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LETTERS TO THE TIMES

Intelligence Analyses Need a Second Look

August 11, 2004

Lawrence Korb is mistaken to reject the concept that major intelligence analyses should be subject to a Team B review ("It's Time to Bench 'Team B,' " Commentary, Aug. 8). Had this occurred with regard to the pre-Iraq war analyses, it is likely, based on the 9/11 commission report, that the common belief that Iraq had WMD would have been disputed.

What Korb's view means is that a politicized Team B report is worthless and, indeed, harmful. Still, it seems clear that an objective Team B report is essential when the issue before the country, as in Iraq, is war or peace. A key problem with the National Intelligence Estimate for the Iraq war was that the analysts' reports were diluted and simplified at the same time Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of State Colin Powell were, de facto, acting as Team B and, as a result, the review process lost its way.

Robert C. Gusman

Calabasas

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