Reading Douglas Juhl’s Sunday New York Times piece on a Defense Intelligence Agency document released by Senate Armed Services Committee ranking Democrat, Sen. Carl Levin, made me think of the sports book guys on cable TV.
Levin would have you believe that where CIA intelligence was flawed, DIA’s was magically 100% correct. If find that hard to believe – especially in light of such wooden statements such as this:
“Saddam’s regime is intensely secular and is wary of Islamic revolutionary movements,” the D.I.A. report said in one of two declassified paragraphs. “Moreover, Baghdad is unlikely to provide assistance to a group it cannot control.”
That’s boilerplate analysis my friends, it’s got no relation to boots on the ground intelligence. Saddam’s government was substantially more dynamic in it’s allies and casual alliances than that wrote an analysis could ever indicate.
On this particular report I do find it odd that a report from one agency is given credence in discrediting the work of another, when it’s entirely possible that both (or neither) were wrong. I’ve got no inside scoop as to the validity of the information in the DIA report – for all I know every word of it is true. It’s also true that one of the benefits of looking at the world through the intel font of known truths is that one can easily triangulate a winning (or non-loosing) strategy by sticking close to the “known facts.” When it comes to intelligence these “known facts” often turn out to be neither.
You know that crazy screaming guy on the football betting show who “I loooooooooveee these games!“? No one ever looks back at his past record, since he’s so busy telling you all the winners he’s picked. I suspect that the pre-war intelligence assessments have so much contradictory information, and couched language, in them that they can be spun as winners regardless of the actual outcome.
I can imaging the reports authors saying, “Heads they are pursing weapons; tails they’re not, but either way we win!“
or, I looooove this intelligence!!!!