Security

NPR’s Rehm: Delayed Iraq NIE Will Undermine Case For Escalation

Six months ago, Harper’s Ken Silverstein reported that “in spite of pressure from CIA analysts, intelligence czar John Negroponte was blocking a new National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iraq.” National Intelligence Estimates present the consensus view of the U.S. intelligence apparatus. Despite pressure from Congress, the administration insisted it could not complete the NIE until January 2007.

Last week, however, an administration intelligence official told senators that the report is still not complete. According to Silverstein, Senate hearing attendees “believe that senior intelligence officials are stalling because an NIE will be bleak enough to present a significant political liability.”

Yesterday, NPR host Diane Rehm may have revealed why the NIE remains so politically sensitive. On her national radio show, Rehm said:

It’s my understanding that the National Intelligence Estimate…is going to suggest that adding troops is the wrong way to go, that it’s not going to improve the situation.

Yesterday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), and the House and Senate intelligence committee chairmen wrote President Bush “urging prompt completion of a national intelligence estimate (NIE) on Iraq first requested by Congress six months ago.” Read the full letter HERE.

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Full transcript:

REHM: It’s my understanding that the National Intelligence Estimate — that now at least two months overdue — is going to suggest that adding troops is the wrong way to go, that it’s not going to improve the situation. Why has that NIE been delayed for so long? And was it deliberately delayed until after the election — after President Bush’s speech last night?

VIN WEBER: I don’t know. I doubt it. I mean, I don’t often buy into conspiracy theories in Washington. There’s too many reporters that uncover those.

REHM: Do you question that John?

JOHN PODESTA: Well, you know it was due in August. I think when they want to get something out, they get it out. And when they want to have more review, they have more reviews. So I think at this point that the Congress demand that that NIE be completed and provided to the Congress.