Democracy Arsenal

« I'm Not a Conspiracy Theorist, But... | Main | Five Years Since "Mission Accomplished" Up Next: More of the Same »

April 30, 2008

"That was bad, I.N.T.E.L.L.I.G.E.N.C.E"
Posted by Adam Blickstein

Foreign Policy's blog yesterday cited possible pressure from Congress as a reason why the Administration leaked out more information tying North Korea to the now-destroyed al Kibar facility in Syria:

Many commentators have wondered why the Bush adminstration chose last Thursday, of all days, to disclose the intelligence community's findings on North Korea's nuclear collaboration with Syria. Well, Glenn Kessler and Robin Wright of the Washington Post have an answer:Key lawmakers nonetheless made it clear that unless the intelligence about Syria was described to them in detail, they would block funding for the deal and oppose a key waiver of a law preventing U.S. aid to a country that detonates a nuclear weapon.

This seems to be wrong for a couple reasons, least of which is a lack of Administration acquiescence to congressional intelligence disclosure demands in the past. In fact, in this instance, the revelations may further raise, not diminish, roadblocks to a congressional agreement on a North Korean disarmament deal (something the Washington Post piece acknowledges).  Nicole Gaouette of the LA Times described the dissatisfaction from leading Democrats and Republicans on Monday:

The allegations come as negotiations continue between the United States and other countries and North Korea over the dismantling of the Pyongyang government's nuclear program.

In exchange for North Korea abandoning its nuclear weapons program, the Bush administration has offered to ease sanctions on the isolated country and remove it from a list of states that sponsor terrorism -- steps that conservative lawmakers see as unacceptable concessions.

Hoekstra said he believed that the administration's revelations were an attempt to gain leverage in the talks, but that the strategy might backfire with Congress, particularly among those conservatives.

"I think the administration believes it will help them get to a deal with North Korea," he said.

"The timing of it, what information they released, what information they did not release and who they released it to, is going to make it more difficult for them to reach an agreement that will be supported by Congress and supported by the American people," Hoekstra said.

With all the multi-faceted story lines appearing in the press, it's difficult to truly know what is going on, but here is one theory: the Administration, or at least some in the Administration, actually want Congress to kill or substantially delay a deal with North Korea.

Certain hard-line elements in the White House knew that the intelligence disclosures would anger members of congress and possibly help derail or at least delay and agreement with North Korea. It would create a perfect storm of upset liberal and moderate lawmakers who cite the administration's lack of transparency as an excuse to delay any agreement with North Korea, and it would also embolden the conservative lawmakers who cite the intelligence as reason not to trust or deal diplomatically with the North Koreans. 

Certainly it is not out of left field to speculate that the more hard-line elements in the White House don't want any accord with North Korea, and while President Bush yesterday said disclosing the intelligence was meant to send a message to Iran and the world, perhaps it was really sending a subtle message to congress in order to destroy any deal with North Korea. 

An agreement with North Korea failing in Congress actually seems logical politically for the White House: It would make the Administration seem tough yet diplomatic, provide another talking point of derision against congress ahead of the elections in November, and from a hard-line policy perspective, North Korea would remain on the state sponsor of terrorism list and a pariah state that neo-conservative pundits and policymakers could cite as a continuing threat to global stability. 


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference "That was bad, I.N.T.E.L.L.I.G.E.N.C.E":


Not only would it block a deal with North Korea, but it could block Israel's possible deal with Syria over the Golan Heights.

Here is the eve isk,
eve online isk is the regular site.
buy isk we supply the regular service.
I like to buy eve online isk here.

When you have aoc gold, you will become strong. With conan gold, you can upgrade and admire by others. You can use age of conan gold to start the journey of the world. So, do not hesitate, let us move to buy cheap aoc gold

I am so glad to receive some wow gold and the World of Warcraft Gold is the gift as my birthday. Some of the warcraft gold is very attractive for me that I will buy wow gold to enter into the game because the gold is the key to the net game.

I hope i can get Sho Online Mun in low price,
Yesterday i bought Sho Mun for my friend.

Playing online games can make much Perfect World money. And you will be happy at the sametime. And you can use the cheap Perfect World Gold do what you want to do in the online game.

Thank you for your sharing! I like i very much!

Post a comment

If you have a TypeKey or TypePad account, please Sign In.

Guest Contributors
Sign-up to receive a weekly digest of the latest posts from Democracy Arsenal.
Powered by TypePad


The opinions voiced on Democracy Arsenal are those of the individual authors and do not represent the views of any other organization or institution with which any author may be affiliated.
Read Terms of Use