An Intelligence Briefing From The DNI

By Marc Ambinder
Thanks to the Federation of American Scientists, the Director of National Intelligence's recent  unclassified, written answers to questions from Senators are available. I've taken the liberty of pulling out the juicy bits:

** The relationship between the Afghanistan insurgency and Al Qaeda is complex, with the terrorist group providing some support. Calculating the overall size of the insurgency -- or even defining the insurgency -- is difficult.
** The intelligence community (IC) has no evidence that Iran has made the decision to enrich uranium, and does not believe Iran will do so soon given international pressure. The IC makes a distinction between what Iran _can_ do -- and what it has done or will do. The IC remains convinced that Iran wants to develop the capacity to build a nuclear weapon even if it will never actually build one.
** Iran is covertly supplying arms to Afghan insurgents even while claiming it is allied with the people of Afghanistan and has signed agreements with its government.
** The size of the Afghani National Army is about a tenth of what it needs to be.
** The IC judges it "unlikely" that the Taliban will invade Kabul by the end of the year.
** Al Qaeda will plot against the US for at least 20 more  years...
** "a conventional explosive" is Al Qaeda's weapon of choice right now.
** The majority of the IC believes that Iraq is on the road to stability, but a minority of analysts are more pessimistic.
** The intelligence community refuses to release an unclassified assessment of whether the Saudi Arabian detainee rehabilitation program is working or not.
** Sunni terrorists still view private Saudi Arabian donors as the linchpins of their financial base. 
** (Citing press reports), the IC believes that there is private Saudi tolerance for funding Hamas. 
** The IC seems to think that Saudi Arabia is making some progress in cracking down on terrorist financing.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2009/08/an-intelligence-briefing-from-the-dni/22880/