Intelligent Dissent: Al-Qaeda Plays Lead Role in Sunni Insurgency
Huge scoop by the New York Sun’s Eli Lake today, ‘Spies File A Dissent On Qaeda.’ Here’s an excerpt:
Disputing the view that Al Qaeda plays only a small role in the overall Sunni insurgency in Iraq, four of America's 16 intelligence agencies have obliged the Directorate of National Intelligence to provide a formal dissent to the 90-page classified Iraq assessment issued last week.
Those agencies include the Treasury Department's Office of Intelligence and Analysis, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, and the military intelligence bureaus of the Army and Marines.
According to two sources familiar with the addendum, the dissenters argue that the Baathist wing of the umbrella Sunni terrorist group has ceded authority to Abu Ayoub al-Masri, the leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq who replaced Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
The majority view, endorsed by the CIA, the National Security Agency, the State Department, and others, holds that a majority of the Sunni insurgency is still comprised of Baathists and Sunni nationalists.
In some ways, the majority view bolsters the argument that Iraq is not a central front in the war on Al Qaeda, making it politically easier to favor a precipitous withdrawal of American forces from the country. In this respect, it undermines President Bush's own recent arguments for his war strategy.