President Bush lost no time in agreeing with suggestions from Senator Cornyn and others that the National Intelligence Estimate that was the basis for stories in the New York Times and Washington Post, claiming that the Iraq war has hurt our efforts in the war on terror, be declassified so the American people can judge for themselves:
Bemoaning an election-year leak, President George W. Bush on Tuesday said he would declassify a secret terrorism document that included a judgment the Iraq war had spread Islamic extremism.
At a news conference with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Bush said political opponents had disclosed only select parts of the National Intelligence Estimate, a U.S. global report on terrorism, and he decided to make the document public so “you read it for yourself.”
“Somebody has taken it upon themselves to leak classified information for political purposes,” Bush said.
I think that’s great. Last night, we provided a preview of what else the NIE may contain.
Via Power Line News.
UPDATE: Earlier this morning, Democrats tried to force the House of Representatives into a secret session to talk about the NIE report. This grandstanding would have generated more leaks and more headlines, but it was voted down. Now, with the report itself being declassified, the Democrats won’t be able to pull this kind of stunt.
UPDATE by PAUL: I don’t have time to review it now, but here’s the NIE report.
MORE by PAUL: The above link is to the “key judgments” section of the report. The full report apparently has not been declassified. The key judgments include the view that the Iraq “jihad” is shaping a new generation of terrorist leaders and operatives, and that it is breeding a deep resentment against the U.S. and cultivating supporters for global jihad. No judgment is stated as to whether, on balance, we are nonetheless safer for having taken out Saddam Hussein’s regime. But the intelligence community does take the position that “should jihadists leaving Iraq perceive themselves, and be perceived, to have failed. . .fewer fighters will be inspired to carry on the fight.” So, in the judgment of our intelligence community, the outcome in Iraq matters when it comes to the war on terror. Democrats who take the NIE seriously, rather than viewing it merely as a vehicle for attacking President Bush, should keep this in mind.