Someone’s leaking again. Bill Gertz writes for The Washington Times (emphasis added):
Recent U.S. intelligence analyses of North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs were flawed and the lack of clarity on the issue hampered U.S. diplomatic efforts to avert the underground blast detected Sunday, according to Bush administration officials.
Some recent secret reports stated that Pyongyang did not have nuclear arms and until recently was bluffing about plans for a test, according to officials who have read the classified assessments.
The analyses in question included a National Intelligence Estimate a consensus report of all U.S. spy agencies produced several months ago and at least two other classified reports on North Korea produced by senior officials within the office of the Director of National Intelligence John D. Negroponte.
And these classified reports were leaked by … ?
The officials said there were as many as 10 failures related to intelligence reporting on North Korean missile tests and the suspected nuclear test that harmed administration efforts to deal with the issue.
Like they didn’t know North Korea was processing plutonium? It’s been in the news, dudes. You can find out about it by googling. I realize that having plutonium is not the same thing as having a bomb, but if somebody’s got enriched plutonium, I understand that making the bomb itself is the relatively easy part. On top of that, it has been widely believed for years that North Korea built one or two nuclear bombs back in the 1970s.
I can’t believe even Bush Administration diplomats are so stupid they wouldn’t have been working under the assumption North Korea could have nuclear weapons, or might get them at any time, no matter what some NIE said.
And if they were genuinely surprised by the recent alleged nuclear test, is there something they would have done differently had they known? Like, maybe, take North Korea talks more seriously?
Even more astonishing, White House mouthpiece John Hinderaker admits his masters leaked the reports to get back at the CIA. Get this:
We’ve reported many times on the four-year-long war the CIA has carried on against the Bush administration. Today the administration returned the favor by telling Bill Gertz of the Washington Times that the intelligence community failed to foresee the recent North Korean nuclear test.
Of course, this isn’t really about North Korea. It’s about making excuses for George W. Bush’s sorry ass and setting up a scapegoat to take the blame. Oh, and selectively leaking intelligence for political purposes. Same old, same old.