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About that National Intelligence Estimate

By Michelle Malkin  •  September 25, 2006 01:28 AM

The NYTimes and WaPo went big yesterday with news of a leaked classified National Intelligence Estimate report, which reportedly claims that the Iraq war is exacerbating Islamic terrorism. WaPo:

The war in Iraq has become a primary recruitment vehicle for violent Islamic extremists, motivating a new generation of potential terrorists around the world whose numbers may be increasing faster than the United States and its allies can reduce the threat, U.S. intelligence analysts have concluded.

A 30-page National Intelligence Estimate completed in April cites the “centrality” of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, and the insurgency that has followed, as the leading inspiration for new Islamic extremist networks and cells that are united by little more than an anti-Western agenda. It concludes that, rather than contributing to eventual victory in the global counterterrorism struggle, the situation in Iraq has worsened the U.S. position, according to officials familiar with the classified document.

If our intelligence agencies are laboring under the moonbat illusion that Muslim hatred of the infidel West didn’t really start bubbling until the year 2003, we are really in deep, deep doo-doo. Have they not been paying attention over the last year? All it takes is a few cartoons or a dropped Koran or a defiant apostate or a Muslim woman in a bikini or a papal speech quotation to set off The Religion of Perpetual Outrage. Someone order up some copies of Legacy of Jihad and Islamic Imperialism stat.

Ed Morrissey has a good reality check, as do a few of his commenters:

Well, well, well. The MSM has been gloating for years over all the errors, misapprehensions and blunders of US intelligence agencies, after cheering the gutting of them by the Church Commission and allied forces.

So now we’re to breathlessly glue ourselves to MSM descriptions of yet more intelligence conclusions, and accept them at face value? Well, MSM were you lying before, or are you lying now? Is this another leakage of ‘information’ from agencies hostile to the Bush Administration, with intent to discredit?

Remember, NPR broadcasts two different forms of product: ‘news’ and ‘information’. The other organs do the same, without saying so. Which are we to believe?

Posted by: Insufficiently Sensitive at September 24, 2006 10:55 AM


Every one of those who contributed to this report should not have graduated from college. They flunk history, plain and simple. They are fourteen hundred years late in their assessment of the causation of Islamic terrorism. The dead Jews of the Qurayza oasis, the dead Christians and Jews of various Byzantine provinces, North Africa, the Iberian Peninsula, Southern France, Southern Italy, Sicily, Greece, the Balkaks, Southeastern Europe, Asia Minor, the Persians, the Hindus and Buddhists, and the various other peoples who have fallen under the Sword of the Prophet – all can testify to where it comes from and what amplifies it.

Send these idiots back to a college or university that has not improperly revised history.

Posted by: FredIsinglass at September 24, 2006 11:10 AM


One could just as well argue that invading North Africa in 1942 made America’s war with Germany far worse since before that the war was limited to shipping lanes and a few U-boat vs destroyer incidents.

One could argue that invading Virginia in 1861 made America’s war on the Confederacy worse.

One could argue that America’s War with Spain was a foreign skirmish on the other side of the globe until the invasion of Cuba.

It’s called waging war…

Posted by: sam pender at September 24, 2006 11:10 AM

Andy Cochran has an apt reminder about the past worthlessness of NIEs and a plea against politicizing them:

The 1997 NIE, the last one before the 9/11 attacks on global terrorism, mentioned bin Laden in only three sentences as a “terrorist financier” and didn’t reference al-Qaeda at all. And of course, it was the October 2002 NIE which was a significant factor in the decision to use force against Iraq by famously asserting, “Baghdad has chemical and biological weapons as well as missiles with ranges in excess of UN restrictions; if left unchecked, it probably will have a nuclear weapon during this decade.”

SO FOR GOD’S SAKE, let’s not turn this NIE into another partisan political battle over intelligence. The American people deserve to know, to the maximum extent possible, the actual findings and conclusions in this NIE and not depend on partial reports and leaks, which could be driven by all sorts of hidden agendas. The White House and DNI Negroponte should ask the members of the 9/11 Commission to independently review the NIE and release an unclassified version or summary of the report as soon as possible.

AJ Strata wonders what I wonder: Where is the accountability for the leaks?

[W]hat is really troubling is we still have a revolt in our intelligence community which is trying to use the news media to influence our elections. The second greatest threat to our democracy is the intelligence community using intel against their political opponents. The whole FISA-NSA debate is about someone using intelligence assets to undermine a political foe. The thrust of this debate has been the President using these powers to undermine our country. But a battle takes two sides and what we have seen is the abuse of power and responsibility in the IC leaks to the NY Times, which regularly spins the information fed to them.

