News Bolton says NIE is flawed.

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turbo

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John Bolton is making the outrageous claim that professionals in our intelligence community produced a "political" document (NIE) with the intent of making policy. The guy is a certifiable loon. He would have us believe that the analysts and administrators of 16 separate intelligence agencies conspired to down-play the danger posed by Iran. To anybody who has thought this through, the concept is absurd on the face of it. These 16 intelligence agencies had to come up with a consensus assessment, and the findings contained in the NIE must of necessity be moderate and qualified. The truth is probably a lot starker and more clear-cut, but the conclusions were moderated to accommodate doubts and uncertainties. The fact that Cheney et al held up this NIE for over a year suggests that the version drafted in 2006 may have been even more direct and more certain about the cessation of Iran's weapons program.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/12/05/AR2007120502234.html

Bolton is not letting this die. He is beating the war-drum for the neo-cons, and attacking the loyalty and integrity of the employees of each of the 16 intelligence agencies in the process.
 
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Bolton is not letting this die. He is beating the war-drum for the neo-cons, and attacking the loyalty and integrity of the employees of each of the 16 intelligence agencies in the process.
no wonder:

Iran stops accepting U.S. dollars for oil
16:34 | 08/ 12/ 2007

TEHRAN, December 8 (RIA Novosti) - Iran has stopped selling its oil for U.S. dollars, the Iranian ISNA news agency said on Saturday, citing the country's oil minister.

"In line with a policy of selling crude oil in currencies other than the U.S. dollar, the sale of our country's oil in U.S. dollars has been completely eliminated," ISNA reported Oil Minister Gholamhossein Nozari as saying.

He also said "the dollar is no longer a reliable currency."
http://en.rian.ru/world/20071208/91488137.html

It's simple. As Bush/Cheney/etc have demonstrated with Iraq, US politicians don't care what the facts are. They're going to do whatever they want & nobody's going to stop them, especially not the Democrats.
 
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Astronuc

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That could hurt. It will be interesting to see what happens in the next few days and week on the world currency markets. The euro, yen and yuan would presumably strengthen.

Maybe a mixed blessing perhaps. Good if US exports increase, but not so good if cost of imports increases.
 
My Guess:

Bolton usually just reads talking points, but when he does think it's with his mustache.

In his defense it is a rather powerful mustache.
 

turbo

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That could hurt. It will be interesting to see what happens in the next few days and week on the world currency markets. The euro, yen and yuan would presumably strengthen.

Maybe a mixed blessing perhaps. Good if US exports increase, but not so good if cost of imports increases.
Costs of imports increasing is not as much of a problem, since aside from energy, much of these purchases are discretionary and quite a bit of the market is captive. If the profit-margins of chip-makers are depressed, they can absorb some of that. The US is a huge market for PCs and our market crucial to the financial health of the producers, even if the dollar is depressed. Toys, gadgets, and other stuff that is not essential will go unsold if prices in the US rise, leading to price reductions so that China, etc, can keep production up. Don't expect soaring prices on discretionary goods. China relies on cheap labor and very little oversight to streamline production, so decoupling energy costs from the value of the dollar should not have a huge effect on them. They can dump stuff here very cheaply even if their energy costs increase steeply. Also, they are heavily invested in the dollar, and will not allow that huge foreign investment to collapse, so expect more Chinese investment if the dollar sags. Tips from a dummy.
 
I'm not sure if I should be mad because it feels like you're just trying to distract me with a monkey, or be mad at the fact that it's working.
 

turbo

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I'm not sure if I should be mad because it feels like you're just trying to distract me with a monkey, or be mad at the fact that it's working.
He's cuter (and considerably wiser-looking) than Bolton. :rofl: He is equally stern-looking with at least as much real justification as Bolton. Do we have a new UN ambassador in line?
 
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BobG

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He's cuter (and considerably wiser-looking) than Bolton. :rofl: He is equally stern-looking with at least as much real justification as Bolton. Do we have a new UN ambassador in line?
You have a problem with the current UN ambassador, Zalmay Khalilzad, as well?
 

turbo

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You have a problem with the current UN ambassador, Zalmay Khalilzad, as well?
He has been echoing the neocon line that Iran has a nuclear weapons program and needs to be stopped. He is not as outspoken and radical as Bolton, but he is a hawk - not the kind of person that we need in the UN. These guys get regular briefings on intelligence and they know (and have known for a long time) that the intelligence contradicts their claims about Iran, yet they persist in pushing Iran with sanctions and military threats with no attempt at diplomacy. These people are reckless.
 

turbo

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"These people" ?
Yes, these people. Cheney, Wolfowitz, Bolton, Bush, Khalilzad and all the other hawks in the administration who are trying to push us into another war by making claims that are contradicted by the intelligence. When the CIA, the NSA, and 14 other intelligence agencies can issue a consensus report (remember, that means that all of them have to agree to the wording) that says "with a high level of confidence" that Iran stopped its nuclear weapons program 4 years ago, that's a pretty firm assesment. The neocons in this administration have been claiming all this last year that Iran has an active weapons program when they knew last fall that the NIE flatly contradicted that assertion. Then they send out Bolton and others to "refute" the NIE and claim that the intelligence agencies conspired to use the NIE to further some political agenda. He provides not a shred of evidence to support that assertion - he just floats it out there hoping that citizens of the US are stupid enough to fall for the lies and warmongering again. Remember WMDs, yellow-cake, Saddam's ties to Al Qaeda? All false.
 
