Intelligence: Not a Toy

We have committees for a reason:

To the surprise of the Bush administration, the House Intelligence Committee voted unanimously Wednesday night to allow all 435 House members to see the classified version of the National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq sent to the White House last week. The report is classified in part because it contains information about sources and methods used in intelligence-gathering.

It would be nice to think that committee chair Reyes was following the Army of Analysts approach to help get through the full Iraq NIE, especially since it is fairly clear that elements in the committee lack a certain level of expertise, but that would be wishful thinking.

No, more likely this is both side of the aisle throwing an irreplaceable vase into a rugby scrum to substitute as a ball. The obvious result is going to be a broken vase, but give it a second and everyone will soon realize that there is blood on their hands.

2 comments for “Intelligence: Not a Toy

  1. February 14, 2007 at 1:21 PM

    I’m not against sharing KJs per se, but the whole point of having committees is to deal with a certain level of granularity that the entire congressional body would find . . . “cumbersome” might not be the right word, but it is close. Committee members have or will eventually develop a certain level of expertise that the other members may not have or will never have. This move has just ratcheted up the number of people who can play hot-potato with the assessment.
    I recognize that I am in a sense spitting into the wind, but it helps to vent.

  2. Ralph Hitchens
    February 14, 2007 at 11:19 AM

    Not sure where you’re coming from. Having drafted one NIE and reviewed/contributed to several others (back in the 90s) I can attest that they are written for a general, reasonably well-informed audience of non-specialists. I think it’s a good idea to share the KJs as widely as possible.

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