US intelligence analysts are putting the final touches on a secret National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Afghanistan that reportedly describes the situation as "grim", but there are "no plans to declassify" any of it before the election, according to one US official familiar with the process.Lemme think, now...what happens in the next few weeks...*koffkoff* electionisonlyfiveweeksaway*koffkoff*
Officials say a draft of the classified NIE, representing the key judgments of the US intelligence community's 17 agencies and departments, is being circulated in Washington and a final "coordination meeting" of the agencies involved, under the direction of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, is scheduled in the next few weeks.
According to people who have been briefed, the NIE will paint a "grim" picture of the situation in Afghanistan, seven years after the US invaded in an effort to dismantle the al Qaeda network and its Taliban protectors.
Ah, yes, and a grim picture of Afghanistan would play against the public image of John McCain on national security.
Or maybe not. If I'm the McCain campaign, I want this report released to make people understand that the past eight years have been a boondoggled blunderfest, that has to be fixed.
This issue plays to Obama, too, to be sure: the agent of change trope is tailormade for the case I made for the "Maverick". In other words, the declassification of this report would neither hurt nor really help either candidate.
Which is why it will likely remain conveniently classified until November 5, when miraculously it will be leaked to the Washington Post.
After all, it's important that the American people hear confirmation of what Admiral Michael Mullen said last week to Congress we're running out of time. "I'm not convinced we're winning it in Afghanistan," were his exact words.
Couple that with the story about the deteriorating situation Pakistan in last week's Time Magazine, and you have a now-regional fuck up on the part of the Bush administration.
All this is happening while the clown car that is the White House has distracted you with handwringing and bickering over the $700 billion bailout as proposed by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson.
Fingerpointing seems to be the order of the day on the Hill. All eyes focused on McCain's support or lack thereof of Paulson's deeply flawed package, while Nancy Pelosi has demanded strong Republican backing in the House.
Give Pelosi credit. She's at least taking a stand. Harry Reid has all but dissappeared here. Can you say "Senate Majority Leader Clinton"? I knew that you could. So now we uncover the bargain Hillary and Barack came to.
Things are so bad in the House that even the Dark Lord of the Shits, Dick Cheney, can't keep his stormtroopers quiet, probably because they've deliberately kept their minions in the dark.
That's not to minimize the bailout or underlying economic troubles of the country. Bush and company have managed to do what Osama bin Laden, 19 terrorists and four airplanes could not: bring America to its knees.
What it does point out is, yet again, the Bush administration is deliberately paying lip service to an unfolding foreign crisis in order to let it fester to the point where the US is, once again, forced to go to war.
Only this time, it will be for the good of the economy, and not just the oil barons. You think jingoism was the order of the day in the early Aughts, wait till you seen what happens next!
It ain't gonna be pretty, folks.