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Spin-doctors twist findings of national intelligence estimate

Issue: "Autumn books," Oct. 7, 2006

On Sept. 24 The New York Times printed a story breathless with insinuation: A classified "National Intelligence Estimate" (NIE) had concluded that the invasion of Iraq turned that country into a terrorist breeding ground. The U.S. left was jubilant.

The Times and the Democratic Party, though, had both run with out-of-context snippets. After an angry President George W. Bush ordered the "Key Findings" portion of the NIE declassified, readers (and voters) found these nuanced conclusions:

  • "United States-led counterterrorism efforts have seriously damaged the leadership of al-Qa'ida and disrupted its operations; however, we judge that al-Qa'ida will continue to pose the greatest threat to the Homeland and US interests abroad by a single terrorist organization."
  • "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."
  • "If democratic reform efforts in Muslim majority nations progress over the next five years, political participation probably would drive a wedge between intransigent extremists and groups willing to use the political process to achieve their local objectives."

The left's attempt to cherry-pick the NIE failed miserably once people could read it for themselves-but it did demonstrate again how those waging the war against the war manufacture the news to help their agenda of retreat.

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That same Sunday former President Bill Clinton also seemed full of rage when he exploded at a few very mild inquiries about his pursuit of bin Laden in the '90s. Together with the real findings of the NIE and their attempted manipulation, the Clinton meltdown helped underscore the essential choice in the campaign of 2006. One party is serious about the war. The other party is not.

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