Wednesday, May 10, 2006

More mud for the water

The CIA, like every other national intelligence organization around the world, operates in a highly compartmentalized fashion. This is necessarily so because information about one intelligence source could be prized from another source if one or the other were compromised.

Thus, sources who may work next to each other in the defense ministry of country X would not likely know that the other was an intelligence source for the U.S.

Additionally, the CIA analysts who see the raw intelligence from one source may not see the raw intelligence from another source - again, for security purposes. So, it is not only possible, but highly probable that no mid-level CIA analyst could ever know the whole picture.

Now, if source 'A' tells his CIA contact that Saddam does have WMD and source 'B' tells his CIA contact that Saddam does NOT have WMD then the decision about the 'real situation' is going to be one of weighing the relative merits of sources and the potential for damage if such and such a description of a situation is, in fact, true.

So, at the end of the day, the people who make the decisions see much more than any mid- to high-level CIA analyst.

Claim that President Bush lied about WMD and you necessarily exclude certain intelligence we had. Claim that Saddam had them and you run into the inconvenient fact that we've not found any.

Hate the President all you like, but don't fool yourself that there was no intelligence support for the decision he made.


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