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When the CIA, the NSA, and 14 other intelligence agencies can issue a consensus report (remember, that means that all of them have to agree to the wording) that says "with a high level of confidence" that Iran stopped its nuclear weapons program 4 years ago, that's a pretty firm assesment.
But that's the only part of the report that's not agreed upon:
Because of intelligence gaps discussed elsewhere in this Estimate, however, DOE and the NIC assess with only moderate confidence that the halt to these represents a halt to Iran's entire nuclear weapons program.
Wait a minute... Isn't the NIC the author of the NIE? Why did they exclude themselves? Maybe that's what Bolton meant by:
Fifth, many involved in drafting and approving the NIE were not intelligence professionals but refugees from the State Department, brought into the new central bureaucracy of the director of national intelligence. These officials had relatively benign views of Iran's nuclear intentions five and six years ago; now they are writing those views as if they were received wisdom from on high. In fact, these are precisely the policy biases they had before, recycled as "intelligence judgments."
 
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BobG

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Yes, these people. Cheney, Wolfowitz, Bolton, Bush, Khalilzad and all the other hawks in the administration who are trying to push us into another war by making claims that are contradicted by the intelligence. When the CIA, the NSA, and 14 other intelligence agencies can issue a consensus report (remember, that means that all of them have to agree to the wording) that says "with a high level of confidence" that Iran stopped its nuclear weapons program 4 years ago, that's a pretty firm assesment. The neocons in this administration have been claiming all this last year that Iran has an active weapons program when they knew last fall that the NIE flatly contradicted that assertion. Then they send out Bolton and others to "refute" the NIE and claim that the intelligence agencies conspired to use the NIE to further some political agenda. He provides not a shred of evidence to support that assertion - he just floats it out there hoping that citizens of the US are stupid enough to fall for the lies and warmongering again. Remember WMDs, yellow-cake, Saddam's ties to Al Qaeda? All false.
Neither Wolfowitz nor Bolton are part of the Bush administration anymore. They both belong to the American Enterprise Institute (aka Administration Exile Institute) along with Perle, Yoo, and David Frum.

Gen Tommy Franks once called Under Secretary of Defense Douglas Feith "the dumbest [expletive] guy on the planet." I'm not sure you could reach a consensus on that. They should scrap the polls and go to a play-off system among the guys we had developing an Iraq plan.

Only came to mind because Feith (who actually did find a job post-Bush), visited his old cronies at the AEI and blamed the mess in Iraq on Bremer. Should be interesting once all the books come out pointing the finger at the other guys in government. Dang - a playoff system after all!
 

Moonbear

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:rofl: Bolton's article is so badly written as to be laughable.

Here are my favorite parts (from the same link Turbo provided already in the OP):
Consider these flaws in the NIE's "key judgments," which were made public even though approximately 140 pages of analysis, and reams of underlying intelligence, remain classified.
Then, later follows with:
Second, the NIE is...insufficiently supported.
So, let's see, there are 140 pages of analysis and reams of underlying intelligence that are classified, so he is not privy to their contents nor are the rest of us, yet he has determined that even knowing this, he can judge whether the claims are sufficiently or insufficiently supported? If you KNOW there are large amounts of evidence you have not seen, why would you jump to the assumption there isn't support for the claims when it's just as likely the support is simply among those classified documents?
 

Ivan Seeking

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So, let's see, there are 140 pages of analysis and reams of underlying intelligence that are classified, so he is not privy to their contents nor are the rest of us, yet he has determined that even knowing this, he can judge whether the claims are sufficiently or insufficiently supported? If you KNOW there are large amounts of evidence you have not seen, why would you jump to the assumption there isn't support for the claims when it's just as likely the support is simply among those classified documents?
Par for the course.
 

mheslep

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... Remember WMDs, yellow-cake, Saddam's ties to Al Qaeda?
WMD, agreed.
Ties to AQ? No. The ties may have been not responsibly checked, exaggerated even, nonetheless Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was in Iraq while Saddam was still in power. The connection between AQ and the regime is disputed, but clearly not demonstrated false.
http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2422/13jul20041400/www.gpoaccess.gov/serialset/creports/pdf/s108-301/sec12.pdf", starting pg 334
http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/1089901831124_85311031/?hub=World" [Broken] (before Iraq war)
http://http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&ct=res&cd=1&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.9-11commission.gov%2Freport%2F911Report.pdf&ei=9vZeR_PQEI-6zQShyvg2&usg=AFQjCNHGlh1FX-h5OMtRGzOky5zJfmQnbQ&sig2=m8ERVaAxSYu7-G2DdIV1ew" [Broken] (only listed as Iraq/AQ connection - please no strawmen about the actual 911 attack)
According to the reporting, Iraqi officials offered Bin Ladin a safe haven in Iraq.
 
