Contrary to the general impression in Congress and the news media, the Syria chemical warfare intelligence summary released by the Barack Obama administration Aug. 30 did not represent an intelligence community assessment…
Former intelligence officials told IPS that that the paper does not represent a genuine intelligence community assessment but rather one reflecting a predominantly Obama administration influence.
In essence, the White House selected those elements of the intelligence community assessments that supported the administration’s policy of planning a strike against the Syrian government force and omitted those that didn’t.
In a radical departure from normal practice involving summaries or excerpts of intelligence documents that are made public, the Syria chemical weapons intelligence summary document was not released by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence but by the White House Office of the Press Secretary.
…The issuance of the document by the White House rather than by [Director of National Intelligence James] Clapper, as had been apparently planned, points to a refusal by Clapper to put his name on the document as revised by the White House.
Clapper’s refusal to endorse it – presumably because it was too obviously an exercise in “cherry picking” intelligence to support a decision for war – would explain why the document had to be issued by the White House.
I should have realized that calling this document a “U.S. Government Assessment” was a red flag. It’s clearly NOT a formal National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), which is what Congress needs before making a decision to authorize another war. An NIE is a consensus of all 16 U.S. Government intelligence agencies. Nobody knows what a “U.S. Government Assessment” represents — it’s a brand new term.
Maybe now we know what Secretary of State Kerry meant when he told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, “our intelligence community has scrubbed and re-scrubbed the evidence.”