WASHINGTON, Dec. 6 - A classified cable sent by the Central Intelligence Agency's station chief in Baghdad has warned that the situation in Iraq is deteriorating and may not rebound any time soon, according to government officials.
The cable, sent late last month as the officer ended a yearlong tour, presented a bleak assessment on matters of politics, economics and security, the officials said. They said its basic conclusions had been echoed in briefings presented by a senior C.I.A. official who recently visited Iraq.
The officials described the two assessments as having been "mixed," saying that they did describe Iraq as having made important progress, particularly in terms of its political process, and credited Iraqis with being resilient.
But over all, the officials described the station chief's cable in particular as an unvarnished assessment of the difficulties ahead in Iraq. They said it warned that the security situation was likely to get worse, including more violence and sectarian clashes, unless there were marked improvements soon on the part of the Iraqi government, in terms of its ability to assert authority and to build the economy.
Together, the appraisals, which follow several other such warnings from officials in Washington and in the field, were much more pessimistic than the public picture being offered by the Bush administration before the elections scheduled for Iraq next month, the officials said..........More