Did the anti-American fever go up when we attacked the Taliban? Yes it did. But to worry about the hornet nest as it is arrayed to kill us just emphasizes once again why the left cannot be trusted to lead us. There are a million excuses (as Clinton can attest) why not to go to war. It is easy to hope the threat will go away after the latest attacks. But at some point those who care will say ‘enough is enough’ and fight back. Knowning in advance to fight will create an initial burst of effort on the opposing side. The idea is to win the battle of strength and endurance.

What I want to know is where are the checks and balances so these people in sensitive positions with access to classified information cannot abue their powers? We know the President has checks to make sure he doesn’t misuse his powers, but what about these other partisans using their positions to undermine our elections?


The White House sent out a response yesterday. I’m reprinting the whole thing here:

The Rest Of The Story: The National Intelligence Estimate

The Washington Post Says The National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) Describes “A Different Kind Of Conflict Than The One Outlined By President Bush In A Series Of Recent Speeches.” “Although intelligence officials agree that the United States has seriously damaged the leadership of al-Qaeda and disrupted its ability to plan and direct major operations, radical Islamic networks have spread and decentralized.” (Karen DeYoung, “Spy Agencies Say Iraq War Hurting U.S. Terror Fight,” The Washington Post, 9/24/06)

Ø The President’s National Strategy For Combating Terrorism (NSCT), Released On September 5th, States That “Terrorist Networks Today Are More Dispersed And Less Centralized.” NSCT: “They are more reliant on smaller cells inspired by a common ideology and less directed by a central command structure.” (National Strategy For Combating Terrorism, September 2006)

Ø The NSCT States That The “Transnational” Threat We Face Is “Not Monolithic.” NSCT: “This transnational movement is not monolithic. Although al-Qaida functions as the movement’s vanguard and remains, along with its affiliate groups and those inspired by them, the most dangerous present manifestation of the enemy, the movement is not controlled by any single individual, group, or state. What unites the movement is a common vision, a common set of ideas about the nature and destiny of the world, and a common goal of ushering in totalitarian rule. What unites the movement is the ideology of oppression, violence, and hate.” (National Strategy For Combating Terrorism, September 2006)

Ø The President’s September 5th Remarks Discuss The “Threat Posed By Different Strains Of Violent Islamic Radicalism.” THE PRESIDENT: “As al Qaeda changes, the broader terrorist movement is also changing, becoming more dispersed and self-directed. More and more, we’re facing threats from locally established terrorist cells that are inspired by al Qaeda’s ideology and goals, but do not necessarily have direct links to al Qaeda, such as training and funding. Some of these groups are made up of ‘homegrown’ terrorists, militant extremists who were born and educated in Western nations, were indoctrinated by radical Islamists or attracted to their ideology, and joined the violent extremist cause. These locally established cells appear to be responsible for a number of attacks and plots, including those in Madrid, and Canada, and other countries across the world.” (President Bush, Remarks, Washington, DC, 9/5/06)

Ø To View The Full Text Of The President’s Remarks This Month, Please Visit: http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2006/09/

The New York Times Reports That The NIE Differs From The President’s Recent Assessments Of The War On Terror Because The NIE “Asserts That Islamic Radicalism, Rather Than Being In Retreat, Has Metastasized And Spread Across The Globe.” (Mark Mazzetti, “Spy Agencies Say Iraq War Worsens Terror Threat,” The New York Times, 9/24/06)

Ø In The President’s Remarks Leading Up To The 9/11 Anniversary, He Made Clear That “The Terrorist Danger Remains.” THE PRESIDENT: “In five years since our nation was attacked, al Qaeda and terrorists it has inspired have continued to attack across the world. They’ve killed the innocent in Europe and Africa and the Middle East, in Central Asia and the Far East, and beyond. Most recently, they attempted to strike again in the most ambitious plot since the attacks of September the 11th – a plan to blow up passenger planes headed for America over the Atlantic Ocean. Five years after our nation was attacked, the terrorist danger remains.” (President Bush, Remarks, Washington, DC, 9/5/06)

Ø The NSCT States That “Our Homeland Is Not Immune From Attack.” “While the United States Government and its partners have thwarted many attacks, we have not been able to prevent them all. Terrorists have struck in many places throughout the world, from Bali to Beslan to Baghdad. While we have substantially improved our air, land, sea, and border security, our Homeland is not immune from attack.” (National Strategy For Combating Terrorism, September 2006)

