The declassified pages of the latest National Intelligence Estimate, all two of them, are now available. They say Al Qaeda is resurgent from its Musharaff-provided safe haven in Pakistan and using the debacle Bush has created in Iraq as a hothouse training ground to fuel recruitment, fundraising and illwill for attacks on the West including the USA.
Pakistan? But - it's an ally, isn't it? Then again, so is Saudi Arabia, where many of Al Qaeda in Iraq's recruits come from. However, there's no mention of Saudi in the released pages at all, by some strange oversight.
So, in the absence of a good warmongering narrative to drum from the declassified pages, the neocons are having to make one up. Eli Lake at the NY Sun, one of the neocon movements' favorite shills, steps up to bat with a claim that Iran is sheltering and aiding the bit of Al Qaeda's leadership that is making all the decisions in Iraq.
But hang on, Lake is sourcing his report on what the classified portion of the NIE says so we won't see if it really says what Lake says it does. "Three American intelligence sources" told him about the NIE's report on Iran's aid for AQI. Note that they aren't described as "officials" - they needn't even be members of the administration and Lake is still technically in safe journalistic territory.
Moreover, "an intelligence official sympathetic to the view that it is a matter of Iranian policy to cooperate with Al Qaeda" i.e. someone from Cheney's office who has already made his mind up, told Lake that AQ's presence in Iran must be because Iran's leaders are aiding AQ, not because AQ is hostile to iran and wants to attack Iran too.
Co-incidentally, Heritage Foundation insider and blogger Captain Ed will have Lake and some bod from the Heritage Foundation on CQ radio tonight. Smooth. The narrative rolls onward and is accepted as gospel by every neocon warmonger, to be regurgitated as "proven fact" at a later date.