The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Friday, July 21, 2006

Negroponte blocks CIA reports on Iraq

Speaking of the administration's utter refusal to face facts on Iraq policy, Harper's is reporting that John Negroponte, Director of National Intelligence, is preventing the CIA from compiling a report on the situation in Iraq because he “doesn't want the president to have to deal with that.”

I reported in May that despite the deteriorating situation in Iraq, no National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) has been produced on that country since the summer of 2004. The last NIE, a classified document that the CIA describes as “the most authoritative written judgment concerning a national security issue,” was rejected by the Bush Administration (after being leaked to the New York Times) as being too negative, though its grim assessment subsequently proved to be highly accurate.

The situation has gotten even darker since my initial story—a United Nations report cited in Wednesday's New York Times found that an average of more than 100 Iraqi civilians were killed each day in June—and I've learned from two sources that some senior figures at the CIA, along with a number of Iraq analysts, have been pushing to produce a new NIE. They've been stonewalled, however, by John Negroponte, the administration's Director of National Intelligence, who knows that any honest take on the situation would produce an NIE even more pessimistic than the 2004 version. That could create problems on the Hill and, if it is leaked as the last one was, with the public as well.

To sum up, the facts are unacceptable and must be ignored.

In a different piece, it is suggested that a high-level CIA official was in Negroponte's sights because of his criticism of Iraq policy:

However, the source told me, Kostiw ran afoul of Hayden’s boss, Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte. It appears that Kostiw's grim assessment of the situation in Iraq, where he traveled regularly over the past several years, displeased Negroponte, who “wasn't happy with his criticism,” said the source. “He said [Kostiw] wasn't being supportive enough of the policy.”