Intelligence Matters: Oh Dear God Not Jami Miscik

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008 at 10:35 am

My friend Siobhan Gorman has a great piece in The Wall Street Journal anticipating that Obama won’t significantly change Bush’s intelligence policies, which would be a human-rights travesty and a massive betrayal of his promise for a new beginning.

Read her whole piece for the full flavor and context. I want to focus on just one aspect of it. Namely this:

The intelligence-transition team is led by former National Counterterrorism Center chief John Brennan and former CIA intelligence-analysis director Jami Miscik, say officials close to the matter. Mr. Brennan is viewed as a potential candidate for a top intelligence post. Ms. Miscik left amid a slew of departures from the CIA under then-Director Porter Goss.

Oh. Dear. God. There aren’t many intelligence professionals I hold in less esteem than Miscik. Miscik, you see, was head of intelligence analysis during the 2002 turmoil over Iraq’s non-existent weapons of mass destruction and non-existent ties to Al Qaeda, and according to the 2004 Senate intelligence committee report about what went wrong, she pretty much disgraced herself. When the administration insisted on an intelligence assessment of Saddam Hussein’s relationship to Al Qaeda, Miscik blocked the skeptics (who were later vindicated) within the CIA’s Mideast analytical directorate, and instructed the less-skeptical counterterrorism analysts to “stretch to the maximum the evidence you had.” And, as the maraschino cherry on top of this disaster, Miscik decamped to a lucrative position at the now-bankrupt Lehman Bros.

It’s hard to think of a more egregious case of sacrificing sound intelligence analysis in order to accommodate the strategic fantasies of an administration. If there’s an alternative explanation, I haven’t heard it. The idea that Miscik is helping staff Obama’s top intelligence picks is most certainly not change we can believe in.

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Comments

12 Comments

scott
Comment posted November 11, 2008 @ 12:50 pm

On the Saturday night before the election, my wife & I were out to dinner with her friends and their husbands. I was roundly criticized for my intention to vote for Nader.

When after 20 Jan may I expect an apology? Probably about half-past Never O'clock, I presume.


aaaaa
Comment posted November 11, 2008 @ 8:04 pm

Enjoy your imaginary president!


joe styles
Comment posted November 11, 2008 @ 10:56 pm

What I heard is not what you accuse Miscik of. Bush Administration and Cheney wanted Iraq, Al Qaeda analysis to be their way and did not give Miscik time and right resource to give the best accurate intelligence. The administration misused the Pentagon to misinfor America and the rest is history.


at
Comment posted November 12, 2008 @ 7:15 pm

You are flat out wrong on this. Miscik was a fair and honest analyst in the Iraq fiasco. Check your facts with someone who knows.


Steve Williams
Comment posted November 14, 2008 @ 5:50 am

You could not be more wrong. Miscik is an Americanhero. She was forced out of the CIA by Cheney et al after she refused to release partial data that would have misled the American people into believing Al Qaeda was in Iraq before the war. This is public knowledge. Your journalist skills are lacking.


Northern_Virginian
Comment posted November 24, 2008 @ 2:41 pm

Spencer: You try hard, you write provocative pieces in generally clear narrative prose, and I enjoyed your coverage of the disastrous Goss regime at CIA – but you have some very, very lousy sources, which plagued even your generally admirable Goss-era reporting, who are probably several degrees of separation from people and event and who apparently report rumint and grousing back to you. One immense problem in most intelligence reporting is that the incomplete mosaics you put together and that finally “make sense” to you after having turned them this way and that, trying to find the best angle, remain woefully incomplete – yet you're down for having to say something against your deadline or simply to close off a story you know you'll never really be able to conclude satisfactorily. (Not unlike intelligence writing, with incomplete, contradictory, fragmentary sources.) You're very wrong on Miscik – full disclosure: yeah, I know her – and, I would surmise from your half-baked opinion of her, have neither spoken to her nor to any one of her direct reports (or even indirect reports) but instead have gleaned your views from all the old hangers on who pretend to still have “connections.” And since when have any politicized congressional or special committee reports been an absolute window on truth?


a
Comment posted November 25, 2008 @ 2:37 pm

absolutely true! amazing that she can still have lunch in this town


a
Comment posted November 25, 2008 @ 2:39 pm

WRONG ON 9/11
WRONG ON WMD
WRONG AT LEHMAN BROTHERS….


Isamar
Comment posted December 18, 2008 @ 2:29 pm

Obviously, you don't know Jami Miscik. I worked directly with her at the CIA a few years ago, and I can honestly say that personally, Ms. Miscik is one of the most honest, responsible, intelligent, and righteous person I have ever worked with. She's been wrongly accused. In my opinion, it was the Bush Administration that distored things. Think about it, it's not unlikely. Just imagine the scandal; it's always easier to blame it on somebody else.


Isamar
Comment posted December 18, 2008 @ 10:29 pm

Obviously, you don't know Jami Miscik. I worked directly with her at the CIA a few years ago, and I can honestly say that personally, Ms. Miscik is one of the most honest, responsible, intelligent, and righteous person I have ever worked with. She's been wrongly accused. In my opinion, it was the Bush Administration that distored things. Think about it, it's not unlikely. Just imagine the scandal; it's always easier to blame it on somebody else.


Loose Change 9/11 Blog & Home Page » Blog Archive » Obama’s Trilateral Commission Connections, Council on Foreign Relations Sellouts and Wartime Military/National Guard Draft Re-Instatement Issues that the Republicans Don’t Eve
Pingback posted February 5, 2009 @ 3:29 pm

[...] analysts to ’stretch to the maximum the evidence you had,’ ” journalist Spencer Ackerman recently wrote in the Washington Independent. “It’s hard to think of a more egregious case of sacrificing sound intelligence analysis in [...]


2051147
Comment posted September 7, 2011 @ 12:44 pm

2051147 beers on the wall. sck was here


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