Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The NIE: what won't be above the fold in the Times

The National Intelligence Estimate's executive summary opens with this sentence: We judge the US Homeland will face a persistent and evolving terrorist threat over the next three years..

The over-under on which paragraph this will be mentioned in tomorrow's New York Times is 18.

Paragraph 2: We assess that greatly increased worldwide counterterrorism efforts over the past five years have constrained the ability of al-Qa’ida to attack the US Homeland again and have led terrorist groups to perceive the Homeland as a harder target to strike than on 9/11. These measures have helped disrupt known plots against the United States since 9/11.

The odds of that sentence appearing in a Maureen Dowd column are slightly less than the chance I'll be struck by a meteorite while playing outfield for the Yankees.


...we judge that the United States currently is in a heightened threat environment... al-Qa’ida’s Homeland plotting is likely to continue to focus on prominent political, economic, and infrastructure targets with the goal of producing mass casualties, visually dramatic destruction, significant economic aftershocks, and/or fear among the US population...

...al-Qa’ida will continue to try to acquire and employ chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear material in attacks and would not hesitate to use them if it develops what it deems is sufficient capability... this internal Muslim terrorist threat is not likely to be as severe as it is in Europe, however...

That's what the NIE truly says. My guess is we'll see front-page coverage of a pregnant, six-headed cow that can harmonize the chorus of "Love me tender" before the Times covers these assessments.

To make matter worse, Ace points out that we hit another grim milestone today.

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