Inside the Ring

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So far, the administration has no plans for the president to cancel his planned trip to Beijing in August for the Olympics opening ceremony, or for other punitive measures such as sanctions, or curbing U.S.-China military exchanges.

“I think up and down the line we’ve let them know,” Mr. Hill said of U.S. protests against the crackdown, which led to the deaths of about 100 people, according to human rights groups.

“The trick is to try and stabilize the situation and try to encourage the Chinese to understand that getting into a dialogue with the Dalai Lama is probably the best way to get through this,” he said, referring to the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader.

The U.S. advice has been given to the Chinese both publicly and privately for years, “and it’s advice the Chinese have not decided to take.”

Mr. Hill said the People's Armed Police (PAP), as the communist security forces are called, was called in after a crackdown on Buddhist monks triggered widespread unrest, including violence against Han Chinese and their businesses in Tibet. “We understand that it is the PAP that is engaged in this. The PLA has not been directly engaged,” Mr. Hill said.

Some defense officials favor curbing U.S. military contacts with the Chinese as a result of China's military crackdown. Critics of the exchange program in Congress have said the exchanges remain one-sided in favoring China's military, which has not reciprocated U.S. visits and access.

Analysts’ funk

Deputy Director of National Intelligence for Analysis Tom Fingar has given several recent speeches praising supposed improvements in U.S. intelligence analysis in the aftermath of the Iraq weapons of mass destruction failure.

But a new report by the private Rand Corp. stated that problems remain with U.S. intelligence analysis and that new intelligence failures are likely.

The report, “Assessing the Tradecraft of Intelligence Analysis,” said interviews with analysts at the CIA, Defense Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency and other agencies revealed a common concern among analysts is that “the intelligence community used to do analysis but mostly now does reporting.”

The report said the intelligence analysis community is perceived widely as in trouble. “By some lights, both the number and the rate of analytic failures seem to be accelerating, and the consequence of them may be increasing dramatically,” the report said.

The report lists some of the major intelligence failures over the decades, including a 1948 prediction that the Soviet Union was five to 10 years from a nuclear bomb yet detonated one a year later.

Other failures included a false “bomber gap” with Moscow in the 1950s, the false 1960s estimate that Moscow would not deploy nuclear weapons in Cuba, disproved by the Cuban missile crisis, and persistent shortfalls in analyzing Soviet military capabilities in the 1970s.

More recent failures included missing the Soviet Union’s coming collapse in the 1980s, the United Nations’ discovery in 1991 that Iraq had a more extensive nuclear program than the CIA predicted, and the failure to predict the Indian and Pakistani nuclear tests in 1998.

In 1998, also, U.S. warplanes accidentally bombed the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade “as a result of erroneous target information provided by the CIA.”

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