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Let the Flailing Begin

So controversial is the forthcoming National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq, say officials and observers, that even the terms of reference are likely to be the subject of intense, but highly secret, discussion and debate.

Somewhere in a conference room in Northern Virginia, roughly two-dozen seniors and their backups are sitting around a table and bickering about the definitions of “happy” and “glad.” Oh, the memories . . . to borrow a line from Mr. Filch, “God, I miss the screaming.”

A tedious exercise that serves to frame the pending work so that – depending on how you look at it – all the key factors are addressed, or key “fringe” issues are excluded. Once the framework is built it is a fairly simple exercise to fill in the blanks. That is when the real bickering begins; who is right, who is wrong, whose sources are bogus, whose methodology is crap, etc., etc. Will it be any better (define that) than its preceding document? Time will tell, but readers of the unclassified summary will be able to judge based on how liberal they are with the “-lys” . . . as in “possibly” and “probably.” Lots of “-lys” mean lots of uncertainty, lots and lots of bickering, and yet another indication that we’re still awash in unknown unknowns.


Michael Tanji

Michael Tanji

Michael Tanji spent nearly 20 years in the US intelligence community. Trained in both SIGINT and HUMINT disciplines he has worked at the Defense Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, and the National Reconnaissance Office. At various points in his career he served as an expert in information warfare, computer network operations, computer forensics, and indications and warning. A veteran of the US Army, Michael has served in both strategic and tactical assignments in the Pacific Theater, the Balkans, and the Middle East.