Burying the Lede
While both Petraeus and the recent Pentagon report emphasized improved statistics over the past three months, the intelligence community generally declines to declare trends based on data measured in periods shorter than six months to a year. Several senior intelligence officials said last week that most numerical indicators appear to be moving in a uniformly positive direction in the nearly two months since the intelligence estimate's data cutoff -- although they said it is too early to determine definitive trends.Got that?
First off, there's sure to be outrage from the Republicans, that the Washington Post had the temerity to question the veracity of The General Who's Patriotism Shall Not Be Questioned (despite the fact that he is a Bush administration shill who cares only about getting his next star).
But, probably most importantly, the article is stating as a matter of normal practice that the intelligence agencies don't declare trends based on only 2-3 months data. Why you ask? Because rather than a trend, it might just be that even terrorists don't like to work in 120 degree temperatures, and this could simply be an abberation, not a trend, that's why.
I'm surprised that no Senate staffer primed his/her boss with that tidbit, but then again, all of the Senators were busy pontificating rather than asking questions of the General.