Scapegoating the CIA

Paul Pillar was a college friend of Deacon’s and mine. He was a superb student, and as reliable and trustworthy a person as I have known. During the 1990s Paul was the chief analyst at the C.I.A.’s counterterrorism center. In today’s New York Times, he responds to the staff report of the Sept. 11 commission, which was released last month and which claimed that the CIA “failed to recognize the ‘catastrophic threat’ that Al Qaeda represented and did not shake the pre-9/11 ‘conventional wisdom’ about the extent of this danger.”
Paul writes:

[T]he agencies’ 1995 national intelligence estimate on foreign terrorist threats in the United States…judged that the odds were increasing that terrorists would try to use chemical or biological agents, but that they “were more likely to use the conventional weapons with which they are familiar and which can be extremely destructive.”
The estimate postulated that the bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993

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