Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Intelligence leaks

Good God. The other day the Washington Post, New York Times and Los Angeles Times all reported on an intelligence leak. The Irish Times ran a story (sub reqd) on Monday with the headline, "Iraq war has boosted terror threat, says US intelligence". For all the excitement, it turns out that Congress had the full classified report back in April, so the leak is nothing more than a political stunt.

What's worrying, however, is how bad the report is. No, not that the situation is dire, but that it's so basic in its conclusions that I could probably have whipped it off in about half an hour, after a couple of beers on a quiet Tuesday night. I hope the full, classified report is better than what was declassified yesterday.

I honestly don't think there's a single conclusion here that has not been everywhere in the media for a LONG TIME. Here's one 'out-of-the-blue' point:
The jihadists regard Europe as an important venue for attacking Western interests. Extremist networks inside the extensive Muslim diasporas in Europe facilitate recruitment and staging for urban attacks, as illustrated by the 2004 Madrid and 2005 London bombings.
That never would have crossed my mind. Here's another:
The Iraq conflict has become the “cause celebre” for jihadists, breeding a deep resentment of US involvement in the Muslim world and cultivating supporters for the global jihadist movement. Should jihadists leaving Iraq perceive themselves, and be perceived, to have failed, we judge fewer fighters will be inspired to carry on the fight.
Whoa! You mean, Iraq is a mess and the terrorists are loving it, but if things turn around that will be bad for their cause. Such insight.

Then there's my personal favorite:
We judge that groups of all stripes will increasingly use the Internet to communicate, propagandize, recruit, train, and obtain logistical and financial support.
This I can't get over. Terrorists apparently use the internet to communicate and gather information. If only the Federal government was doing the same we could seemingly scrap most of the intelligence infrastructure for a few people who are good with Google and one person who can put together a short report on what they've found.