Center for American Progress

Declassify the National Intelligence Estimates on Terrorism and Iraq

Declassify the National Intelligence Estimates on Terrorism and Iraq

The American Public needs to know the full contents of the National Intelligence Estimates on terrorism and Iraq.

New policy papers from the Center for American Progress offer answers to the Bush administration’s failing war on terrorist networks and its dead end strategy in the Iraq war. The realistic strategy outlined in these papers offer policy recommendations that would allow America to prevail in its fight with Al Qaeda by focusing our military, diplomatic, and intelligence efforts to take control of the fight against terrorists.

One key way for Congress and the American people to judge whether our analysis and recommendations are the right way to proceed is for the Bush administration to declassify the full National Intelligence Estimate on terrorism, bits of which were leaked to The New York Times this past weekend, and bits of which were subsequently declassified by the Bush administration to support its own partisan political agenda. Any bias in these selective leaks would immediately evaporate if only Congress demanded that the administration declassify the entire NIE on terrorism as well as the forthcoming NIE on the war in Iraq.

Declassifying these two reports is obviously important to us. We’re in the business, after all, of providing progressive policy alternatives to the mostly failing conservative policies at home and abroad. But Congress has a more important calling: its members must help shape American foreign policy and military strategy armed with the best information that the U.S. Intelligence Community can muster. That information is available, yet the Bush administration refuses to share it.

That same information, however, is available at CAP, albeit gathered in a different fashion. In late June we published our Terrorism Index, in which well-known national security experts of all political persuasions confirmed what the U.S. Intelligence Community independently concluded—America is less safe from a terrorist attack than five years ago precisely because of the ill-conceived invasion of Iraq. Since then, we’ve proposed a plan to take control of the fight against terrorists and elaborated on our long-standing policy prescription to redeploy out of Iraq to better fight Al Qaeda and other terrorist networks inspired by Al Qaeda and our invasion of Iraq.

Armed with the necessary information that the Bush administration is obliged by the Constitution to provide to our representatives in Congress, Congress could then ask the 20 questions it needs to about our troubles in Iraq— in order to craft the correct policies necessary to protect Americans at home and Americans and American interests abroad. Such a move by the administration would also correct a number of the intelligence oversight failures in Congress that we highlighted earlier this year in our report this past spring titled No Mere Oversight.

Simply put, Congress cannot allow selective leaks to the press by partisans of any political persuasion to dictate their foreign and domestic policy efforts to protect Americans from terrorist attacks. Congress must press the administration to declassify the full analysis and conclusions of our own public servants so that our Senators and Representatives can fulfill their obligations to their constituents.

We believe that Congress, given full access to the latest U.S. intelligence, will conclude that the progressive alternative is the correct policy to follow. To read our recent analysis and policy recommendations on the war against terrorism, on Iraq and on congressional oversight of the US Intelligence Community, please go to the following links:

For more information on the survey, please see the following links:

For more on policy positions, reports, and analyses on terrorism and national security from the Center for American Progress, please see the following links:

Experts Available for Comment

Joe Cirincione, Senior Vice President for National Security and International Policy

Joseph Cirincione is the Senior Vice President for National Security and International Policy. Prior to joining the Center, he was Director for Non-Proliferation at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, D.C. He is one of America’s best-known weapons experts, a frequent commentator on these issues in the media, and a professor at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service. Mr. Cirincione also worked for nine years in the U.S. House of Representatives on the professional staff of the Committee on Armed Services and the Committee on Government Operations, and served as staff director of the Military Reform Caucus. He is the author of numerous articles on nuclear weapons issues, the editor of Repairing the Regime (Routledge, 2000), the publisher and editor of the Internet site,, and producer of two DVDs on proliferation. He has held positions at the Henry L. Stimson Center, the U.S. Information Agency, and the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

His books include Bomb Scare: The History, Theory and Future of Nuclear Weapons (Columbia University Press, forthcoming 2006), Deadly Arsenals: Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Threats, (Second Edition, 2005), and as co-author, Universal Compliance: A Strategy for Nuclear Security (March 2005).

He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the International Institute for Strategic Studies. He is an honors graduate of Boston College and holds a Masters of Science with highest honors from the Georgetown School of Foreign Service.

Peter Rundlet, Vice President for National Security and International Affairs, Center for American Progress

Peter Rundlet is the Vice President for National Security and International Affairs at the Center for American Progress. Prior to joining American Progress, Peter was Counsel for the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (the “9/11 Commission”), where he focused on domestic intelligence and law enforcement policy, including related civil liberties issues. In 1997, Peter was selected to be a White House Fellow, serving in the Office of the Chief of Staff to the President. After his fellowship year, he was appointed Associate Counsel to the President and was responsible for a range of policy and constitutional law issues until the end of the Clinton administration.

After his White House tenure, Peter was an attorney in the political law department of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. Earlier in his career, Peter received the Skadden Public Interest Law Fellowship and was an Assistant Counsel for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, where he litigated voting rights, housing, school desegregation, and employment discrimination cases. Peter was also a Peace Corps Volunteer in Honduras. He received his undergraduate degree from Brown University, a master’s degree from the Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy at Tufts University, and a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

Brian Katulis, Director of Democracy and Public Diplomacy, Center for American Progress

Brian Katulis is Director of Democracy and Public Diplomacy on the National Security Team at the Center for American Progress. His previous experience includes work in the Near East and South Asian Directorate of the National Security Council and the Policy Planning Staff at the Department of State during the Clinton administration.

Katulis also serves as a senior analyst and consultant on the Middle East at the U.S. Institute for Peace, Freedom House, the National Democratic Institute, and the International Republican Institute. Over the past ten years, he has lived and worked for human rights and democracy promotion organizations in several countries in the Middle East, including Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, and the Palestinian territories. He has published articles in The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, and The Christian Science Monitor, among other publications. Katulis received a graduate degree from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School for Public and International Affairs. He speaks Arabic.

Denis McDonough, Senior Fellow and Senior Adviser to Distinguished Senior Fellow Tom Daschle, Center for American Progress

Denis McDonough is Senior Fellow and Senior Adviser to Distinguished Senior Fellow Tom Daschle at the Center for American Progress. Prior to joining American Progress, Denis was Legislative Director for Senator Ken Salazar of Colorado. From July 2000 to December 2004, Denis was Foreign Policy Adviser to Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle. In that role, Denis worked extensively on legislation related to the war on terrorism, the response to the global HIV/AIDS pandemic, Iraq and the greater Middle East.

Prior to his time working in the Senate Leadership, Denis was a Fellow with the Robert Bosch Foundation of Stuttgart, Germany from 1999 to 2000. During that yearlong fellowship, Denis worked with the Bundestag in Berlin and the German Chapter of Transparency International in Munich. From 1996 to 1999, Denis was a member of the Democratic Professional Staff of the House International Relations Committee, where he was focused on U.S. policy in Latin America. He earned a Masters Degree from Georgetown University (1996) and graduated summa cum laude from St. John’s University in Collegeville, MN (1992).

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