“An NIE,” Morell writes, “represents the authoritative view of the entire intelligence community on an issue. They are carefully considered. The coordination sessions among the analysts are rigorous and NIEs are approved by the leadership of each agencies in the community.”
As for the conclusions laid out in the NIE that Iraq had stockpiles of WMDs, “there was little controversy” within the intelligence community, Morell continued.
“One agency, the State Department’s intelligence shop, dissented on one aspect of the paper, the nuclear question, but agreed on all others because almost everyone who had looked at the issue — from intelligence services around the world to think tanks and the United Nations itself — had come to the same conclusion,” he went on. “There were no outliers, no group with a different view. No one to force a broader debate that might have led to a more rigorous assessment on the part of the analysts. Group think turned out to be part of the problem.”
The only part left of Beinart’s nonsense indictment is that a British analyst argued in 2002 that “intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy” of removing Saddam Hussein from power. He is referring to the Downing Street Memo.