Friday, March 07, 2008

How's Iraq Doing? Shhhh, It's A Secret

By Cernig

While General Petraeus' next report to Congress will no doubt be subject to the same PR blitz and general folderol as last time - and deal almost entirely with military matters - the intelligence community's National Intelligence Estimate, which will deal far more with such matters as reconstruction and reconciliation, is to be kept under wraps.
A new National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq is scheduled to be completed this month, according to U.S. intelligence officials. But leaders of the intelligence community have not decided whether to make its key judgments public, a step that caused an uproar when key judgments in an NIE about Iran were released in November.

The classified estimate on Iraq is intended as an update of last summer's assessment, which predicted modest security improvements but an increasingly precarious political situation there, the U.S. officials said.

It is meant to be delivered to Congress before testimony in early April by Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, and U.S. Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker, according to a letter sent last week by Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell to Sen. John W. Warner (R-Va.).

...Intelligence officials said that the National Intelligence Board -- made up of the heads of the 16 intelligence agencies plus McConnell -- will decide whether to release the Iraq judgments once the estimate is completed. But they made clear that they lean toward a return to the traditional practice of keeping such documents secret.

In internal guidance he issued in October, McConnell said that his policy was that they "should not be declassified."
Because, y'know, transparency and oversight on actual progress that counts in America's most expensive military adventure since WW2 is what the Bush administration are all about in the run-up to a general election...

(Just like they're all about oversight of the intel community in the first place)


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