By Alan Caruba
If you want to understand what's going on with the latest National Intelligence Estimate, first read "Sabotage: America's Enemies Within the CIA" by Rowan Scarborough (Regnery Publishing).
"The intelligence community, sometimes anonymously, sometimes not, would make allegations of Bush Administration wrongdoing. The charges were leaked to the press. Months later, the Senate Intelligence Committee or another body would find no evidence to back up the leaks. But by then, the damage to the public's perception of the war had been done."(P. 95)
Who damaged the CIA? Under President Clinton, "He shrank the CIA's analytical and operations branches by at least 30 percent. Stations in Latin America and Asia closed or downsized. Indonesia, the world's largest Muslim country, had only three CIA officers by the mid-1990s. The entire roster of case officers was reduced from 1,600 to 1,200, and there were only 400 collection management officers at American embassies to turn reports from case officers into cables back to Langley." (P. 114)
Is Iran a nuclear threat? "A nuclear-armed Iran, with its long-range ballistic missiles and fanatical leaders, could lead to a Middle East Armageddon. If the Iranian regime of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was true to its word and tried to eliminate Israel, it would mean nuclear war. Classified DIA documents I obtained showed that Israel maintained an arsenal of eighty-two nuclear warheads." (P. 177)
So, excuse me, but it seems, given the CIA's record of trying to undermine the credibility of the Bush Administration since it took office, that the release of the latest ESTIMATE looks suspiciously like yet another CIA end-run to embarrass Bush.
Since the public will never be permitted to see the facts on which the estimate is based, there is no way to determine if the analysis is valid or not. One thing we know, they were out to lunch when 9/11 occurred. Meanwhile, the Israelis, whose intelligence capabilities are among the world's most highly regarded, are convinced the Iranians are working toward building nuclear weapons.
The CIA's track record to date appears to be alarmingly poor when it comes to fundamental tasks such as finding out where Osama bin Laden is. Around CIA headquarters the joke was "Osama Been Forgotten."
"By the winter of 2003, the CIA's PR war on Bush had broadened. A group of current and former intelligence officers formed an anti-Bush organization called Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity." (P. 100)
An effort by Bush to put the place right by appointing Porter Goss as its director failed when a gaggle of CIA insiders made life for him and his aides so miserable he resigned within a fairly short time.
So I'm thinking this whole affair, giddily reported by a mainstream media that delights in making Bush look like a liar, a fool, or both, smells of dirty politics CIA-style.