Last updated on: 5/30/2008 8:29:00 AM PST
What is a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE)?
General Reference (not clearly pro or con)
The US Senate Select Intelligence Committee (SSIC) provided a summary of the 2002 National Intelligence Estimate, "Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction Programs", in the July 7, 2004 "Report on the U.S. Intelligence Community's Pre-war Intelligence Assessments on Iraq":
"...according to the National Intelligence Council (NIC) and the Director of Central Intelligence (DCI), National Intelligence Estimates (NIE) are the IC's [Intelligence Community's] most authoritative written judgments concerning national security issues. The process by which the IC produces NIEs -- including the one on Iraqi WMD -- has been honed over nearly 30 years. According to the Central Intelligence Agency's (CIA) webpage, it is designed to provide policy makers in both the executive and legislative branches with the 'best, unvarnished, and unbiased information -- regardless of whether analytic judgments conform to U.S. policy."
July 7, 2004 - Report on the U.S. Intelligence Community's Pre-war Intelligence Assessments on Iraq (23.4 MB)
National Intelligence Estimate 2002 (2.27 MB)
Senate Select Intelligence Committee
The Council on Foreign Relations, in a July 15, 2004 article "Intelligence: National Intelligence Estimates," provided the following:
"What is a National Intelligence Estimate?
A National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) is the U.S. intelligence community's most authoritative, top-of-the-line written judgment on a specific national security issue. Representatives from key U.S. intelligence agencies participate in writing an estimate, which is then submitted to the president and other policy-makers.
Who is in charge of writing an NIE?
The National Intelligence Council (NIC), a special analytical office that reports directly to the director of central intelligence and is the intelligence community's "center for mid-term and long-term strategic thinking," according to the NIC website. The NIC employs 12 national intelligence officers (NIOs)--senior experts drawn from all agencies of the intelligence community and from outside the government--who, among their other responsibilities, head up the NIE writing process. The current chairman of the NIC is Robert L. Hutchings, a former director for European Affairs on the National Security Council and a special adviser to the secretary of state in the administration of former President George H.W. Bush.
What's the process for writing an NIE?
NIE drafting guidelines included in the July 9 Senate report describe three rough timeframes: a 'fast track' of two to three weeks, a 'normal track' of four to eight weeks, and a 'long track' of two months or more. The vice chairman of the NIC told Senate investigators that an NIE prepared in 60 days would be considered a very fast schedule and that NIEs typically take three to six months to complete."
July 15, 2004 - Council on Foreign Relations (CFR)