STREAMING LIVE WEDNESDAY: National Intelligence Council Chairman Thomas Fingar on What Goes Into a National Intelligence Estimate



(Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell chats with National Intelligence Council Chairman Thomas Fingar) To my knowledge, I’ve never met National Intelligence Council Chairman Tom Fingar, but I’ve been an admirer from afar of his work and approach to intelligence estimate construction. That doesn’t mean I’m always happy the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) products the public has been able to see, but I do know from a great number of intelligence professionals I’m privileged to pow-wow with from time to…

Send Bill Clinton to Tehran?



Well, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei doesn’t seem to be buying Barack Obama’s The Audacity of Hope or Dreams from my Father, but he does seem to be buying himself a copy of Bill Clinton’s My Life. If Obama does wrap up the Democratic nomination and win the White House, perhaps he should make Bill Clinton his emissary to help set up things for the meeting with Iran’s leadership that Obama says he wants to do after some “prep…

Why Is Obama Triangulating on Meeting with World Rivals?



I watched the debates and admired Barack Obama’s strongly expressed commitment to “engagement” — particularly with leaders of states with whom America was in conflict. This was a great contrast from Hillary Clinton’s positon — and even a starker contrast with McCain’s. Gallup has just released a poll showing that 2/3 of Americans favor this kind of engagement and that 6 in 10 Americans favor the President meeting Iran’s president. Best I can tell there were no qualifiers, asterisks, special…

Is It Over?



Tom Edsall thinks so — tomorrow night. Edsall writes: Hillary Clinton has summoned top donors and backers to attend her speech tomorrow night in an unusual move that is being widely interpreted to mean she plans to suspend her campaign and endorse Barack Obama. Obama and Clinton spoke Sunday night and agreed that their staffs should begin negotiations over post-primary activities. In addition to help raising money to pay off some $20 million-plus in debts, Clinton is known to want…

Today’s Internet vs. Tomorrow’s?



I’ve been listening for some time to a number of my friends who have been active in the “net neutrality” debate. To some, this is a technical debate that mostly means keeping our current content out on the internet — our current levels of blogging, of video, of emails — flowing relatively freely across different platforms, like phones, laptops, blackberries. . .you name it. For others, this debate has become a holy crusade that means a lot more — and…

Bush as Mad, Bad Commander-in-Chief



I haven’t had time to read General Ricardo Sanchez’s book on the Iraq War and his critique of Bush and his team, but super editor and writer Tom Engelhardt has. And in a fascinating treatment on bravado and the art of feigned (and real) insanity and irrationality among our nation’s conflict-obsessed presidents, Engelhardt reported this bit of Sanchez’s writing: “‘Kick ass!’ [Bush] said, echoing Colin Powell’s tough talk. ‘If somebody tries to stop the march to democracy, we will seek…

Sadness: Former NSA Director William Odom Dies



General William Odom, former Director of the National Security Agency, was an early critic of the Bush administration’s obsession with invading Iraq. He called the decision the worst strategic mistake in American military history in the last century and perhaps since the establishment of the Republic. Word has reached me that he died yesterday at 75. Odom was an occasional reader of The Washington Note — and I will greatly miss both him, his fiery twang, and the volumes of…