Saturday, July 10, 2004

A CIA Analyst Punches Back

After the release of the damning report on prewar intelligence by the Senate Select Intelligence Committee, it seems at least one CIA agent is not comfortable with intelligence analysts taking all the blame. The Washington Post reports that an analyst has revealed to them that he tried to warn his superiors that much of the content that Colin Powell was about to report the UN Security Counsel was of dubious quality. He mentioned that one major intel source nicknamed "Curve Ball" had supplied data that was especially unreliable. He said his superior responded that "This war's going to happen regardless of what Curve Ball said or didn't say, and . . . the Powers That Be probably aren't terribly interested in whether Curve Ball knows what he's talking about". This seems to be a contradiction to the report's contention that pressure from the administration did not affect the output of the CIA's assessments. In a discussion between DIA official Bruce Hardcastle and the Post mentioned in the article, Hardcastle says that he was not pressured to change his assessments on Iraq, but adds that "Generally it was understood how receptive [Defense policy officials] were to our assessments and what kind of assessments they would not be receptive to." That sounds like pressure to me...

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