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Wednesday, December 05, 2007


The media (and everyone else) and the NIE

I've had lots to say about the new NIE. But now, not wanting to sound like someone from the Bush Administration, I would like to say a few words about the media, which all sound pretty much like this article from the New York Times:
How could American intelligence agencies have overstated Iran’s intentions in 2005 so soon after being reprimanded for making similar errors involving Iraq?

But a National Intelligence Estimate on Iran that was issued two months later said Iran’s leaders were working tirelessly to acquire a nuclear weapon — a finding that, like the prewar intelligence on Iraq, has now been acknowledged to have been wrong in one of its chief conclusions.
What's wrong with all this? Simple - it assumes that the current report is correct and that the previous report was incorrect. How the hell do we know that? Personally, I believe as I've written below that they are both incorrect. But given that we know that these NIEs can be grossly wrong (cf Iraq), how on earth could you claim to know that either the 2005 or the 2007 NIE on Iran is correct? Answer - you can't.


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