This story has everything–aluminum tubes, flawed intel assessments, John Bolton…but, best of all, it introduces a term that will, no doubt, be associated with the Bush Administration in perpetuity, a terrific title for some future history of the Bush years: Mid-certainty. In this case, mid-certainty means that there are differing opinions in the intelligence community as to whether the North Koreans were actually trying to ramp up a secret nukes program. Which means there was… uncertainty. Which makes the intel 0-for-3 on the Axis of Evil: Wrong about Iraq, Mid-Certain about Korea and Mid-certain about Iran.
Which may explain why diplomacy is suddenly in vogue in the Bush administration. I am mid-certain, however, given the obstreperous cast of characters, whether diplomacy can succeed at this late date.
Update: Yglesias further clarifies the Times story.
Ooops: Swampland reader Derek points out, correctly, that the term of art is mid-confidence, not mid-certainty. My mistake. You just can’t trust the msm.