As in the Plame case, selective leaks of the NIE appear long after the distribution of the document —— in this case almost 6 months afterward —— with a clear intent of helping the Democrats in the upcoming election. As in that case, a complete refutation would require declassifying the report and making secrets public——a process which takes time and gives the lie time to spread. And to make the analogy complete, the cherry—picked portions of the report leaked to the Washington Post and New York Times make no more sense than did Ambassador Munchausen's tale of his Mission to Niger.
As the wonderful Claudia Rossett observes:
..has anyone tried running the numbers on where we'd be if Saddam Hussein were still in power? Odds are, the terror threat would be worse yet.
Saddam, when toppled, had not just been sitting around hallucinating about WMDs and happily bribing UN officials through their own Oil—for—Food relief program. He had a deadlier strategy. As the CIA's own Charles Duelfer reported, based on massive evidence found in Iraq, Oil—for—Food had become Saddam's weapons program — giving him cover to skim and smuggle billions in illicit funds and use the money to set up a sanctions—busting global network of secret bank accounts, front companies, arms dealers and easy access to anyone he pleased. That all—star cast included Hamas, Al Qaeda, and — among other pals— the new sensation of the UN stage, Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, who in 2000, despite UN sanctions, dropped in on Saddam in Baghdad.
And, though Duelfer did not find WMD stashed in Saddam's liquor cabinets, he did spend hundreds of pages of his report documenting Saddam's preservation of WMD know—how and aim of re—booting his WMD programs as soon as sanctions were gone...
...the real question to stack up against where we are today is what Saddam, in power, seasoned in the use of WMD, with billions in his pockets, and a worldwide reach, would by now be contributing to 'Trends in Global Terrorism.'
Clarice Feldman 9 25 06