From NBC's Andrea Mitchell and Libby Leist
Intelligence officials told Congress today that the surge of U.S. troops in Iraq has not yet controlled the violence enough to permit political reconciliation to work.So far, it has been a bleak assessment on Iraq from the intelligence community about political prospects in the country.
Dr. Thomas Fingar, deputy director of national intelligence, told Congress that the surge has not yet had a sufficient effect on the violence in order to move the country to a place where the serious obstacles for political reconciliation can be overcome. Fingar added it would be difficult to bridge the political divides.
In prepared testimony, Fingar reports there have been "few appreciable gains" in the political situation following the surge. He adds that Al Qaeda's mass casualty attacks in Iraq are "effective accelerants" for sectarian violence. His judgement differs from frequent White House statements that Al Qaeda is more than an accelerant and is the main cause of violence in Iraq.