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.
There you go, Bush is listening to experts. He just isn't going to let anyone else hear what they've told him, because it goes against what he wants to do. And this is above and beyond the information they've suppressed in the PHASE II report. Now that the Democrats hold the majority, shall we remind them that as our elected representatives, they need to gain a spine and hold Bush accountable?
Now I don't want to get ahead of myself, but the pressure you bring to your elected officials to demand this information is critical. These are people's lives they are playing with. Remember, the very idea of impeaching Nixon was "off the table" too, until so much information came out that even his own party couldn't support him any more. Sunlight and transparency truly are the best disinfectant. Let's start cleaning things up.