The top intelligence analysts for the CIA, Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) and Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) provided a Global Security Assessment to the full House Armed Services Committee today. Committee chairman Rep. Ike Skelton (D-Missouri) presided at the hearing briefed by ODNI deputy director for analysis Thomas Fingar (.pdf), CIA director for intelligence John Kringen, and DIA deputy director for analysis Robert Cardillo.
It was sobering. Some key points:
--Concern that Al Qaeda is getting more comfortable in "ungoverned spaces" of Pakistan, due to various factors, including a recent agreement by the Pakistani authorities with tribal leaders to leave Islamic militants in Waziristan alone. Intelligence community seeing more signs Al Qaeda is regrouping, able to train, and communicate in Pakistan (also of Taliban resurgence in Afghanistan). US policymakers have been reluctant to intervene in a major way in a sovereign country, especially as Musharraf's position is vulnerable, and out of the concern that what is now a problem in corners of Pakistan could explode across the whole country of 169 million people. There are a lot of potential terrorist recruits in Pakistan, one of the analysts said. (This focusing one's attention more by Pakistani analyst on BBC this morning comparing US relationship with Musharraf to "Shah of Iran" syndrome). Translation: duck.