J. Michael McConnell's Annual Threat Assessment

J. Michael McConnell, the US Director of National Intelligence has released his Annual Threat Assessment to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. John Bolton wrote in the Wall Street Journal today that McConnell would need to explain the highly politicized National Intelligence Estimate from a few months ago. In fact, Bolton calls on him to repair the damage that NIE caused to the intelligence process let alone Bush's foreign policy.

I'll give the 47-page report a read when I get a spare moment, right now I don't have one.


Some important quotes:

Al-Qa’ida and its terrorist affiliates continue to pose significant threats to the United States at home and abroad, and al-Qa’ida’s central leadership based in the border area of Pakistan is its most dangerous component.

The summary:

We assess that al-Qa’ida’s Homeland plotting is likely to continue to focus on prominent political, economic, and infrastructure targets designed to produce mass casualties, visually dramatic destruction, significant economic aftershocks, and/or fear among the population.

Iran, and the NIE:

We assess in our recent NIE on this subject that warhead design and weaponization were halted, along with covert military uranium conversion- and enrichment-related activities. Declared uranium enrichment efforts, which will enable the production of fissile material, continue. This is the most difficult challenge in nuclear production. Iran’s efforts to perfect ballistic missiles that can reach North Africa and Europe also continue.

That doesn't seem so rosy to me.

When it comes to our technology infrastructure:

Our information infrastructure—including the internet, telecommunications networks, computer systems, and embedded processors and controllers in critical industries—increasingly is being targeted for exploitation and potentially for disruption or destruction, by a growing array of state and non-state adversaries. Over the past year, cyber exploitation activity has grown more sophisticated, more targeted, and more serious. The Intelligence Community expects these trends to continue in the coming year.


Access to stable and affordably priced energy supplies has long been a critical element of national security. Sustained increases in global demand and the interactive effects of energy with other issues have both magnified and broadened the significance of developments in the global energy system. Oil prices in late 2007 were near record levels and global spare production capacity is below the market’s preferred cushion of 3 to 4 million barrels per day (b/d).

Josh Poulson

Posted Tuesday, Feb 5 2008 10:06 AM

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Politics, Terrorism


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