How trustworthy is American intelligence; how well does it fulfill its designed role to provide the White House reliable and actionable information necessary to making and carrying out policy “in America’s national interest?”
In the final months of the GW Bush presidency the collective recommendation of America’s intelligence agencies, the 2007 National Intelligence Estimate on Iran, was that the Islamic Republic (and this delivered “with confidence”) was that Iran had abandoned its nuclear weapons program four years earlier, in 2003. A laughing stock in national intelligence agencies around the world, this “Assessment” allowed Bush to publicly bemoan that he was “handcuffed” and regrettably could not carry through years of threat to end Iran’s weapons program by force if the ayatollahs declined to end it “voluntarily.”
Perfectly understandable Bush preferred not ending his presidency as he began it, by starting a war. But how does this describe the trustworthiness of America’s intelligence agencies tasked with providing the president an “honest” appraisal of world events? Politically-driven “intelligence” may loyally serve the master but is nothing but propaganda justifying pre-determined White House policy.
The following was reported by Reuters on 24 July:
Destroy Hamas? Something worse would follow: Pentagon intel chief
ASPEN Colorado Sat Jul 26, 2014 10:37pm EDT
(Reuters) – A top Pentagon intelligence official warned on Saturday that the destruction of Hamas would only lead to something more dangerous taking its place, as he offered a grim portrait of a period of enduring regional conflict.
The remarks by Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, the outgoing head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, came as Israeli ministers signaled that a comprehensive deal to end the 20-day-old conflict in the Gaza Strip appeared remote.
A week or so ago I received the following rebuttal by an officer who asked I not identify him but served in an intelligence role commanding officer over General Flynn:
Your comments at the Aspen Security Forum relating to not eliminating Hamas because something worse MIGHT follow does not reflect our intelligence study viewpoint but must be regarded as your personal statement without having substantial analytical support.
Also, the Kerry initiative to provide Hamas with funding which they can (and will) use to purchase additional weapons should have drawn rebuke from your organization.
Does Kerry’s carrying of the Hamas declarations as a proposed US document have any official administration support?
The general who penned this rebuttal pulled no punches describing his previous subordinate of pandering to the policy interests of the president. A warning to Israel which I suspect is not needed, and to the people of Israel and the US regarding White House policy, even when supported by intelligence tasked to provide facts supporting future presidential decision-making. “Back to the future” is not necessarily “present going forward!”