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December 07, 2007

The National Ilan Estimate
Posted by Ilan Goldenberg

No, not Ilan Goldenberg.  Ilan Berman

In recent days conservative like Berman, Norman Podhoretz, Danielle Pletka and Jon Bolton, have been trying to cast doubt on the conclusions of the intelligence community.  Now the Washington Post is picking up on it and lending the arguments more credibility.  When reading these arguments it's worthwhile to remember a few basic facts that should absolutely discredit this entire crowd.

First, none of these people have access to the actual intelligence.  They are sitting at think tanks outside of the intelligence community and simply haven't seen the data. This was a report that shows the basic consensus of the nation's 16 intelligence and it was produced on the Bush Administration's watch and ultimately approved by the Director of National Intelligence, Mike McConnell, who is a Bush Administration appointee. 

Second, and this is even more important.  This conservative and neo-conservative crowd has a long history of disregarding and manipulating intelligence when it doesn't fall conveniently into their world view.  The Team B exercises in the late 1970s found that Soviet intentions and capabilities were much more dangerous than previously estimated by the intelligence community.  It became part of the justification for a major military buildup against the Soviets.  The Rumsfeld Commission in the 1990s was specifically set up to dispute the Intelligence Community's conclusions that the ballistic missile defense threat from developing countries to the American mainland was not an immediate danger.  It became the basis for greater investment in a National Missile Defense.  The Office of Special Plans that was set up in the Pentagon in the run up to the Iraq War, was specifically charged with trying to find connections between Al Qaeda and Iraq.  It was used to support arguments for War.

In all of these cases conservatives played with and disregarded intelligence to help make their cases for a particular policy.  And in all of these cases the conservatives were wrong.

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Comments

Yes, listen to the CIA. Were they wrong on the Bay of Pigs? Were they wrong on Iraq? I say the new NIE is a 'slam dunk'. So what if it's opposite to the last one. It's based on intercepted Iranian phone calls. High-quality stuff. The generals said on the phone that their nuclear weapons program ended in 2003.

People don't lie on the phone. Okay, we didn't know they had a program, but if they said it on the phone it must be true. Persians are too stupid to have a dis-information program. Or are they? Ahmadinejad: "With the help of God, our people have resisted, are resisting, and will resist until the end. You are all victorious in all areas and especially in nuclear."

The Team B exercises in the late 1970s found that Soviet intentions and capabilities were much more dangerous than previously estimated by the intelligence community. It became part of the justification for a major military buildup against the Soviets.
What's missing here? Oh, yeah; the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan. In the late 1970s.
The Rumsfeld Commission in the 1990s was specifically set up to dispute the Intelligence Community's conclusions that the ballistic missile defense threat from developing countries to the American mainland was not an immediate danger. It became the basis for greater investment in a National Missile Defense.
What's missing here? Oh, yeah; the attempts by North Korea to develop a missile to reach the United States. Within the last couple of years.
The Office of Special Plans that was set up in the Pentagon in the run up to the Iraq War, was specifically charged with trying to find connections between Al Qaeda and Iraq. It was used to support arguments for War.
What's missing here? Oh, yeah; Saddam Hussein's funding of Palestinian terrorists. By the way, I thought the mantra from the left was that our going to Iraq was only about WMDs?
In all of these cases conservatives played with and disregarded intelligence to help make their cases for a particular policy. And in all of these cases the conservatives were wrong.
No, in all these cases it is shown that "liberals" disregard history as much as they disregard intelligence.

To StevelL

First all of all Team B was argruing with the CIA about capabilities and not intentions. For instance Team B stated that the Soviets had a excellent air defense systems contrary to claims by the CIA that believed that it was in a state disrepair. The CIA was proven right when a German pilot landed a small propeller driven plane in Red Square in 1988. Second of all according to scholars Ord Westad, Vladislav Zubok, and Melvyn Leffler the Russians invaded Afghanastan due to fears that the Americans might deployed the Pershing II missile there and the Pershing II missiles started to be based in Western Europe due fears created by the Team B report. The United States could face a similiar aggressive response from Iran if it continues its threatening langauge. Thirdly when it comes to support of Palestinian terrorist groups the Saudis and not Saddam Hussein led the way in the nineties.

What's missing here? Oh, yeah; the attempts by North Korea to develop a missile to reach the United States. Within the last couple of years.

It's just a darn shame for your argument that their attempts have failed and that no country other than those that already had intercontinental missles has developed them in the 12 years since that report.

What's missing here? Oh, yeah; Saddam Hussein's funding of Palestinian terrorists.

Yeah, because they are just the same as Al Qaeda. It's almost funny to watch conservatives trying to justify being continually, irredeemably wrong about these issues while simultaneously preaching from their high horse.

In addition to all the other REAL reasons for going to war,
you gotta admit that the US went to war in proxy for Israel
(because who knows what would happen if Israel had waged a full-scale war).

The argument that Saddam Hussein funding of Palestinian terrorists
(which I am NOT disputing) further strengthen my claim above.

~ Jess

Don Bacon asks whether the CIA was right about Iraq. As I recall, in every single case where conservative critics disagreed with the CIA during the run-up to the Iraq war, the CIA turned out to be correct and the critics wrong.

Here's how SecDef Gates is now spinning the latest 'accurate' NIE:

from ft.com:
It showed, said Mr Gates, that Iran did have a covert nuclear weapons program hidden for years and that it had the mechanism to restart it at any time, if indeed, he added, Iran had not done so already.

Kenneth:
Recall whatever you want. I remember George Tenet, CIA Director, sitting directly in back of Colin Powell as Powell was displaying all that "evidence" of an Iraqi nuclear program at the UN. Then there is the Niger yellowcake, the aluminum tubes etc etc and the easy conquering of Iraq--a "slam dunk".

This is precisely why a president (or vice-president in this case) should not allow or encourage any branch or department of their administration to become contaminated with or over run by political agendas. Cheney and his henchmen wore a path in the pavement marching to the front door of the CIA. Back and forth he went with a sledge hammer to beat the intelligence analysts if their product did not mirror or buttress his political (and financial - [war profiteering]) agendas for an oil war with Iraq - come hell or high water.

George Tenent, we all know where his head was at. His allegiance was clearly not to the intelligence community and standing guard for the best interests of America. George Tenent virtually became a hand puppet for BushCo and a cheerleader for their war policy.

The CIA became a broken and dysfunctional governmental agency because BushCo dismantled the built in walls that were to disregard political agendas - making these political agendas mission number one for this intelligence gathering agency.

Didn't BushCo politicize the Department of Justice in much the same way as he did the intelligence gathering apparatus ? Job one/mission number one over there at DoJ too became fulfillment of a political agenda. Justice and adherence to the Rule of Law - why that became job number two.

The mission of the political machine and it's various agendas to enrich/reward specific constituencies becomes job one - the proper function of government - that becomes secondary in the upside down/inside out cheney/bush world.

The government is busted - because they broke it - so they could selfishly and illegally enrich themselves at great cost to America and the taxpayers.

very curious to kknow about missiles on mt. ararat. am well studied bible nut (normal now) :when the abomination of devastation stands in the holy place. I have a very bad premonition about this.my premonitions run 100%

I am so happy to get some Perfect World Gold and the Perfect World Silver is given by my close friend who tells me that the Perfect World money is the basis to enter into the game.

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