Yesterday, another National Intelligence Estimate was made public, this time on “The Terrorist Threat to the US Homeland.” The portion of the report that has been made public is meager, consisting of two pages of “Key Judgments” and five pages of boilerplate by way of procedural explanation. Nevertheless, its release was greeted breathlessly as yet another refutation of the Bush administration’s policy in Iraq. Of course, every time the Sun rises in the East, liberals take it as a refutation of our Iraq policy, so it’s hard to get too excited. And, in fact, this NIE was a snoozer at best.
The Washington Post led the pack in hyping the report, in this “Analysis” piece (I think “Analysis” is what the Post calls stories that are reprinted from DNC press releases):
The White House faced fresh political peril yesterday in the form of a new intelligence assessment that raised sharp questions about the success of its counterterrorism strategy and judgment in making Iraq the focus of that effort.
Since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, President Bush has been able to deflect criticism of his counterterrorism policy by repeatedly noting the absence of any new domestic attacks and by citing the continuing threat that terrorists in Iraq pose to U.S. interests.
But this line of defense seemed to unravel a bit yesterday with the release of a new National Intelligence Estimate that concludes that al-Qaeda “has protected or regenerated key elements of its Homeland attack capability” by reestablishing a haven in Pakistan and reconstituting its top leadership.
This is an obvious non sequitur. But let’s see what the NIE really says. This is the opening “key judgment”:
We judge the US Homeland will face a persistent and evolving terrorist threat over the next three years. The main threat comes from Islamic terrorist groups and cells, especially alQa