The Washington Post Reports That The NIE “Describes The Situation In Iraq As Promoting The Spread Of Radical Islam By Providing A Focal Point.” (Karen DeYoung, “Spy Agencies Say Iraq War Hurting U.S. Terror Fight,” The Washington Post, 9/24/06)

Ø The President’s September 5th Remarks Note That Terrorists Consider Iraq “The Central Battlefield” In The War On Terror. THE PRESIDENT: “But they’ve made clear that the most important front in their struggle against America is Iraq – the nation bin Laden has declared the ‘capital of the Caliphate.’ Hear the words of bin Laden: ‘I now address… the whole… Islamic nation: Listen and understand… The most… serious issue today for the whole world is this Third World War… [that] is raging in [Iraq].’ He calls it ‘a war of destiny between infidelity and Islam.’ He says, ‘The whole world is watching this war,’ and that it will end in ‘victory and glory or misery and humiliation.’ For al Qaeda, Iraq is not a distraction from their war on America – it is the central battlefield where the outcome of this struggle will be decided.” (President Bush, Remarks, Washington, DC, 9/5/06)

The Washington Post Reports That The NIE Claims “The War In Iraq Has Become A Primary Recruitment Vehicle For Violent Islamic Extremists.” (Karen DeYoung, “Spy Agencies Say Iraq War Hurting U.S. Terror Fight,” The Washington Post, 9/24/06)

Ø The Terrorists’ Own Words, Cited In The President’s September 5th Remarks, Show They Are Driven By Numerous Reasons, Including Establishing A Caliphate Encompassing Much Of The World. THE PRESIDENT: “They’re driven by a radical and perverted vision of Islam that rejects tolerance, crushes all dissent, and justifies the murder of innocent men, women and children in the pursuit of political power. They hope to establish a violent political utopia across the Middle East, which they call a ‘Caliphate’ — where all would be ruled according to their hateful ideology. Osama bin Laden has called the 9/11 attacks — in his words — “a great step towards the unity of Muslims and establishing the Righteous… [Caliphate].” This caliphate would be a totalitarian Islamic empire encompassing all current and former Muslim lands, stretching from Europe to North Africa, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia. We know this because al Qaeda has told us. About two months ago, the terrorist Zawahiri — he’s al Qaeda’s second in command — declared that al Qaeda intends to impose its rule in ‘every land that was a home for Islam, from [Spain] to Iraq.’ He went on to say, ‘The whole world is an open field for us.” (President Bush, Remarks, Washington, DC, 9/5/06)

* Osama Bin Laden: The 9/11 Attacks Were “A Great Step Towards The Unity Of Muslims And Establishing The Righteous [Caliphate].” BIN LADEN: “These attacks took off the skin of the American wolf and they have been left standing in their filthy, naked reality. Thus the whole World awoke from its sleep and the Muslims realized the importance of the belief of loving and hating for the sake of Allah; the ties of brotherhood between the Muslims have become stronger, which is a very good sign and a great step towards the unity of Muslims and establishing the Righteous Islamic Khilafah insha-Allah.” (Translation Of Purported Bin Laden Audio Message, Posted On Islamist Site, 2/14/03)

* Ayman Al-Zawahiri: “The Whole World Is An Open Field For Us.” ZAWAHIRI: “The war with Israel is not about a treaty, a cease-fire agreement, Sykes-Picot borders, national zeal, or disputed borders. It is rather a jihad for the sake of God until the religion of God is established. It is jihad for the liberation of Palestine, all Palestine, as well as every land that was a home for Islam, from Andalusia to Iraq. The whole world is an open field for us.” (Al-Zawahiri’s ‘Full’ Message On War In Lebanon, Gaza Strip, Posted On Jihadist Website, 7/28/06)

* Zawahiri: “The Reinstatement Of Islamic Rule … Is The Individual Duty Of Every Muslim … With Every Land Occupied By Infidels.” ZAWAHIRI: “Supporting the jihad in Palestine with one’s life, money, and opinion is the individual duty of every Muslim because Palestine was a land of Islam that was occupied by the infidels. This means that its liberation and the reinstatement of Islamic rule there is the individual duty of every Muslim as unanimously decided by the nation’s scholars. And such is the case with every land occupied by infidels.” (Al-Zawahiri’s June Video Message Supporting Palestinians, Posted On Jihadist Site, 6/11/06)

More from the White House.

Charles Johnson:

Did the National Intelligence Council expect the jihadis to just surrender? Did they expect us to surrender?

Why is this even news? (I know, I know—because it can be used to try to hurt the Bush administration.)

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