Friday, July 20, 2007

The REAL National Intelligence Estimate

The Director of National Intelligence recently released a preview of its latest National Intelligence Estimate. I’ve read several news stories about this, and I’ve also seen some comments about it on other blogs. A common theme seems to be that Al Qaeda is stronger now than it was before 9/11. I’ve actually seen people make that claim, and this is not just on far Left blog sites, this claim is actually being made by major news organizations and now has been adopted by the Left as part of their anti-Bush rhetoric. Naturally, I immediately had my doubts. Usually, if the New York Times says something bad about Bush then it’s going to slanted, incomplete or grossly biased. So I decided to go straight to the NIE website and read the report for myself. Here is a link so you can do the same. I’ve included a few key points with my comments below:

We assess that greatly increased worldwide counterterrorism efforts over the past five years have constrained the ability of al-Qa’ida to attack the US Homeland again and have led terrorist groups to perceive the Homeland as a harder target to strike than on 9/11

We are concerned, however, that this level of international cooperation may wane as
9/11 becomes a more distant memory and perceptions of the threat diverge.

We judge the US Homeland will face a persistent and evolving terrorist threat over the next three years

Al-Qa’ida is and will remain the most serious terrorist threat to the Homeland, as its central leadership continues to plan high-impact plots, while pushing others in extremist Sunni communities to mimic its efforts and to supplement its capabilities

We assess the group has protected or regenerated key elements of its Homeland attack capability

Of note, we assess that al-Qa’ida will probably seek to leverage the contacts and capabilities of al-Qa’ida in Iraq (AQI), its most visible and capable affiliate and the only one known to have expressed a desire to attack the Homeland.

We assess that its association with AQI helps al-Qa’ida to energize the broader Sunni extremist community, raise resources, and to recruit and indoctrinate operatives, including for Homeland attacks

We assess that al-Qa’ida will continue to try to acquire and employ chemical,
biological, radiological, or nuclear material in attacks and would not hesitate to use
them if it develops what it deems is sufficient capability

After reading this, I realized that it made sense, and that most Americans would agree with the notion that Al Qaeda still wants to attack us and is still highly motivated. I also agreed that Al Qaeda in Iraq plays a major role in international terrorism. Remember, the Dems and most Americans want to turn Iraq over to this very group, they want to yield ground to the “most serious terrorist threat to the Homeland” . I think that would lead to a much worse prognosis in our fight against terrorism. Also, I agree that Al Qaeda is actively seeking WMDs, which makes the situation in Iran that much more critical.

What it doesn’t say is the war on terror is a bumper sticker slogan. It doesn’t say that Al Qaeda is stronger than it was before 9/11, despite the “interpretation” of the mainstream media and the lemmings that believe everything they read. It doesn’t say that our efforts have been in vain. It doesn’t say that the Iraq War has diminished our ability to fight the terrorists.
I caution people out there to understand that the mainstream media appears to be misleading the American people. I have no idea how they make the claims they make based on what is found in the NIE report. Don’t believe everything you read. If it sounds a bit outrageous, it probably is and chances are you need to check out the source yourself. The NIE is not a damnation of the Bush administration’s policies, despite the claims made by the Left. I've included a few of those claims here, enjoy:

CS Monitor

Baltimore Sun

Orlando Sentinel

New York Times



Mahmoud Ahmadinejad,
You Must Free Dr. Haleh Esfandiari!

(See our Comment Section) reb

Anonymous said...

Regarding the above mentioned Doctor
Esfandiani, three pages of reknowned international middle-eastern scholars from prestigeous universities 'round the world
have asked the Iranian Government to release
Dr Haleh Esfandiari from their Evin Prison.


The Loop Garoo Kid said...

Dear Mr. Washburn,

I think you missed the boat here, although I thank you for the link to the report. After reading the report, you should have read the prior NIE report. As I recall, the threat posed by al Qaeda seems to have increased since the prior report.

The NYT article did not state that al Qaeda is stronger than it was on 9/11. So perhaps I should caution people out there that this particular blogger appears to be misleading the American people about the NYT.

But so long as you raise the subject, there are a number of us who believe that this administration's foray into Iraq has done nothing to make our country safer. Quite possibly, it has done the opposite. Although Saddam Hussein was a monster; a protector of terrorists; and a practicioner of terrorism, particularly against Iraqis, the threat he posed to this country in 2003 was negligible at best. In fact, in 2003, the threat that he posed to anyone except his fellow Iraqis was negligible at best.

Meanwhile, Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri ahve not yet been brought to justice



With all do respect for Loop Garoo,
the larger problems are being ignored.

Iran's "Shiite" Nukes, and Saudi "Sunni" Mosques & Madrassa,
reveal the Twin Evils For the World to Confront.

