Tuesday :: Apr 18, 2006

Consensus? Um, I believe the right phrase is "making stuff up"

by eriposte

It's gone well beyond the point of embarrassment. Perhaps it's time for The Daily Howler to become the "investigative journalism" lead for Pajamas Media.

Bob Somerby, 4/18/2006 [railing against Barton Gellman of the Washington Post] (bold text is my emphasis, italics is Somerby's emphasis):

...the specific phrase about “vigorously trying to procure uranium ore” lay in the body of the NIE, where it was part of the document’s consensus.
And note how Gellman’s thumb finds the scale as he continues to obscure an important fact—the fact that the claim about “vigorously trying to pursue uranium ore” was part of the document’s consensus.
Would you ever dream, from reading this passage, that the “uranium story” was part of the body—the consensus—of the NIE, and that the State Department’s judgment was a dissent from that consensus—was one of the NIE’s minority views? Of course you wouldn’t, but we cheer to this day. We like the message we’re hearing.
Gellman’s report is awful journalism, starting what that inexcusable claim about the Admin having “no ally left.”

SSCI Report, 7/7/2004 (emphasis mine):

The uranium text was included only in the body of the NIE, not in the key judgments section because the interagency consensus was that Iraq's efforts to acquire uranium were not key to the argument that Iraq was reconstituting its nuclear program...The NIO said he did not recall anyone else [other than INR - Eriposte note] at the coordination meeting who disagreed with the uranium text, but also did not recall anyone really supporting including the uranium issue as part of the judgment that Iraq was reconstituting its nuclear program, so he suggested that the uranium information did not need to part of the key judgments.
Because INR disagreed with much of the nuclear section of the NIE, it decided to convey its alternative views in text boxes, rather than object to every point throughout the NIE. [page 53]
George Tenet, 7/11/2003:
There is a lengthy section in which most agencies of the Intelligence Community judged that Iraq was reconstituting its nuclear weapons program. Let me emphasize, the NIE's Key Judgments cited six reasons for this assessment; the African uranium issue was not one of them.

But in the interest of completeness, the report contained three paragraphs that discuss Iraq's significant 550-metric ton uranium stockpile and how it could be diverted while under IAEA safeguard. These paragraphs also cited reports that Iraq began "vigorously trying to procure" more uranium from Niger and two other African countries......Much later in the NIE text, in presenting an alternate view on another matter, the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research included a sentence that states: "Finally, the claims of Iraqi pursuit of natural uranium in Africa are, in INR's assessment, highly dubious."

An unclassified CIA White Paper in October made no mention of the issue, again because it was not fundamental to the judgment that Iraq was reconstituting its nuclear weapons program, and because we had questions about some of the reporting. For the same reasons, the subject was not included in many public speeches, Congressional testimony and the Secretary of State's United Nations presentation in early 2003.

Somerby owes Barton Gellman an apology, wouldn't you say? (Especially considering that the rest of his post is almost as awful).

eriposte :: 8:32 PM :: Comments (10) :: TrackBack (0) :: Digg It!