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Harman to Negroponte: Deliver the NIE Before November

By ThinkProgress  

"Harman to Negroponte: Deliver the NIE Before November"

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Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA), ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee, has sent a letter to intelligence director John Negroponte demanding that he complete the second NIE on Iraq quickly, and release a declassified version before the elections in November. An excerpt:

NIEs have been produced in as little as several weeks, as in the case of the 2002 report on Iraqi WMD. While I understand the desire to be thorough, events in Iraq make it urgent that the Intelligence Community produce this NIE immediately. If your intention is to delay this report until after the November elections, I do not think that is appropriate given that U.S. troops are at risk at this moment. …

I urge you to expedite completion of the NIE and to release it in both classified and publicly releasable unclassified forms.

White House advisor Fran Townsend said yesterday, “My understanding is the planned release date, given the work that must be done to have it be comprehensive and complete, is January of ’07.”

UPDATE: A reader tips us off to the following tidbit from the Council on Foreign Relations:

How long does it take to write an NIE?

NIE drafting guidelines included in the July 9 Senate report describe three rough timeframes: a “fast track” of two to three weeks, a “normal track” of four to eight weeks, and a “long track” of two months or more. The vice chairman of the NIC told Senate investigators that an NIE prepared in 60 days would be considered a very fast schedule and that NIEs typically take three to six months to complete.

Digg it!

Read the full letter:

September 27, 2006

The Honorable John Negroponte
Director of National Intelligence
New Executive Office Building
725 Seventeenth Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20511

Dear Director Negroponte:

I received your letter of September 26, in which you confirmed that the National Intelligence Council (NIC) is writing a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iraq. Though you promised that the NIE would be completed “in a timely manner,” senior White House officials have indicated publicly that the report may not be completed until January 2007.

This timetable is unacceptable. Sectarian violence, which has reached record levels and continues to grow, is putting our troops – not to mention millions of Iraqis – at grave risk. Furthermore, the proven ineffectiveness of U.S.-trained Iraqi security forces, an absence of effective infrastructure reconstruction, and political crises that threaten the fragile new polity have made it clear that we need a new strategy in Iraq.

NIEs have been produced in as little as several weeks, as in the case of the 2002 report on Iraqi WMD. While I understand the desire to be thorough, events in Iraq make it urgent that the Intelligence Community produce this NIE immediately. If your intention is to delay this report until after the November elections, I do not think that is appropriate given that U.S. troops are at risk at this moment.

U.S. policymakers need the Intelligence Community’s insights to determine how to defend our troops and our interests in Iraq. I urge you to expedite completion of the NIE and to release it in both classified and publicly releasable unclassified forms.

Sincerely,

Jane Harman
Ranking Member

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