It's Saudi Arabian Oil Wealth, and
unabated building of Wahhabi-style Mosques & Madrassa Schools that continue churning out the next generation of suicidal killers, and
that fact is far-removed from the
regional complexities of IRAQ!

Loop Garoo has trouble seeing the
forest; too many trees block his view!


John Washburn said...

Where do people get this it's-all-about-Bin Laden mentality? This isn't capture the flag. The war on terror does not begin nor end with Bin Laden. Do we think that once we capture him, all other terrorists will drop their weapons and give up? Will focusing 100% of our efforts on him make us safer? Didn't he have a peripheral role at best in 9/11? Yes, we should kill him at the first opportunity (to Bill Clinton's dismay) but making him priority over everything else is foolish and any military strategist will tell you the same.

The NIE report cites Al Qaeda in Iraq as one of our biggest threats, and you people want to pull out of Iraq and let them have it. And somehow that will make us safer? Yielding ground to the enemy? And Reb makes a good point about Iran. The NIE seems to be concerned about them, yet you don't mention that, either. Instead, it's all about Bin Laden (did the NIE even mention his name?).

Of course Al Qaeda has strengthened since the last report. I think it's been made clear that the Pakistani tribal areas have become a safe haven. Musharraf made a mistake. Hopefully he will rectify it. Do you have a better solution for dealing with this issue?

And I never said that about the New York Times, but the fact is that there are those on the Left making the claim that the report stated Al Qaeda is stronger than ever, or stronger than before 9/11. I heard it, you heard it, we all heard it and the purpose of this post was to show that these people are misleading the facts.

The Loop Garoo Kid said...


"Due respect."

By now you should have received the article from teh NYT I e-mailed you this morning about the radical young lady from Pakistan.

One point that stuck with me was that in order for her to be eductaed, to her family, the best, if not only option seemd to be to send her to a religious school.

Your point about Saudi Arabian oil wealth is well taken. You make it sound, however, as if this is Saudi national policy, which assuredly it is not.

I also believ it is a bit simplistic to refer to the Iranian issue as "Shi'ite nukes."

As for the forest and the trees, even if one were to support the policy of clear cutting, such a project starts by cutting the trees individually.

Al Qaeda in Iarq did not exist until we invaded Iraq, or at least it did not exist in Iraq. We can hope, given present trends, that the Iraqis will rid themselves of these vermin whose only philosophy is that of endless destruction.

Mr. Washburn. You stated;"The mainstream media appears to be misleading the American people" and then provided a link to the New York Times. You now sound like the president and vice president in 2002 who would mention al Qaea and Iraq multiple times in the same paragraph. Look at the % of people who then thoughthat Saddam Hussein had something to do w/ 9/11.

Should we focus 100% of our efforts on killing or capturing Osama bin Laden? No one suggested that. But bin Laden himself proposed the theory of the strong horse.

Six years after 9/11, the person who masterminded it is still free and above ground. He is a hero to Muslims everywhere. In this instance, better a dead martyr than a live hero. His role in 9/11 was not peripheral, Certainly not as perceived by most Muslimns; certainly not as perceived by most Americans.

Don't you beleive his head on a pike might give some people pause. "Nemo me impune lacessit."

Better solutions. No doubt some are at work. Obviously we can't launch a full scale invasion unless we want 165 million Pakistanis to hate us.

Is there some irony afoot in that your most recent post appears to be
about people getting away w/ it?

Oh yeah priorities. Let's see. Osama bin Laden orchestrated the killing of 3,500 people in NYC. How far ahead of Saddam Hussein did that put him in this century?

John Washburn said...

"Mr. Washburn. You stated;"The mainstream media appears to be misleading the American people" and then provided a link to the New York Times."

It's evident that your personal agenda is what leads you to draw baseless conclusions, not only about me but also about the President. Whatever, do what you want, but you look foolish when you make such an effort to put words in the mouths of others.

Again, you're highly critical but still offer no strategy of your own. How typical. Isn't it concerning that Al Qaeda was able to strengthen itself because of a few Pakistani tribal villages? Yet, you wish to retreat from Iraq and give them an entire nation (one of the most oil-laden at that). Exactly HOW will that weaken Al Qaeda? So far that's the only strategy you offer.

And if you truly believe Al Qaeda was not in Iraq before the war then it reflects your ignorance on the subject. Google Al-Zarqhawi. He was operating freely in Iraq before our arrival.

Yes, let's kill Bin Laden, but when we do we can't pack up our stuff and go home. Bin Laden's organization has been damaged and democracy is thriving in Afghanistan, and struggling to survive in Iraq. Millions are free. But you boo and hiss because Bin Laden is still hiding in a cave in Pakistan. I wonder, what will you complain about after we kill him?

