Imminence (again)

By Jason Ralph

Last week’s release of the 7 May 2004 report of the CIA Inspector General gives reason to revisit the question of imminence which I have raised in previous posts.  There is a section in the report on the effectiveness of the EITs used by the CIA.  It gives what is now a familiar line that the EITs produced lots of actionable intelligence, which led to the capture of other AQ operatives.  This reinforces the evidence Bush gave in his September 6, 2006 speech. See also Cheney’s latest contribution.  Yet, as I suggested in previous posts, this not enough to justify the use of EITs given that the advice received from the OLC was that the EITs were to be used in situations where the CIA knew an attack was imminent.  The report does talk about specific threats – in Karachi, against Heathrow, a west coast 9/11, gas stations in NYC – but it does not provide specific evidence that the intelligence gathered from the EITs was actionable in a way that it prevented these attacks.  Indeed, on p.88 Helgerson states that his “review did not uncover any evidence that these plots were imminent”. The report then swiftly moves on to state that the DCI had stated in an interview that the intelligence derived from EITs was valuable.  Did anyone else think of Mandy Rice Davies at this point?

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About Jason Ralph

Jason Ralph, Professor of International Relations, University of Leeds
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