The following quoted material is a post by UPI intelligence corespondent Richard Sale on Ret. Colonel W. Patrick Lang's Sic Semper Tyrannis blog. Sale does not reveal any of his sources, so there are questions about its accuracy. This is some of the only speculation I've seen about the Negroponte move, and it seems to be getting attention from a number of intelligence focused blogs, such as ex-CIA analyst Larry Johnson's No Quarter.
This post by Larry Johnson about the changes in the intelligence community leadership is also recommended reading.
The general theme I've seen in all this commentary is that the intelligence community leadership is taking a firm swing in the direction of being under the DoD. Throughout all of it, there is a negative view of the Bush Administration's leadership choices, with all fingers pointing at Dick Cheney. The speculation is that the Bush Administration wants the intelligence community to produce the information it wants, rather than what it feels is correct, a la the pre-Iraq war intelligence. This isn't the least bit shocking.
Talk about weaknesses within the State Department pertaining to understanding of the Middle East has been abound for quite some time now. If nothing else, the Negroponte move is addressing those concerns.
My gut feeling is that there is a big piece of the picture missing, and sometime this week an interesting angle to this story will emerge. Maybe someone will go on the record with some details about the alleged domestic spying spat... (Update: It might be easier to connect the dots than I thought. Let's hope the Senate does so during confirmation hearings.)
Contrary to the bland stories in The New York Times and Washington Post of Friday, Negroponte did not go voluntarily to State from his job as director of intelligence. In fact, there was tremendous administration pressure to get him out of his current job. The chief cause of the quarrel involved Negroponte's balking at at request from Vice President Cheney to increase domestic collection by the National Security Agency on U.S. citizens.
Negroponte flatly refused, Cheney bridled, and from then on the pressure built to get rid of him. (The White House did not return phone calls, but there is nothing new is that.)
The Bush people, chiefly Cheney and the president, were already annoyed by the fact that the Negroponte group has been busy producing drafts of reports that predict utter disaster in Iraq and which are utterly opposed to any increase of troops. Cheney and Bush both flared in wrath over this. Of course, intelligence is simply evaluate... [ Read More (0.3k in body) ]