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John Bolton is making the outrageous claim that professionals in our intelligence community produced a "political" document (NIE) with the intent of making policy. The guy is a certifiable loon. He would have us believe that the analysts and administrators of 16 separate intelligence agencies conspired to down-play the danger posed by Iran.
No he wouldn't. He'd have us believe that a handful of deputy principals shepherding the NIE through the draft process arranged and worded findings for a political purpose. He's not questioning the substance of the intelligence at all, nor does he have to. The key judgments indicating the IC's confident belief that Iran had a nuclear weapons program as late as 2003 and that the likelihood Iran can acquire weapons goes up as early as 2009 pretty much justifies the Administration's current policy. So unless you're the type who's trusting enough of Tehran to think this NIE proves Iran has given up now evidenced ambitions for nuclear weapons--a view Bolton accuses the coordinating deputies of holding--then you can't ignore the NIE's judgment that their enrichment capacity will open the door for to Iranian nukes in short order.

Bolton is not letting this die. He is beating the war-drum for the neo-cons, and attacking the loyalty and integrity of the employees of each of the 16 intelligence agencies in the process.
Why not? Should Beltway desk jockies get a permanent honeymoon from criticism? And if the process that produced NIEs are so free from political concerns, why do people leak'em piecemeal? Let's face it, there's likely guys at State or Langley who feel as politically passionate as you do. The only difference is that you don't get paid to have your views color the facts.
 
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Gokul43201

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WMD, agreed.
Ties to AQ? No. The ties may have been not responsibly checked, exaggerated even,
And this is not a big deal?

nonetheless Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was in Iraq while Saddam was still in power. The connection between AQ and the regime is disputed, but clearly not demonstrated false.
The administration claimed it was true when it clearly was not demonstrably true. That is the crux of the argument.

Besides, the argument about Zarqawi and the sleeper cells only reveals the following (from your second link):

"Reporting since (February) suggests that senior al Qaeda associate Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has established sleeper cells in Baghdad, to be activated during a U.S. occupation of the city."

The reported added: "These cells apparently intend to attack U.S. targets using car bombs and other weapons. (It is also possible that they have received CB materials from terrorists in the KAZ)," referring to chemical and biological materials and the Kurdish Autonomous Zone. "Al Qaeda-associated terrorists continued to arrive in Baghdad in early March."
So, at best, we have Zarqawi setting up base in Baghdad long after the US decision to invade Iraq was essentially established (i.e., the US invasion was what was responsible for Zarqawi's presence in Iraq).

Before going as far as pg. 334, one reads the following:
(U) Following the publication of the October 2001 paper, the CTC began drafting another paper that would eventually become Iraq and al-Qaida: Interpreting a Murky Relationship. The paper was drafted based on widely expressed interest on the part of several senior policy makers, according to CIA. Throughout the drafting process (October 2001 to June 2002), the two offices took different approaches to assessing Iraq’s links to terrorism as a result of their different missions and perspectives. According to the CIA’s Ombudsman for Politicization, the CTC was aggressive in drawing connections to try to produce information that could be used to support counterterrorism operations, while the NESA took a traditional analytic approach, confirming intelligence with multiple sources and making assessments only based on strongly supported reporting. Analysts worked on several drafts over the eight month drafting period, but CTC management found them unsatisfactory and ultimately produced a draft without NESA’s coordination.

(U) The Deputy Director for Intelligence (DDI) directed that Iraq and ul-Qaida: Interpreting a Murky Relationship be published on June 21,2002, although it did not reflect the NESA’s views. CTC’s explanation of its approach to this study and the analysts’ differing views were contained in the paper’s Scope Note, which stated:

(U) This intelligence assessment responds to senior policymaker interest in a comprehensive assessment of Iraqi regime links to al-Qa’ida. Our approach is purposefully aggressive in seeking to draw connections, on the assumption that any indication of a relationship between these two hostile elements could carry great dangers to the United States.
 
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The administration claimed it was true when it clearly was not demonstrably true. That is the crux of the argument.
Except, of course, there's no intelligence contradicting this judgment.

