"On Tuesday evening the White House issued what it called a fact sheet lining up the intelligence estimate’s findings with President Bush’s own words in recent months, comparing, for example, the report’s account of the the spread of new terror cells independent of Al-Qaeda to Mr. Bush’s references to “homegrown terrorists’’ from Madrid to Britain.
But there is a difference in tone between Mr. Bush’s public statements and the classified assessment that is unmistakable.
The report says that over the next five years “the confluence of shared purpose and dispersed actors will make it harder to find and undermine jihadist groups.’’
It also suggests that while democratization and “exposing the religious and political straitjacket that is implied by the jihadists’ propaganda’’ might dim the appeal of the terrorist groups, those factors are now outweighed by the dangerous brew of fear of Western domination, the battle for Iraq’s future and the slow pace of real economic or political progress.
Yet the intelligence report bears none of Mr. Bush’s long-range optimism. Rather it dwells on Mr. Rumsfeld’s darker question, which he put cheekily as, “Is our current situation such that ‘the harder we work, the behinder we get?’ ”
Tuesday’s declassified report asked a more subtle version of that question. It notes that while democratization might “begin to slow the spread’’ of extremism, the “destabilizing transitions’’ caused by political change “will create new opportunities for jihadists to exploit.’’" NY Times
I find this NIE to be an "average" piece of work, done by professionals and hopefully indicative of the kind of documents that the NIC will produce under DNI leadership (Negroponte).
Having gone this far, the government ought to release the rest of the document. NIEs are not written in such a way as to make "sources and methods" vulnerable to discernment by reading the text.
This is a potentially "deadly" document in the propaganda wars between the two parties. It says that the war in Iraq, already known to all but the true believers to have been free of WMD not only is a recruiting tool for more and more jihadis, but the war also is not doing anything to contribute to the Bush Administration goal of revolutionary change in Middle Eastern minds.
People are asking if Bush read the NIE? Of course he read it. He just can’t figure out what to do about it.