The Loop Garoo Kid said...

Mr. Washburn,

I responded to your last comment point by point yesterday, but something happened. I am pressed for time today, I wil try again tomorrow.

The Loop Garoo Kid said...

Okay Mr. Washburn. Point by point.

1. Baseless conclusions. Read what you wrote. You stated the mainstream media appeared to be misleading the American people; you provided a link to a NYT article; the article did not state that al Qaeda was stronger than it was b/f 9/11. Why then was my conclusion baseless? I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken.

2. I compared it to the run up to the invasion of Iraq during which in speech after speech members of this administration linked 9/11 w/ Iraq when no such link existed. The link was mentioned so many times that b/f the war, a significant % of Americans thought that Saddam Hussein was behind 9/11. By way of example but limitation see the President's remarks on 10/7/2002 and 10/14/2002 @ Also see the State of the Union Address on 1/28/2003.

3. "Yet you wish to retreat from Iraq..." Where exactly did I say that? I believe that we never should have invaded Iraq and that the invasion of Iraq has made our global interests more vulnerable. I definitely believe that so far as Iraq is concerned, apres nous le deluge, whether we w/draw expeditiously or in 10 years. Yet you conclude that I favor immediate w/drawal from Iraq, which, by the by I do not. You conclude this without the benefit of any evidence. I can only surmise that your agenda, which seems to involve pigeon holing people into familiar slots w/ which you are comfortable, interfers w/ your ability to think critically and to respond, as opposed to reacting.

4. "If you truly believe al Aaeda was not in Iraq before the war (by which I assume you mean GW II) then it reflects your ignorance on the subject. Google al Zawqhawi [sic] he was operating freely in Iraq before our arrival." Okay.

After 9/11 al Zarqawi traveled to Afghanistan and joined Taliban and al Qaeda forces resisting the U.S. led invasion. Purportedly, he was wounded in a U.S. bombardment after which he moved to Iran to re-organize al-Tawhid, his former militant organization. In the summer of 2002, he was reported to have settled in northern Iraq where he joined the Islamist Ansar al-Islam group that fought Kurdish Nationalist forces. You may recall that b/c of the no-fly zone and the strength of both main Kurdish parties, Saddam Hussein did not control the Kurrdish regions in northern Iraq after GW I.

The U.S. invasion in Iraq occurred in March 2003. Your statement gives the impressuion that al Zarqawi had been endorsed by al-Qaeda and was operating the Iraqi wing of that organization b/f the U.S. invasion. May we have the envelope? "And the proof is..." Or is the envelope empty?

5. "Democracy is thriving in Afghanistan. It is struggling in Iraq. Milllions are free." Spoken like a true altar boy of the Bush administration whose communion is to drink bathwater and mistake it for vintage champagne.

Is Afghanistan better off than b/f we invaded? Certainly. Anything is better than living under a repressive theocracy. Is it a thriving democracy? Hardly. Hamid Karzai is little more than the mayor of Kabul. We have a long way to go in Afghanistan which was at war for 20 years b/f we arrived. In my opinion, it would have been a better idea to recall King Zahir Shah, who just died, and attempt to install a constitutional monarchy but I admit that poses severe doctrinal problems for the flagship democracy of the world.

You bet democracy is struggling in Iraq where it has zero chance to succeed. None; zilch, bupkus. "Not a faht's chance in a gale" as we say down east. If you wish, I'll explain in another comment but rest assured that either b/f or after we leave, some strong man will seize power in any area of the country that does not splinter off and probably in any that do. All for which we can hope is that he willbe more benign than Saddam Hussein and murderous progeny and lot.

"Millions are free." Well, Millions are free from Saddam Hussein's despotism. They are not free to go to work w/o fear of being kidnapped, tortured, and killed. They are not free to go to the marketplace w/o being victimed by a suicide bomber or a car bomb. Millions, including a significant number of middle class Iraqis, Iraqi professionsals, and Iraqi intellectuals have fled the country. Better to be a refugee in Jordan or Syria than dead in your office or classroom in Iraq.

By the way, as the propaganda machine cranks out the party line re the threat of al Qaeda in Iraq, NBC news reports that al Qaeda in Iraq is responsible for 15% of the violence in country.

Al Qaeda must be exterminated but that alone will not alleviate the violence.

6. I "boo and hiss because Bin Laden is still hiding in a cave in Pakistan." I do not think of it as booing and hissing and submit again that statement reveals more about you than it does about me.

What will I complain about after he's dead? A good bet would be the same things I complain about now. Ideologues such as yourself who would do better to learn how gather facts; to think critically; to engage in a little self examination.

Au revoir.