Tuesday Highlights

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5 comments

  1. As I wrote in Now You See It, Now You Don’t a week ago the relentless partisanship in Washington means that any change to an intelligence estimate is a prima facie scandal, even though it is nature of estimates to change. This means analysts must worry about how politicians will react to their assessments rather than worrying about what is true.

    It’s funny that you blame it on “partisanship,” when it’s simply Bush and Cheney’s dishonesty that’s made it an issue to begin with.

    It’s a scandal because it revealed that Bush and Cheney have been lying their asses off. If Bush and Cheney hadn’t been warning about “World War III” and nuclear weapons after they had been made aware of this intelligence, there would be no scandal.

    The report would just have been some good news.

  2. Mark says:

    JA,
    See “flip-flop”. Politicians are severely punished for any change in outlook whether or not the world changes.

    You have evidence that dishonesty is involved or is that your prejudice. There were prior estimates. If they are the same or different than the recent one doesn’t that make a difference regarding your accusation of dishonesty?

    I have not read the nie, btw. I’m not sure about making strong distinctions between civilian and military nuclear technology, especially if breeder reactor (Plutonium) is involved. Breeder reactors are common in Europe, and it is likely that is where they are getting their technology. However, that is entirely conjecture.

    It is, however, curious how people invest trust in estimates from our intelligence community when they align with their preconceptions. My personal preconception regarding our intelligence community is that they are mostly useless.

  3. See “flip-flop”. Politicians are severely punished for any change in outlook whether or not the world changes.

    This is true and unfortunate. However, that’s only a subset of flip-flops. The bad ones are where politicians change their stances merely for popularity.

    You have evidence that dishonesty is involved or is that your prejudice. There were prior estimates. If they are the same or different than the recent one doesn’t that make a difference regarding your accusation of dishonesty?

    President Bush was told in August that Iran’s nuclear weapons program “may be suspended,” the White House said Wednesday, which seemingly contradicts the account of the meeting given by Bush Tuesday…

    In October, the president told reporters, “If you’re interested in avoiding World War III, it seems like you ought to be preventing [Iran] from having the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon.”

    It is, however, curious how people invest trust in estimates from our intelligence community when they align with their preconceptions. My personal preconception regarding our intelligence community is that they are mostly useless.

    Well, what else are people basing their information on? The intelligence was wrong about Iraq, but Bush played up the threat from Saddam while downplaying the doubts about the intel. In Iran’s case if the intelligence community believes that Iran has suspended its nuclear operations, why would the administration continue to imply that they haven’t?

  4. Oops, sorry about the link runaway. 🙁

  5. Speaking of Bush and intelligence and lying, by the way, I’d be curious to hear what you have to think about Scott McClellan’s Valerie Plame bombshell:

    “The most powerful leader in the world had called upon me to speak on his behalf and help restore credibility he lost amid the failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. So I stood at the White house briefing room podium in front of the glare of the klieg lights for the better part of two weeks and publicly exonerated two of the senior-most aides in the White House: Karl Rove and Scooter Libby.

    “There was one problem. It was not true.

    “I had unknowingly passed along false information. And five of the highest ranking officials in the administration were involved in my doing so: Rove, Libby, the vice President, the President’s chief of staff, and the president himself.”