceptions, like these excerpts from an october 2002 national intelligence estimate not declassified and released to the public till 4 months after the march 2003 invasion:

State/INR Alternative View of Iraq's Nuclear Program

The Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence and Research (INR) believes that Saddam continues to want nuclear weapons and that available evidence indicates that Baghdad is pursuing at least a limited effort to maintain and acquire nuclear weapons-related capabilities. The activities we have detected do not, however, add up to a compelling case that Iraq is currently pursuing what INR would consider to be an integrated and comprehensive approach to acquire nuclear weapons. Iraq may be doing so, but INR considers the available evidence inadequate to support such a judgment. Lacking persuasive evidence that Baghdad has launched a coherent effort to reconstitute its nuclear weapons program, INR is unwilling to speculate that such an effort began soon after the departure of UN inspectors or to project a timeline for the completion of activities it does not now see happening. As a result, INR is unable to predict when Iraq could acquire a nuclear device or weapon.

In INR's view Iraq's efforts to acquire aluminum tubes is central to the argument that Baghdad is reconstituting its nuclear weapons program, but INR is not persuaded that the tubes in question are intended for use as centrifuge rotors. INR accepts the judgment of technical experts at the US Department of Energy (DOE) who have concluded that the tubes Iraq seeks to acquire are poorly suited for use in gas centrifuges to be used for uranium enrichment and finds unpersuasive the arguments advanced by others to make the case that they are intended for that purpose. INR considers it far more likely that the tubes are intended for another purpose, most likely the production of artillery rockets. The very large quantities being sought, the way the tubes were tested by the Iraqis, and the atypical lack of attention to operational security in the procurement efforts are among the factors, in addition to the DOE assessment, that lead INR to conclude that the tubes are not intended for use in Iraq's nuclear weapon program.


Annex A

INR's Alternative View: Iraq's Attempts to Acquire Aluminum Tubes

Some of the specialized but dual-use items being sought are, by all indications, bound for Iraq's missile program. Other cases are ambiguous, such as that of a planned magnet-production line whose suitability for centrifuge operations remains unknown. Some efforts involve non-controlled industrial material and equipment—including a variety of machine tools—and are troubling because they would help establish the infrastructure for a renewed nuclear program. But such efforts (which began well before the inspectors departed) are not clearly linked to a nuclear end-use. Finally, the claims of Iraqi pursuit of natural uranium in Africa are, in INR's assessment, highly dubious.
(note that the 1998 departure of UN inspectors is the one mentioned, not that of 2003, which hadn't yet taken place.)

"intelligence" is an odd word. its latin root is a verb that means "perceive" or "understand," yet it is commonly used to mean "espionage" or "information collected via espionage."

policy makers rarely see "raw" intelligence. they receive the products of analysis.

when analysts disagree, policy makers need to weigh their arguments, not merely count the number of concurring and dissenting opinions and pronounce the majority to be a "consensus" while ignoring the dissent, as was done by the bush administration.

their oft-repeated defense has been that the intel was flawed, but the excerpts cited above clearly show good analysis existed yet was essentially dismissed by the white house.

if the resulting policy came from intelligence, it came without understanding.

1 comment:

  1. Good points, all. What's really scary is when policy makers try to form intelligence analysis by eliminating the analysts who have conclusions that disagree with desired policy. That was the only substantive objection I had to Bolton's qualifications for UN Ambassador, but apparently, that's not a big deal to some...