What The MSM Isn’t Telling You About That National Intelligence Estimate

Of late, we’ve been hearing a lot about, “classified National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) contends that the war in Iraq has increased Islamic radicalism.

However, there are some aspects of this issue that aren’t getting enough attention.

#1) This is a classified report and leaking it is a crime. There should be people spending the next decade in jail breaking big rocks into smaller rocks as a consequence of this report. If that means putting reporters in jail for contempt until they give up their sources, so be it.

#2) Since this is an interpretation of a classified report, given by anonymous sources that presumably have axes to grind, we should be highly skeptical of any conclusions they claim were reached. After all, we have no way to verify that they’re not simply cherry picking different parts of the report to reach politically motivated conclusions.

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Which brings us to Spook86 from In From The Cold, which is a blog I had never heard of before today. Spook86, who claims to be a, “former member of the U.S. intelligence community,” has quotes from the report that the MSM didn’t give us.

Are they accurate? Are they cherry picked as well? Don’t know. These quotations are from a classified report, so there’s no way to verify them. Of course, I’d say the same thing about the info the mainstream media ran with. Moreover, I don’t think people should be trying to make decisions about how well our foreign policy is working based on leaked quotes from classified documents, but, I suppose what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

In any case, here are the quotes:

Thankfully, the actual NIE is not the harbinger of disaster that the Times and WaPo would have us believe. According to members of the intel community who have seen the document, the NIE is actually fair and balanced (to coin a phrase), noting both successes and failures in the War on Terror–and identifying potential points of failure for the jihadists. The quotes printed below–taken directly from the document and provided to this blogger–provide “the other side” of the estimate, and its more balanced assessment of where we stand in the War on Terror (comments in italics are mine).

In one of its early paragraphs, the estimate notes progress in the struggle against terrorism, stating the U.S.-led efforts have “seriously damaged Al Qaida leadership and disrupted its operations.” Didn’t see that in the NYT article.

Or how about this statement, which–in part–reflects the impact of increased pressure on the terrorists: “A large body of reporting indicates that people identifying themselves as jihadists is increasing…however, they are largely decentralized, lack a coherent strategy and are becoming more diffuse.Hmm…doesn’t sound much like Al Qaida’s pre-9-11 game plan.

The report also notes the importance of the War in Iraq as a make or break point for the terrorists: “Should jihadists leaving Iraq perceive themselves to have failed, we judge that fewer will carry on the fight.It’s called a ripple effect.

More support for the defeating the enemy on his home turf: “Threats to the U.S. are intrinsically linked to U.S. success or failure in Iraq.President Bush and senior administration officials have made this argument many times–and it’s been consistently dismissed by the “experts” at the WaPo and Times.

And, some indication that the “growing” jihad may be pursuing the wrong course: “There is evidence that violent tactics are backfiring…their greatest vulnerability is that their ultimate political solution (shar’a law) is unpopular with the vast majority of Muslims.Seems to contradict MSM accounts of a jihadist tsunami with ever-increasing support in the global Islamic community..

The estimate also affirms the wisdom of sowing democracy in the Middle East: “Progress toward pluralism and more responsive political systems in the Muslim world will eliminate many of the grievances jihadists exploit.” As I recall, this the core of our strategy in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Assuming these quotations are correct, they present a much different picture than the one that the MSM would have you believe.

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