The "New York Times" report on the the most recent National Intelligence Estimate, completed in April, is quickly fueling another ugly political argument over the value and accuracy of the intelligence in the report and whether the news story fairly represents the entire report. The NYT story reported that "A stark assessment of terrorism trends by American intelligence agencies has found that the American invasion and occupation of Iraq has helped spawn a new generation of Islamic radicalism and that the overall terrorist threat has grown since the Sept. 11 attacks." Senior Democrats rushed to issue statements claiming the report "should put the final nail in the coffin for President Bush's phony argument about the Iraq war" and have injected the issue into the midterm Congressional elections. The White House countered that the NYT account is "not representative of the complete document."
The administration has an interest in characterizing the report as inaccurate. The government employees leaking to the press presumably have a political interest in distorting the report in the direction the White House claims they did.
The American people deserve to know, to the maximum extent possible, the actual findings and conclusions in this NIE and not depend on partial reports and leaks, which could be driven by all sorts of hidden agendas. The White House and DNI Negroponte should ask the members of the 9/11 Commission to independently review the NIE and release an unclassified version or summary of the report as soon as possible.