Yesterday, I expressed disappointment with the CIA’s National Intelligence Council “2020” report on the ground that it was banal and uninformative. As I mentioned yesterday, the report is broadly supportive of the administration’s foreign policy in Iraq and elsewhere in the region. But a number of newspapers, including the Washington Post, have jumped on a sentence or two in the report to try to twist the report into a condemnation of the administration’s Iraq policy.
Reader Andy Kellen gets the floor to rebut the Post:
Like you, I found the report to be strikingly unremarkable. What I did find somewhat remarkable, however, was the Washington Post’s blatant misrepresentation of the contents of the report in its front page article “Iraq New Terror Breeding Ground.”
The gist of this thinly-disguised editorial is that the new report refutes most of the administrations arguments for going into Iraq. Unfortunately for the WaPo, their reporting isn’t on a leaked confidential report, but on a readily-available public document. Imagine my surprise when I looked at the actual report and found that:
1. The report isn’t based on any new intelligence. It merely provides a high-level analysis of global trends.
2. The report gives only scant mention to Iraq. I counted 8 times in the entire 119-page report.
3. The report never refers to Iraq as a “breeding ground,” for terrorism. The closest it comes is the speculation that “Iraq and other possible conflicts in the future could provide recruitment, training grounds, technical skills and language proficiency for a new class of terrorists who are ‘professionalized’ and for whom political violence becomes an end in itself.” (p. 94)
4. Although the WaPo article doesn’t mention anything in the report that would tend to argue in favor of the Iraq operation, there are a number of such items. For example: “Success in establishing a working democracy in Iraq and Afghanistan