Rummy and the Spooks: New 'Snowflakes' Reveal a Grotesque Intel Failure
Who’s the enemy? the defense secretary begged to know in 2003.He couldn't get answers.
We’ve talked plenty about the big mistakes—9/11, no WMD in Iraq, the Bay of Pigs, and so forth, all the intelligence failures from Korea in 1950 to the Russian SolarWinds cyber heist revealed in December. All disconcerting, some far worse, measured in lives lost, treasures depleted, cities destroyed.
The world has little noted and may not remember the early months of what turned out to be the long, unfinished slogs in Iraq and Afghanistan, now rounding two decades. My melancholy about these events was prompted anew today by the publication of 35 previously classified shorthand memos, famously known as “snowflakes,” dashed off by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in the first months of our fateful plunge into Southwest Asia and the Middle East. They were obtained by the National Security Archive, a private research outfit that has become a national treasure since its founding in1985 by journalist extraordinaire Scott Armstrong.
A lot of self-protective officials despised this priva…