's Mark Hosenball and Mike Isikoff say
the Iraq NIE is barely begun:
At the time the Iraq study was first proposed, intelligence sources said there was some pressure on agencies to produce the paper so it would be available before the November congressional electionsâeven if its contents remained classified, as is customary with such documents.
But as of this week, one official said, Negroponte's office was still exchanging messages with the agencies working on the paper about the document's "terms of reference"âthe broad outlines of questions which the new estimate is expected to answer. Given that its structure has still not been agreed, the likelihood of the Iraq paper being completed before the midterm elections has become remote; officials now are talking about finishing it by next January. . . .
Like the newly released NIE on terrorism, the upcoming intelligence estimate on Iraq is likely to contrast with public pronouncements of progress from the White House. In secret papers and briefings over the last 18 months, intelligence professionals have repeatedly portrayed a bleak picture in which disorder in Iraq appears to be growing rather than receding.
They also warn that there's another dangerous report that's in the wings: an "up-to-date assessment of the progressâor lack thereofâthat the government of Iran is making in its alleged efforts to develop nuclear weapons." No word on its status.