Friday, December 07, 2007

War Party Wants A Do-Over On NIE

By Cernig

The Washington Stenographer today reports that Republican war-hawks, sent into paroxsysms of pouty-lipped paranoia by the findings of the Iran NIE, want a do-over.
Senate Republicans are planning to call for a congressional commission to investigate the conclusions of the new National Intelligence Estimate on Iran as well as the specific intelligence that went into it, according to congressional sources.

The move is the first official challenge, but it comes amid growing backlash from conservatives and neoconservatives unhappy about the assessment that Iran halted a clandestine nuclear weapons program four years ago. It reflects how quickly the NIE has become politicized, with critics even going after the analysts who wrote it, and shows a split among Republicans.

Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.) said he plans to introduce legislation next week to establish a commission modeled on a congressionally mandated group that probed a disputed 1995 intelligence estimate on the emerging missile threat to the United States over the next 15 years.
Of course, as Dr. Jeffrey Lewis points out today, Team B wasn't exactly a resounding success. Twelve years after, were still years away from any major power having an ICBM that could threaten CONUS. The commssion that was headed by Donnie Rumsfield got it entirely wrong (they said it would happen within 5 years) and the one headed by Gates as well as the NIE which the warmongers didn't like got it correct. Hmmm...a pattern here, maybe?

Dr. Lewis also observes that there's a "fine line between taking a second look and asking the question until you get the answer you want...this is on the wrong side of that line":
Does anyone believe that Senator Ensign has read the entire 150 page classified-version of the NIE?

Did Wright and Kessler ask him that? Because if he hasn’t, then his reaction is really to the conclusion, rather than the process, isn’t it?

...Congress ought to be arguing over policy, not undermining intelligence judgments that are inconvenient to the preferences of one side or the other. This isn’t a basketball game; you don’t work analysts like coaches work referees.
This goes double, even triple, for the loudest mouthed members of the War party like John Bolton and Norman Podhoretz. They aren't members of the administration, an intelligence agency or Congress so if they've seen the full 150 classified pages they were breaking the law. But, of course, they've only seen the conclusions - and their reactions are to those conclusions, not the process, no matter how much they pretend otherwise.

Update The ever-excellent Heretik picks up Sen Jeff Sessions (War Party, Ala.) who says "If it’s inaccurate, it could result in some very serious damage to legitimate American policy". The Heretik digs up Sessions own words from the intertubes to show that the good Seantor didn't care all that much about inaccuracies when they meant going to war, not avoiding it.

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