Skip to comments.Dark Suspicions about the NIE
Posted on 12/04/2007 8:44:58 AM PST by West Coast Conservative
A new National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), entitled Iran: Nuclear Intentions and Capabilities, has just dealt a serious blow to the argument some of us have been making that Iran is intent on building nuclear weapons and that neither diplomacy nor sanctions can prevent it from succeeding. Thus, this latest NIE judges with high confidence that in fall 2003 Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program; it judges with high confidence that the halt was directed primarily in response to increasing international scrutiny and pressure resulting from exposure of Irans previously undeclared nuclear work; it assesses with moderate confidence that Tehran had not restarted its nuclear weapons program as of mid-2007; it assesses, also with only moderate confidence that the halt to those activities represents a halt to Irans entire nuclear weapons program; but even if not, it judges with high confidence that Iran will not be technically capable of producing and reprocessing enough plutonium for a weapon before about 2015.
These findings are startling, not least because in key respects they represent a 180-degree turn from the conclusions of the last NIE on Irans nuclear program. For that one, issued in May 2005, assessed with high confidence that Iran currently is determined to develop nuclear weapons and to press on despite its international obligations and international pressure.
In other words, a full two years after Iran supposedly called a halt to its nuclear program, the intelligence community was still as sure as it ever is about anything that Iran was determined to build a nuclear arsenal. Why then should we believe it when it now tells us, and with the same high confidence, that Iran had already called a halt to its nuclear-weapons program in 2003? Similarly with the intelligence communitys reversal on the effectiveness of international pressure. In 2005, the NIE was highly confident that international pressure had not lessened Irans determination to develop nuclear weapons, and yet now, in 2007, the intelligence community is just as confident that international pressure had already done the trick by 2003.
It is worth remembering that in 2002, one of the conclusions offered by the NIE, also with high confidence, was that Iraq is continuing, and in some areas expanding its chemical, biological, nuclear, and missile programs contrary to UN resolutions. And another conclusion, offered with high confidence too, was that Iraq could make a nuclear weapon in months to a year once it acquires sufficient weapons-grade fissile material.
I must confess to suspecting that the intelligence community, having been excoriated for supporting the then universal belief that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction, is now bending over backward to counter what has up to now been a similarly universal view (including as is evident from the 2005 NIE, within the intelligence community itself) that Iran is hell-bent on developing nuclear weapons. I also suspect that, having been excoriated as well for minimizing the time it would take Saddam to add nuclear weapons to his arsenal, the intelligence community is now bending over backward to maximize the time it will take Iran to reach the same goal.
But I entertain an even darker suspicion. It is that the intelligence community, which has for some years now been leaking material calculated to undermine George W. Bush, is doing it again. This time the purpose is to head off the possibility that the President may order air strikes on the Iranian nuclear installations. As the intelligence community must know, if he were to do so, it would be as a last resort, only after it had become undeniable that neither negotiations nor sanctions could prevent Iran from getting the bomb, and only after being convinced that it was very close to succeeding. How better, then, to stop Bush in his tracks than by telling him and the world that such pressures have already been effective and that keeping them up could well bring about a halt to Irans entire nuclear weapons programespecially if the negotiations and sanctions were combined with a goodly dose of appeasement or, in the NIEs own euphemistic formulation, with opportunities for Iran to achieve its security, prestige, and goals for regional influence in other ways.
If this is what lies behind the release of the new NIE, its authors can take satisfaction in the response it has elicited from the White House. Quoth Stephen Hadley, George W. Bushs National Security Adviser: The estimate offers grounds for hope that the problem can be solved diplomaticallywithout the use of forceas the administration has been trying to do.
I should add that I offer these assessments and judgments with no more than moderate confidence.
I think that is a grand slam and correct.
Unfortunately, regardless of the motivations and conclusions of this NIE, it further undermines the credibility of any findings from the CIA.
Norman Podhoretz nails it! We have every right to be suspicious. A great essay.
Does anyone have a link to the actual text of the NIE??
They were lying then. Are they lying now?
If they’re lying now, were they lying then?
Same view here.
But we know with high confidence that these officials are the experts, the people who successfully predicted the Indian nukes and the Pakistani nukes, right? </sarcasm>
With 3,000 centrifuges running, they are up to something. And it won’t take until 2015 either.
Zero confidence in their report.
As an aside, we don't know what Israel will do yet if they think Iran is about to test a nuke.
Precisely why I don't believe a word of it. This is an attempt to tie the President's hands...nothing else.
Meanwhile, they are killing Americans in Iraq.
Bush should have taken out Syria's regime in 2003 or 2004, and worked to topple Iran from outside ever since. Instead, he has diddled while Iran learned.
This estimate virtually assures the world that Israel will act unilaterally...perhaps with nukes.
This is pretty much what I just said on an earlier thread. The CIA and the FBI are stuffed full of clintonoids. George Tenet pushed this line while he was CIA director, and there are plenty more like him still in the agency.
Regretably, Bush has failed to weed them out. So it is pretty certain that the folks who wrote this "intelligence estimate" are working for hillary. STILL working for hillary, since she and bill put them there in the first place.
They not only know nothing, they suspect nothing.
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