Dec 04 2007
Wild Speculation Alert: I have listed a lot of coincidental and circumstantial evidence in this post folks. I feel compelled to warn everyone when I see links to this NIE and Valerie Plame!
It seems the NIE was NOT a consensus view of the US Intelligence Community but a hack job by some folks with possible political aspirations (wonder what CNN debate these folks will turn up in):
A highly controversial, 150 page National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iranâ€™s nuclear programs was coordinated and written by former State Department political and intelligence analysts â€” not by more seasoned members of the U.S. intelligence community, Newsmax has learned.
Its most dramatic conclusion â€” that Iran shut down its nuclear weapons program in 2003 in response to international pressure â€” is based on a single, unvetted source who provided information to a foreign intelligence service and has not been interviewed directly by the United States.
H/T Reader Kathie. No NIE Key Judgments would EVER be based on a single source that had not been vetted. Even the Israelis believe Iran has restarted their weapons program. Is someone trying to pull a Curveball on the US again? I mean this sounds like your classical “slam dunk” – doesn’t it? Well there are political animals sprinkled all through the Federal Government – and this one just went too far:
The National Intelligence Council, which produced the NIE, is chaired by Thomas Fingar, â€œa State Department intelligence analyst with no known overseas experience who briefly headed the State Departmentâ€™s Bureau of Intelligence and Research,â€ I wrote in my book “Shadow Warriors: The Untold Story of Traitors, Saboteurs, and the Party of Surrender.” [Editor's Note: Get "Shadow Warriors" free â€” go here now.]
Fingar was a key partner of Senate Democrats in their successful effort to derail the confirmation of John Bolton in the spring of 2005 to become the U.S. permanent representative to the United Nations.
As the head of the NIC, Fingar has gone out of his way to fire analysts â€œwho asked the wrong questions,â€ and who challenged the politically-correct views held by Fingar and his former State Department colleagues, as revealed in “Shadow Warriors.”
In March 2007, Fingar fired his top Cuba and Venezuela analyst, Norman Bailey, after he warned of the growing alliance between Castro and Chavez.
Yeah, like there is no bond between Chavez and Castro. I am looking into the names of the folks behind this NIE. They look to be targets of the left most of the time, but I did find some interesting points. It seems Fingar is more of an Academic than one would suspect:
Six months later, Director George Tenet delivered the CIA’s conclusion in testimony before the Senate: Contrary to its own earlier analysis, the CIA now believed that North Korea would test an intercontinental missile in the “near future.” In response to this new threat, the Clinton administration earmarked $6.6 billion over five years to develop a missile-defense system.
Over at the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR), analysts argued that the North Koreans were much farther off than the CIA believed. North Korea could potentially threaten the United States within a decade “only if it abandons its current moratorium on long-range missile flight testing,” Tom Fingar, then-acting principal deputy assistant secretary of INR, testified before Congress in February 2001. Although the White House and Congress accepted the CIA’s analysis, INR ultimately proved to be correct. In the five years since Tenet’s testimony, North Korea has yet to test an intercontinental ballistic missile.
Second, INR gets a different kind of analyst. The CIA, under the gun to staff up mightily after its ranks were thinned by budget cuts in the 1970s and 1990s, tends to recruit kids right out of college and train them in their new “specialties.” (All new CIA hires must be under 35 years of age, although that requirement is occasionally waived.) And while the CIA’s young analysts occasionally travel to their countries of responsibility and bone up by reading at their desk, they have little first-hand experience of their regions. INR couldn’t be more different. Among the civil servants who make up two-thirds of its staff are many scholars lured out of the academy who come with years of knowledge. Fingar is one of them: He spent a decade-and-a-half as a scholar at Stanford’s U.S.-China relations program, speaks fluent Mandarin, and has traveled widely in China. The other third of INR’s staff are Foreign Service officers rotating through who usually have spent several diplomatic tours in the country or region they are focusing on at INR, and who thus have both a reservoir of knowledge about its personalities and history, and a deep well of personal contacts.
Whoever wrote this really had it wrong on North Korea’s intercontinental ballistic missile tests – they have been trying. Just not succeeding. But one thing is clear, Fingar is a hang-on from the Clinton days. And everyone should recognize the initials INR from the Plame Games.
So what about Kenneth Brill? Well, he also has some interesting intersections with Plame and Wilson – he worked with Joe Wilson at State. More than that he claimed in 2005 that Iran has lied to fit the facts on its nuclear weapons programs:
Following disclosures of previously undeclared nuclear activities, in March 2004, Brill said, “The Iranians change their stories to fit the facts.” He added, “I think it’s striking that the more the agency learns, the more the Iranians have to change their stories,” and he predicted the IAEA would have to deal with Iran “for many years to come.”
Needless to say he too is a Clinton holdover. My guess is we will discover these folks linked to the last big INR/CIA intel leak – the Wilson claim that Bush and Cheney used forged documents to go into Iraq. The timing is way too similar.
Update: More here on Brill and Fingar and their opposition to Bush:
DNI Negroponte is appointing Kenneth C. Brill, a frequent antagonist of Bush administration hardliners on policies toward North Korean and Iraq, to the new post of director of the National Counterproliferation Center, an Executive Level II job that outranks undersecretaries, the Washington Post reported.
Is the timing of these old Clinton hands coming out with this stuff tied to the coming election? Hmm,….
Update: From this tidbit I would bet Fingar and Plame crossed paths many times:
Thomas Fingar, like a number of members of John Negroponte’s inner circle, hails from the State Department. He led the department’s intelligence unit, the Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR), which raised some of the strongest objections to the determination by the CIA and others that Iraq was trying to build nuclear weapons rather than enhancing its conventional arsenal. The twist of fate in Fingar’s new job will not be lost on intelligence observers.
Recall Plame was heading up the entire Intelligence Community’s Joint Task Force on Iraq and WMDs at the time I believe Fingar was at INR. If Fingar was one of those few, like Plame, claiming Iraq was NOT attempting to acquire nuclear weapons then they would become fast allies in the small IC world. These two people rubbed shoulders – trust me. It is no secret the INR Fingar led played such a central role in Wilson’s trip as well. Coincidence? And now we come back to the big mystery of the Wilson trip to Niger – why DID the IC debrief Joe Wilson at his house with Valerie when he came back from Niger? Why not bring him in? And who were the two INR/CIA folks at the debriefing (and possibly provided corroboration to the Kristof pieces when Joe was still anonymous)?