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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Feb. 14, 2007 / 26 Shevat, 5767

Truth, not “consensus”, will prevent future 9/11s

By Jack Kelly

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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The Mother of All Corrections issued by the Washington Post Saturday illustrates what is wrong with our intelligence agencies, and — especially — with news coverage of them.


The inspector general of the Department of Defense had been asked by Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich, then the ranking Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee (and now, alas, its chairman), to determine whether the intelligence analysis on Iraq done by the Pentagon's Office of Special Plans under then Under Secretary Douglas Feith violated the law.


On Feb. 8, acting Inspector General Thomas Gimble issued his report. Washington Post reporters Walter Pincus and R. Jeffrey Smith wrote a story about it, which appeared on the front page of last Friday's paper.


The story made the front page of the Post because of incendiary quotes Mr. Pincus and Mr. Smith attributed to Mr. Gimble. Mr. Feith's office "was predisposed to finding a significant relationship between Iraq and al Qaida," and produced intelligence "reporting of dubious quality or reliability."


The inspector general had said none of these things. These and other critical quotes in the story came from a press release Sen. Levin had issued in October, 2004.


This is a big boo boo. It's as if you took a Mercedes hood ornament, and put it on a Yugo. To the Post's credit, its 248-word correction Saturday ran on the front page as well.


What the inspector general did say was that Mr. Feith's activities were legal, and properly authorized by his superiors.


But, said Mr. Gimble, the analyses prepared by Mr. Feith's office were "inappropriate" because they "included some conclusions that were inconsistent with the consensus of the Intelligence Community."


It is interesting that Mr. Gimble should criticize Mr. Feith not for being wrong, but for deviating from the consensus, which was wrong.


Most in the Intelligence Community maintained there were no ties between Iraq and al Qaida because Saddam Hussein was secular, and Osama bin Laden was a religious zealot.


Subsequently uncovered evidence — chiefly from the captured files of Saddam's intelligence service — indicated there were many ties between Iraq and Islamist terror groups, including al Qaida.


This was hardly the first time the consensus in the Intelligence Community has turned out to be egregiously wrong.

  • Throughout the Cold War, the CIA greatly exaggerated the strength of the Soviet economy, and underestimated the portion of their national wealth the Soviets were spending on their military. The collapse of the Soviet Union came as a great shock to them.

  • It was the Intelligence Community that assured President Bush — and President Clinton before him — that Saddam's possession of weapons of mass destruction was, in the words of CIA Director George Tenet, who served both presidents, a "slam dunk."


Competition in intelligence collection is, usually, a bad thing. But competition in analysis is, usually, a good thing.


"The biggest problem with intelligence is its natural human tendency toward group think — it's why smart people can miss the big things with such regularity," wrote Andrew McCarthy, who prosecuted some of the terrorists involved in the first World Trade Center bombing, and who now directs the Center for Law and Counterterrorism at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.


In reflecting on the intelligence failures leading up to the war in Iraq, the Robb-Silberman commission concluded: "The intelligence community needs to be pushed. It will not do its best unless it is pressed by policy makers — sometimes to the point of discomfort...No important intelligence assessment should be accepted without sharp questioning that forces the community to explain exactly how it came to that assessment and what alternatives might also be true."


Mr. Feith's office was doing precisely what the Robb-Silberman commission said needs to be done.


The Feith effort was "a fresh, critical look" at intelligence community conclusions, said Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman.


"It is somewhat difficult to understand how activities that admittedly were lawful and authorized could nevertheless be characterized as 'inappropriate,'" he said.


Sen. Levin was for diversity in intelligence analysis before he was against it. He has in the past chided President Bush for not paying more attention to the doubts that a few mid-level analysts had expressed about the Intelligence Community's consensus that Saddam possessed weapons of mass destruction.


If we are to prevent future 9/11s, we need intelligence agencies (and politicians and journalists) who are more interested in finding the truth than in reaching consensus.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Jack Kelly, a former Marine and Green Beret, was a deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force in the Reagan administration. Comment by clicking here.

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