Mirror of Wildernesses
John "Have You Managed Death Squads? I've Managed Death Squads" Negroponte and Zalmay "Happy Birthday, Mr. President! Happy Birthday!" Khalilzad are the only two people I can name whose reputations have--so far--not been damaged by their service in the George W. Bush administration.
Here we have John Negroponte doing... something... perhaps trying to keep Bush out of the Iraq-policy loop for fear that if he gets in the loop something bad will happen... and the CIA doing... something else... I cannot tell what.
[Negroponte Blocks CIA Analysis of Iraq "Civil War" (Harpers.org)](http://harpers.org/sb-sources-negroponte-nei-cia-1153433546.html: The situation has gotten even darker since my initial story--a United Nations report cited in Wednesday's New York Times found that an average of more than 100 Iraqi civilians were killed each day in June--and I've learned from two sources that some senior figures at the CIA, along with a number of Iraq analysts, have been pushing to produce a new NIE. They've been stonewalled, however, by John Negroponte, the administration's Director of National Intelligence, who knows that any honest take on the situation would produce an NIE even more pessimistic than the 2004 version. That could create problems on the Hill and, if it is leaked as the last one was, with the public as well.
"What do you call the situation in Iraq right now?" asked one person familiar with the situation. "The analysts know that it's a civil war, but there's a feeling at the top that [using that term] will complicate matters."
Negroponte, said another source regarding the potential impact of a pessimistic assessment, "doesn't want the president to have to deal with that."
The sources said that forces at the CIA have been lobbying for the new NIE for about six months. Not only is one overdue, but there's also a fear that if the Democrats win control of at least one chamber of Congress this November, the agency is going to get hammered for not having produced an NIE for so long.
When the topic of a new NIE was first raised, the Directorate of National Intelligence agreed to consider the matter, but advocates heard nothing back. They raised the topic again several months ago and were told that Negroponte was still mulling over the matter. Since then, there's been no indication that the DNI intends to authorize a new NIE. "He's not going to allow [analysts] to call the situation warts and all," said one source. "There's real angst about it inside."