No doubt that will be one purpose to which his criticism will be put.
What disturbs me about his analysis (if factual and accurate) is that the winds of politics set the agenda in the spy agencies. That was of course, the criticism of Tenant's term of appointment, and rightly so. He fed the administration what the administration wanted to here: "Slam Dunk". We are paying for the results of that.
So let's say President Paul asks the CIA about Iran. President Paul is hoping that DCIA will tell him Iran is no threat. DCIA fullfills that wish.
Is it accurate? Is it factual? How can President Paul know that he is getting an honest assessment and not just what he wants to hear? What if the information is of the sort Tenant gave Bush, but in the opposite direction? Is that more or less dangerous than Tenant?
I would support your basic premise, the CIA and the other intelligence gathering and analyzing groups should be concerned with gathering and processing the information, and seeking ways to get better information, not how to slant what they have to support one political agenda or another. That is just plain making these agencies worthless, and it is not entirely their own doing. The politicians need to become accustomed to listening to qualified people making considered assessments without imposing pressure to influence the outcome on way or another.
It would seem the present NIE is not what Bush wanted to hear, so, maybe there is something going on to separate those with the responsibility to make the NIE from those desperate for the NIE to support their policy? I find the idea that the CIA is going through an undisciplined mutiny against Bush kind of hard to buy. They are not dull enough to believe a mutiny would not be discovered and generate an equal or greater loss of faith in the value of CIA.
I read a description of the procedural changes implemented to ensure NIE's were not going to be subject to the same embarrassing failure to hold any water that the Iraq NIE suffered, and that this new procedure has been very rigorously applied this time around. I am less inclined to believe the only result the NIE can ever reach is that we are in dire danger of being nuked by the Iranians at some point in the future, so I am less suspicious of the report's gist, as it is portrayed in the press. I think to form your own opinion you need a suitable clearance and access to the information, the sources, and the analysts who drew the conclusions they did. That is not me so I am not going to fret over that at the moment. Apparently Congress will be heading down that path to find out for themselves. Hopefully if they do this, they do it quickly so the CIA and others can get back to gathering and testing information they need to make us more aware of potential dangers.
In the end, the NIE is going to be used to support one or the other political perspective, and, unfortunately for all of us, the CIA's record is so tarnished of late, it can not be considered unreasonable to question the motives and basis of anything the CIA produces.
And, glad to see you back. Jim