National Intelligence

Estimate provides bleak assessment of Iraq security

A highly classified National Intelligence Estimate provides a pessimistic assessment about the future security and stability of Iraq. The outlook, assembled by some of the government's most senior analysts this summer, concludes the best that can be hoped for is a tenuous security situation and the worst case is outright civil war. The National Intelligence Council looked at political, economic and security conditions. An official who didn't want to be identified says the intelligence estimate prepared for President Bush considered the window of time between July and the end of 2005. But the official noted that the roughly 50-page document draws on intelligence community assessments from January 2003. That was before the US-led invasion of Iraq and the subsequent deteriorating security situation. The estimate contrasts with more upbeat public comments by Bush and his senior aides.