Latest National Intelligence Estimate: Oops! Iran’s Nukeless! *


The wires are glad to tell you what they think it says, but won’t give you a link. I respect my readers1 more than that. It is not that long. First of all, only the summary – i.e. the conclusions – is declassified. The “evidence” is all carefully sequestered within the cone of silence.

  • p1. Full color title with the seal of the Director of National Intelligence – wherein the eagle soars on gold wings while wearing a stars and stripes breast plate.
  • p2. Dramatis personae.
  • p3. The NIE Process.

These things don’t usually change from one NIE to another.

  • p4. Scope Note – They tell us what they’re going to tell us. Unique to the NIE
  • p5. Explanation of Estimative Language – boilerplate glossary of the official terms of obfuscation.2
  • p6-8.Key Judgments. Hooray! They tell us.
  • p9. Key differences … They tell us what they told us.

This NIE raises as many questions as it answers.3 I’d like to go into them with y’all1, but I have to go do some life support activity. Y’all1 come back now, hear?

1 I’m assuming there’s someone besides Tim Gray who reads “the guy by the door.” Wait, someone besides Tim and Joe Wrinn 🙂 . Actually Joe has person who reads it. I read her blog too.

2They attempt to define a seven category scale of likehood and a three category scale of confidence. The categories necessarily have some width. There is also fuzziness about the boundaries. The serious question – does the fog of the language explaning the fuzziness of the boundaries clarify anything? Maybe it’s a good thing Noam reads these things. Confidence is about the quality of the sources used in the estimate all of which are carefully sequestered in the cone of silence. Hey trust us! Been there! Done that!

3It’s OK. I didn’t take expos at Harvard.

* It would be more in keeping with the spirit of the N.I.E.’s explanation of estimative language to say:

We estimate with a moderate to high level of confidence that we may have made, with a significant probability, a misapprehension of the Iranian situation vis. a vis. nuclear weapons, but it was with a very high probability an honest misapprehension which we can with the highest of confidence assert that it is exceedingly unlikely that we have done it this time.

Work with me people. I’m up against Drudge!

Lighting the Grays
The Truth? You can’t handle the truth!* Or can you? 9/11 Truth comes to Boston.

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