Now, there's a difference between the OSP and its precursor, the Policy Counter Terrorism Evaluation Group, but Edelman's rebuttal often conflates it, to refer in total to the OUSDP. And what's striking about Edelman's contention is that the substance of the OUSDP's work is not in fact in question. As his rebuttal states plainly, the office was designed to critique intelligence on the question of state sponsors of terrorism, and particularly Iraqi ties to al-Qaeda. A variation on this sentence appears several times in Edelman's report: "The result was a draft briefing on how these contacts might be viewed if one did not assume a priori that secular Baathists and Islamists would never cooperate." Indeed, in a June 4, 2003 Pentagon briefing, Feith described the PCTEG as something rather similar:
...it relied on reporting from the CIA and other parts of the intelligence community. Its job was to review this intelligence to help digest it for me and other policymakers, to help us develop Defense Department strategy for the war on terrorism. And as I said, it looked at these interrelationships among terrorist organizations and their state sponsors. It did not confine its review to Iraq or al Qaeda. I mean, it was looking at global terrorist networks and the full range of state sponsors and other sources of support for terrorist groups. Its main conclusion was that groups and states were willing to cooperate across philosophical, ideological lines.
From a legal standpoint, it may very well be that OUSDP's work didn't satisfy the statutory definition of intelligence activity -- which would help explain why the IG doesn't find the OSP to be illegal. But to say that the OUSDP's activities weren't intelligence-related is to draw on a legalism and shunt aside the question of propriety -- which is exactly what the IG's report criticizes. Edelman jibes the IG for presenting "no facts in the (IG's) Draft Report, or otherwise, supporting the assertion that this work was presented as 'intelligence assessments'."
That might come as a surprise to those who saw a briefing slide from Feith's office to then-deputy national security adviser Stephen Hadley that cited "Fundamental Problems With How (the Intelligence Community) Is Assessing Information."
Update: More on this here.