Let’s start with one similarity, just to dismiss the “Cheney didn’t pressure anyone onthe NIEs and even if he did, they didn’t change. anything” comments that may come.
Gareth Porter reported last month that Cheney tried to stifle dissent and have the judgments that he didn’t agree with stricken from the Iran NIE:
A National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iran has been held up for more than a year in an effort to force the intelligence community to remove dissenting judgments on the Iranian nuclear program, and thus make the document more supportive of U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney’s militarily aggressive policy toward Iran, according to accounts of the process provided by participants to two former Central Intelligence Agency officers.
But this pressure on intelligence analysts, obviously instigated by Cheney himself, has not produced a draft estimate without those dissenting views, these sources say. The White House has now apparently decided to release the unsatisfactory draft NIE, but without making its key findings public.
Hmmmm....and the same Gareth Porter reminds us that the Washington Post uncovered pretty much the same thing back in 2003 when it came to Iraq, although that time, it worked for Cheney:
Cheney may have had a bigger impact in shaping the intelligence estimate on Iran to fit the policy he is pursuing than was the case on Iraq in 2002.
The Washington Post reported in June 2003 that Cheney and his chief of staff Scooter Libby had visited CIA analysts several times in 2002 to get them to reexamine their skeptical analysis on the WMD issue. But equally important, the Post quoted a "senior agency official" as saying that speeches by Cheney in August 2002 charging Saddam with having a nuclear weapons program "sent signals, intended or otherwise, that a certain output was desired from here."
The effect was achieved despite the fact that the October 2002 NIE on Iraqi WMD was done very quickly, because it had been forced on the White House in September by the chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Sen. Bob Graham. The White House had only just begun to roll out its propaganda campaign on the fictive Iraqi nuclear weapons program at that point.
I should mention that I am a fan of Porter’s work, and if you check it out, I bet you will be as well.
That being said, I linked above to Norman Podhoretz (one of Rudy’s top advisers I might add) and his thoughts that the NIE and intelligence community is conspiring to make Bush and Cheney look bad. I also linked to John Bolton’s stunning comments about how this NIE was, ironically enough, ”internally contradictory and insufficiently supported”
I’ll let the words internally contradictory and insufficiently supported sit out there for a few moments, just so everyone can bask in the irony and unintentional comedy meter break all records. Shall we recall how credible “Curveball”, the forged yellowcake documents, Chalbi, the mobile bioweapons labs and “slam dunk” evidence about aluminum tubes were?
But back in late 2002, Bolton’s own Department was knee deep in pushing the “Niger uranium” lies
even though this was clearly not the case as pointed out by the State Department months earlier in a prior report not incorporated into the final NIE. Of course, this made it into the SOTU address a month or so later, adding to the reliance on made up evidence that was not based in fact.
And the ethically challenged Podhoretz was not shy about praising the 2002 NIE when he defended Bush a few years ago in another ironically titled post “Who is lying about Iraq?”:
George Tenet, his own CIA director, assured him that the case was “a slam dunk.” This phrase would later become notorious, but in using it, Tenet had the backing of all fifteen agencies involved in gathering intelligence for the United States. In the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) of 2002, where their collective views were summarized, one of the conclusions offered with “high confidence” was that
Iraq is continuing, and in some areas expanding its chemical, biological, nuclear, and missile programs contrary to UN resolutions.
Michael Ledeen, another very fine upstanding credible and rational individual swore up and down that the Iraq uranium claim was accurate suddenly had an about face when the facts don’t fit his outlook of the world.
We can’t forget David Wurmser, a man who is tied to John Bolton, Dick Cheney, the PNAC, Paul Wolfowitz , Chalabi and the American Enterprise Institute. Oh yeah, he has also been investigated for espionage related to passing information along to Israel, wrote an article about overthrowing Saddam in 1997, and most importantly, was one of the most important people when it came to the “disinformation campaign” about Iraq after 9/11:
Just after September 11, 2001, Feith and Rhode recruited David Wurmser, the director of Middle East studies for AEI, to serve as a Pentagon consultant.
Wurmser would be the founding participant of the unnamed, secret intelligence unit at the Pentagon, set up in Feith's office, which would be the nucleus of the Defense Department's Iraq disinformation campaign that was established within weeks of the attacks in New York and Washington. While the CIA and other intelligence agencies concentrated on Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda as the culprit in the 9/11 attacks, Wolfowitz and Feith obsessively focused on Iraq. It was a theory that was discredited, even ridiculed, among intelligence professionals. Daniel Benjamin, co-author of The Age of Sacred Terror, was director of counterterrorism at the National Security Council in the late 1990s. "In 1998, we went through every piece of intelligence we could find to see if there was a link between Al Qaeda and Iraq," he says. "We came to the conclusion that our intelligence agencies had it right: There was no noteworthy relationship between Al Qaeda and Iraq. I know that for a fact." Indeed, that was the consensus among virtually all anti-terrorism specialists.
In short, Wurmser, backed by Feith and Rhode, set out to prove what didn't exist.
And what did the man who had so much to do with getting the public to believe the lies about Iraq have to say about this NIE?
"One has to look at the agendas of the primary movers of this report, to judge how much it can really be banked on," said David Wurmser, a former Middle East adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney, who has worked with the report authors.
Actually, that may break the John Bolton record for the irony/unintentional comedy meter.
In all this hemming and hawing about how the 2007 NIE on Iran is “poorly supported”, “controversial”, “politically motivated”, “questionable” or whatever other negative adjective that the right wing warmongers can conjure up, one thing is clear:
They were all for the NIE findings before they were against them.