Besides, the argument about Zarqawi and the sleeper cells only reveals the following (from your second link):

So, at best, we have Zarqawi setting up base in Baghdad long after the US decision to invade Iraq was essentially established (i.e., the US invasion was what was responsible for Zarqawi's presence in Iraq).
By that reasoning, you could argue that the threat of invasion prompted the September 11th attacks as well. After all, Baghdad lived under that threat for 12 years prior to March 2003. In fact, this is a fairly common argument amongst Iraq War proponents.

Before going as far as pg. 334, one reads the following:
Murky was drafted by principals from two offices answering two separate questions. We can infer that CTC's objective was to identify any possible avenue of cooperation between al Qaeda and Iraq whereas NESA sought to determine whether or not available intelligence supported, ruled out, or inclusively addressed operational activity along those pipelines. The answer policymakers got back is "yes, we have links, but we're unable to tell you whether or not these links translate into operational cooperation."

From this point on, it's a judgment call as to whether or not it's appropriate to assume that connections between al Qaeda and Iraq should be treated as operational. That depends entirely on your view of the risks associated. I imagine Zarqawi's return to Iraq in 2002 and a spike in activity in Ansar al-Islam led policymakers to heavily favor a dimmer perspective.
 

Gokul43201

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Except, of course, there's no intelligence contradicting this judgment.
There's also no intelligence contradicting my assertion that there are nuclear jellyfish being bred by DPRK.

By that reasoning, you could argue that the threat of invasion prompted the September 11th attacks as well.
Except, of course, that Baghdad had nothing to do with 9/11.

Murky was drafted by principals from two offices answering two separate questions. We can infer that CTC's objective was to identify any possible avenue of cooperation between al Qaeda and Iraq whereas NESA sought to determine whether or not available intelligence supported, ruled out, or inclusively addressed operational activity along those pipelines. The answer policymakers got back is "yes, we have links, but we're unable to tell you whether or not these links translate into operational cooperation."

From this point on, it's a judgment call as to whether or not it's appropriate to assume that connections between al Qaeda and Iraq should be treated as operational. That depends entirely on your view of the risks associated. I imagine Zarqawi's return to Iraq in 2002 and a spike in activity in Ansar al-Islam led policymakers to heavily favor a dimmer perspective.
This is perfectly fine. What is unacceptable, however, is for instance, Cheney's repeated claims of overwhelming evidence of operational support.
 

turbo

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This is perfectly fine. What is unacceptable, however, is for instance, Cheney's repeated claims of overwhelming evidence of operational support.
The idea that Saddam would tolerate the presence of militant fundamentalist Muslim groups in Iraq is ridiculous. He would have stamped them out ruthlessly as soon as his intelligence apparatus discovered them. Cheney and the other neocons knew this, but they figured that the US public would be too stupid to figure this out. Turns out that they were right - the press repeated these stupid neocon assertions and the public lapped them up. The reason that the West and most Arab countries supported Saddam was because he was a bulwark against fundamentalists. They even looked aside when he gassed the Kurds because of his perceived value in keeping the ME stable.
 
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There's also no intelligence contradicting my assertion that there are nuclear jellyfish being bred by DPRK.
Sure there is. The lack of any reporting of nuclear jellyfish breeding in any country with a far more resourceful nuclear and biological capability. Perhaps you're confusing intelligence with scientific evidence?

Except, of course, that Baghdad had nothing to do with 9/11.
If you believe that, then you probably shouldn't reason a connection between al Qaeda and Baghdad based on the threat of invasion.

This is perfectly fine. What is unacceptable, however, is for instance, Cheney's repeated claims of overwhelming evidence of operational support.
First of all, the VP said there was overwhelming support of "links," not "operational support" (i.e., participation in any specific al Qaeda operation). The question of what is "overwhelming," particularly in intelligence, is a judgment call (as evidenced by the two separate objectives in drafting Murky). It's up to decision-makers, not providers, to determine whether or not some collation of product supports a policy. That not only includes the Administration but at least the Select Intelligence committee members in Congress as well.
 
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The idea that Saddam would tolerate the presence of militant fundamentalist Muslim groups in Iraq is ridiculous. He would have stamped them out ruthlessly as soon as his intelligence apparatus discovered them.
Of course, that judgment is directly contradicted by the physical presence of militant fundamentalist Muslim groups--IMI and its descendant Ansar al Islam operated in Sulaymaniyah.
 

turbo

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Of course, that judgment is directly contradicted by the physical presence of militant fundamentalist Muslim groups--IMI and its descendant Ansar al Islam operated in Sulaymaniyah.
You forgot to mention that they were deep in the Kurdish zone, and that the Kurds had established a high degree of autonomy under US enforcement of the "no fly" zones. Saddam was not tolerant of religious fundamentalism and under his rule, Iraq was the most secular of the Arab states.
 

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