John D. Negroponte, the new director of national intelligence, has imposed strict safeguards intended to ensure that the government's National Intelligence Estimates are based on credible information instead of the kinds of unsubstantiated claims that were the basis for prewar intelligence on Iraq, his top deputy said Thursday.
The deputy, Gen. Michael V. Hayden, made clear that the change should be seen as a response to the intelligence failures on Iraq, most notably the National Intelligence Estimate of October 2002 that asserted that the Iraqis had chemical and biological weapons and were rebuilding their nuclear program. Those assertions were proved wrong, and a presidential commission said in March that the fault lay in part with failures by the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Central Intelligence Agency and others to validate the reliability of their sources and to share their doubts with others.
General Hayden, testifying before a House Intelligence subcommittee, said the change was intended to give new, critical scrutiny to both human and technical intelligence, including reports from agents, satellite photographs and intercepted communications. Among the focuses, he said, will be "who said what, why, and why do we think this is true?"
The above is from Douglas Jehl's "Top Spy's No. 2 Tells of Changes to Avoid Error" in this morning's New York Times which wants desperately to be a news article but reads like instructions to a board game and counts that you share the Times' ability to forget Negropante's past as well as dispense with common sense.
The point of noting it is that when even Jehl's writing can't be mined for some gold, you know the New York Timid has had an off day (even for the Timid). Jehl's not fluffing, but he is left with providing minutes.
Fluffing comes via Elisabeth Bumiller's "U.N. Nominee Omitted Data at Hearings in the Senate."
Who but the Elite Fluff Patrol squad leader could file a piece where Bolton offers the John Roberts' excuse I-didn't-lie-or-obscure-I-just forgot. From the article:
"When Mr. Bolton completed his forms for the Senate he did not recall being interviewed by the inspector general," Mr. McCormack said in a telephone interview Thursday. Mr. McCormack reiterated that Mr. Bolton had not been questioned by the grand jury in the leak investigation.
The latest disclosure about Mr. Bolton came as Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice strongly hinted that President Bush would bypass the Senate when Congress adjourns this weekend and temporarily appoint Mr. Bolton to the United Nations post. Another Republican official said Mr. Bush could name Mr. Bolton as early as next week, but the official would not let his name be used as the decision is Mr. Bush's.
When Condi's ready to rumble, Bumiller's ready to do her part. ("Minimization" is the only term for Bumiller's article.)
The print version of "I.R.A. Renounces Use of Violence; Vows to Disarm" tones down the rhetoric of an earlier draft that appeared online yesterday. (For instance the "organized crime" pull quote Krista and Eli both noted appears to be gone.) Eli's point about reporting on the mood in America from . . . England and Ireland does stand, however. It's apparently true because Brian Lavery and Alan Cowell (our man in London who could have pushed for coverage of the Downing Street Memo but didn't -- he apparently only wakes up when the issue is Ireland) say it's true. Eli's point about innuendo is still valid (Gerry Adams! Apparent I.R.A. commander! An allegation that doesn't appear in the BBC coverage, for instance). The insulting oversimplification of the historical conflict has been pulled from this version. But they haven't added one word about last week's attacks on Catholic Churches. No real surprise there. The Times long ago decided that the conflict was one-sided and you were engaging on one side or the other apparently.
We'll note developments in an issue that Elaine's been covering, Kevin Benderman's case. In the Times, Shaila Dewan has "Army Mechanic Is Acquitted on Desertion Charge:"
An Army mechanic who did not return to Iraq with his unit, saying he was opposed to war after seeing it firsthand, was acquitted yesterday of desertion, but convicted of a lesser charge of purposely missing his unit's deployment.
The mechanic, Sgt. Kevin Benderman, had applied for conscientious-objector status 11 days before his unit, the Third Infantry Division based at Fort Stewart, Ga., went to Iraq on Jan. 8.
[. . .]
When threatened with a court-martial in January, Sergeant Benderman continued to show up for work at the base. He also spoke publicly about his change of opinion on war, saying that during his first tour in Iraq in 2003 he had seen officers refusing treatment to a burned girl and dogs eating corpses at mass graves.
You can visit the BendermanDefense.org for more coverage and I'm sure Elaine will be addressing it this evening.
We'll let Erika have the last word on the Times today, "A complete waste of time and tree."
On Democracy Now! today, the planned topics are:
* The White House releases thousands of pages of documents stemming from Supreme Court justice nominee John Roberts' service as an attorney for the Reagan administration. We'll speak with Ralph Neas of People for the American Way.
* Congress narrowly approves he Central American Free Trade Agreement by a 217-215 vote in the House. We'll get reaction.
* The Irish Republican Army orders an end to its armed campaign. We'll speakwith journalist Ed Moloney, author of "The Secret History of the IRA"
And we'll close by noting that BuzzFlash has picked the latest "winner" for their GOP Hypocrite of the Week. (We'll note this again, this afternoon.)
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