Office of Special Plans (Final Updates)

I expect this story to garner a lot of attention over the course of the next few days, and since I’ll be in and out of the net for a bit, wanted to plant a flag for future commentary.

Some of the Pentagon’s prewar intelligence work, including a
contention that the CIA underplayed the likelihood of al-Qaida
connections to Saddam Hussein, was inappropriate but not illegal, a
Defense Department investigation has concluded.

[SASC Chairman] Levin has asserted that President Bush took the country to war in Iraq
based in part on intelligence assessments – some shaped by Feith’s
office – that were off base and did not fully reflect the views of the
intelligence community.

In a telephone interview Thursday, Levin said the IG report is “very
damning” and shows a Pentagon policy shop trying to shape intelligence
to prove a link between al-Qaida and Saddam.

The good Senator might want to pay closer attention to the massive pool of Iraqi information (from the mouth of horses as it were) that documents just such a relationship.

Wait now, I’m confused, was the IC’s pre-war intelligence on Iraq correct now that it needs to be in order to make the OSP look bad, or is it just wrong when there aren’t indications that a “team b” demonstrated that an alternative analysis could have been right?

Anyone who says intel is politicized prior to dissemination doesn’t know what they’re talking about.

Updates: My colleagues in the frozen tundra weigh in…

Powerline: What will be lost in news accounts of the IG report and Levin’s
fulminations is that Feith’s group was right. We know now that there
were many connections between Saddam’s Iraq and al Qaeda, and that
Islamic groups of various stripes, including those labeled “secular” by
the CIA, are entirely capable of collaborating against their common
enemies.

Captain Ed: One of the criticisms made by Bush administration critics is that the
White House relied on stovepiped intel analysis for the WMD question —
which came from the official CIA analysts and directed by George Tenet.

and others:

Hugh: Memo to our sources in Iraq …If you are close to the al Qaeda fanatics and have given us a tip from
time to time, well, let’s hope that level of detail didn’t make it into
the NIE.

It most likely will not, but even the 50,000′ view will serve as a useful tool for them to adjust their OPSEC.

Blackfive: The actions were autorized
and legal, but the IG somehow adds the category of innapropriate. If
the President wants it and it’s authorized and legal, it’s
appropriateness is determined right there.

IG Report slides and Executive Summary are up.

Post-war scrutiny of the IC reiterated what many have said before: The IC marginalizes (or worse) dissenting opinions and can cling dogmatically to flawed approaches and outlooks. The more and more diverse minds on problems of national security the better. Did OSP analysis stretch the comfortable boundaries of overly cautions IC mavens? Apparently in some cases they did, but that’s what analysis is all about. There is never enough much less enough solid information from which to make decisions, hence the need for human brains, not automatons to carry out intelligence work. The OSP’s findings didn’t jibe with the IC’s findings but that even the IC’s “consensus” had dissenters is conveniently not brought up. More to the point, material captured in Iraq indicates that the then-policymakers were right to cast a wary eye towards the conventional wisdom.

Final Update: Yeah, what he said!

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