Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Leaky Intel

Regarding the leaked National Intelligence Estimate, I work in a shop where we produce intelligence estimates, some of which filter up to the national estimate. I am here to tell you that any assessment written that diverts from a straight line drawn on a vector from 2003 to now and into the indefinite future will not make it past the initial chop. Notice how this leaked NIE assesses the past with such confidence. The prevailing view is that nothing has happened that has shown up on CNN (which runs constantly on two screens where I work) so nothing has happened. But I disagree with those who assign dark motives, never attribute an action to malice when incompetence, gutlessness and CYA will suffice. Most of the Colonels and Navy Captains who sign off on these estimates are betting that Iran won’t do anything for at least the next few years, by which time the Colonels will have a star or have been forced to retire. Then, whatever does happen, they can write a book claiming that their dire warnings were ignored and that they were the lone voice arguing ________ (you fill in the blank). Just wait and see.