But one highly reliable intelligence community source I consulted immediately after Hadley spoke answered my question this way: “This is absolutely absurd. The NIE has been in substantially the form in which it was finally submitted for more than six months. The White House, and particularly Vice President Cheney, used every trick in the book to stop it from being finalized and issued. There was no last minute breakthrough that caused the issuance of the assessment.” So what, I asked, if not an intelligence breakthrough, what caused the last-minute change and the sudden issuance of the summary of the NIE? My source had no idea.
Horton’s source adds that though it appears Vice President Cheney “and his team” had “to fold their cards” on “plans for an air war in Iran,” Cheney’s “a tenacious son-of-a-bitch. He may very well be back at it tomorrow.”