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SSCI Report Quick Take (Running Updates)

150+ pages is a lot to go over with a day job, so I’ll take a meta-view by focusing on the Conclusions . . .

My problem with all of these reports is highlighted in the first paragraph of Section II, when they invoke “The Comprehensive Report of the Special Advisor ….” My dictionary defines “comprehensive” as “covering completely” and even the head of the ISG said his report was anything but since there were places in Iraq he and his charges feared to tread. In effect, this latest SSCI report is comparing poorly-informed guesses against an at-best half-completed answer sheet. Why?

Part of the answer can be found in section III and the discussion about the review of captured Iraqi documents. Given my past participation in this realm and my current status it would be imprudent to get into detail, suffice it to say that when you are counting sheets of paper by hundreds-of-millions (not to mention other forms of media that have been obtained that threaten to dwarf paper holdings) and your methodology is somewhere between inadequate and woeful, saying that you have a strong grasp on what was and wasn’t going on in Iraq based on an “initial review” is akin to saying that you don’t need to read the bible because you’ve memorized the ten commandments . . . in pig Latin.

Unfortunately, Conclusion 9 in section III indicates that there is not going to be any serious, official effort to get to the bottom of these issues. The attitude now is as it was back in ’04: its over, we won, time to move on (there is a poem by Kipling that comes to mind). Consequently, repudiation or vindication for our IC (and most of the rest of the world’s intelligence agencies) and the present administration (and everyone in Congress who was on the bandwagon) will have to wait. A truly comprehensive understanding of all that was Iraq will have to wait until (and it pains me to say this) it doesn’t matter any more. The trickle that the DNI is releasing through FMSO will sway our understanding this way and that for the duration of the program, but most likely a couple of decades from now, a line of trucks will back up to George Washington Univeristy and the sons of Prados and Richelson will have at it.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I don’t care what the conclusions say, I just care about getting them.

Update: My man Tom fires off a few rounds . . . as does AJ.

Update II: Larry Johnson has a different take, though based on his record you might want to grab your salt shaker before reading.

Update III: Powerline shines their light and gives a link.

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.