Here’s the DNI Intel Report for this year. It represents the best of bureaucratic haggling, committee production values, and ambiguous ass covering.

At least it isn’t as insultingly bad as last year’s report. You can thank Congress for this useless agency.

The best intel comes from decentralized sources arguing and debating the evidence. The DNI tries to quiet the debate with a bureaucratic “concensus.” Any opinion has to be dumbed down to the point where it is non-controversial and completely useless.

We assess that greatly increased worldwide counterterrorism efforts over the past five years have constrained the ability of al-Qa’ida to attack the US Homeland again and have led terrorist groups to perceive the Homeland as a harder target to strike than on 9/11. These measures have helped disrupt known plots against the United States since 9/11.

Constrained is nice way of putting it. Al-Qaeda cannot move personel or finances between theatres easily anymore. This limits their capabilities to local resources. Groups in Northern Africa, the Middle East, East Asia, Europe, and the US have to operate indepedently.

We assess that al-Qa’ida will continue to enhance its capabilities to attack the Homeland through greater cooperation with regional terrorist groups. Of note, we assess that al-Qa’ida will probably seek to leverage the contacts and capabilities of al-Qa’ida in Iraq (AQI), its most visible and capable affiliate and the only one known to have expressed a desire to attack the Homeland. In addition, we assess that its association with AQI helps al-Qa’ida to energize the broader Sunni extremist community, raise resources, and to recruit and indoctrinate operatives, including for Homeland attacks.

An important, and strangely unreported, fact of this war is that al-Qaeda redirected the vast bulk of their resources to Iraq.

AQ largely withdrew from Afghanistan since the US invasion. Some of the leadership hide in Waziristan, but they act as spokespersons for a political movement. AQ’s recognizes Iraq as its primary battlefront and Zawahiri repeatedly calls for reinforcements to Iraq.

This limits AQ’s ability to support other wars across the world (likewise for the US). Both sides converged on Iraq.

Revolutionary Salafism, as a political ideology, is strongest in the Arab World. The war in Iraq brought it wars directly to its source. AQ decided to stake their future on successfully forcing the United States to withdraw. If they do so, they hope to set off a chain reaction and broaden the war across the Mid East.

AQI is the most capable Al-Qaeda unit in the world. If left alone, it will develop the ability to attack foreign targets as well.

The unclassified Intel report is empty of any analysis or useful information about the enemy.

So let’s look at a (minor) leak from the classified report: Iran is hosting an Al-Qaeda council.

One of two known Al Qaeda leadership councils meets regularly in eastern Iran, where the American intelligence community believes dozens of senior Al Qaeda leaders have reconstituted a good part of the terror conglomerate’s senior leadership structure.

This is intriguing. We knew that Ansar al-Islam (also known as Al-Qaeda in Kurdistan) fled to Iran after the Kurds and US expelled them from Iraq in 2003. The Iranian Revolutionary Guard provided sanctuary and support for the al-Qaeda group to launch attacks at Iraqi Kurdistan. It is not a major terror group and hasn’t caused much damage on its own. We also know that several AQI leaders have transited through Afghanistan and Iran to Iraq.

Hosting major al-Qaeda leaders implies a much deeper relationship. Iran is acting on the principle that the enemy of my enemy is my friend.

An intelligence official sympathetic to the view that it is a matter of Iranian policy to cooperate with Al Qaeda disputed the CIA and State Department view that the Quds Force is operating as a rogue force. “It is just impossible to believe that what the Quds Force does with Al Qaeda does not represent a decision of the government,” the official, who asked not to be identified, said. “It’s a bit like saying the directorate of operations for the CIA is not really carrying out U.S. policy.”

Can we abolish the CIA already? How can they seriously argue that the Quds Force does not act at the direction of the Iranian Government? That’s just retarded. The real question: is Iran hosting an al-Qaeda leadership council or not?