Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
December 06, 2007

The NIE is a Ruse

The Iran NIE starts with this (pdf):

We judge with high confidence that in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program

The above sentence has two chunks of information. One, Iran has no current nuclear weapon program, was greated with great relief, including by me, as it makes an attack on Iran during Bush's remaining reign unlikely. That chunk, which we are happy about, induces us to trust the second chunk and the whole NIE. We want to believe in this.

But by swallowing that chunk we are pressed to also automatically swallow the other part: the assertion that Iran really had a nuclear weapons program up to 2003.

As Chris Floyd notes:

By accepting the NIE report uncritically -- because part of it does indeed reveal that the Bushists have been lying about the Iranian threat for years -- they inadvertantly (or willingly) buy into the report's underlying assumption: that Iran really was building a bomb all these years, and only stopped because big bad Bush rolled into Baghdad and put the fear of God into them. Thus the report can be seen as accepting a bit of short-lived bad PR -- "NIE Report Muddies the Water in Administration Stance on Iran," etc. (and that's as bad as it would ever get with the corporate media) -- in exchange for "confirmation" of the Regime's basic contention (the dire threat posed by Iran) and another "justification" of the war crime in Iraq.

The 2005 NIE was not at all sure about the existence of a nuclear weapon program in Iran. As Dafna Linzer wrote back in 2005 about that now old NIE:

The new National Intelligence Estimate includes what the intelligence community views as credible indicators that Iran's military is conducting clandestine work. But the sources said there is no information linking those projects directly to a nuclear weapons program. What is clear is that Iran, mostly through its energy program, is acquiring and mastering technologies that could be diverted to bombmaking.

Did Iran hide stuff it should have disclosed? Yes it did. But one can understand this as Iran tried for a long time to acquire civil nuclear technology. All contracts Iran tried to make with the 'west' to this regard were broken under pressure from the U.S. At a point Iran decided that it would have to go clandestine to achieve something at all. By 2002 information about the clandestine efforts got out.

In 2003 the IAEA detailed (pdf) the issues Iran had hidden. All of these issues are explainable as parts of a civil nuclear program. Currently Iran and the IAEA have a work plan for clearing up the last IAEA questions on these issues. Iran is 'coming clean'. The IAEA has never asserted that Iran had a military nuclear program and I expect it to certify that there has never been one sometime next year.

The only issue that would be open after that, is Iran's adherence to the Additional Protocol of the NPT, which allows all over intrusive IAEA inspection. Iran voluntarily adhered to the protocol until its case was referred to the UN Security Council. If the Security Council hands the issue back to the IAEA, Iran is likely to agree to again allow intrusive inspections.

The IAEA has up to today not found ANY evidence for a nuclear weapon program in Iran. But the new NIE asserts this with "high confidence". Why can this be so?

Today's NYT has some spin that tries to explain:

American intelligence agencies reversed their view about the status of Iran’s nuclear weapons program after they obtained notes last summer from the deliberations of Iranian military officials involved in the weapons development program, senior intelligence and government officials said on Wednesday.

The notes included conversations and deliberations in which some of the military officials complained bitterly about what they termed a decision by their superiors in late 2003 to shut down a complex engineering effort to design nuclear weapons, including a warhead that could fit atop Iranian missiles.
...
The officials said they were confident that the notes confirmed the existence, up to 2003, of a weapons programs that American officials first learned about from a laptop computer, belonging to an Iranian engineer, that came into the hands of the C.I.A. in 2004.

Ok - lets get the timeline straight: First came The Laptop, which I believe is forgery (emptywheel also wrote about The Laptop: 1, 2, 3 and 4), then the U.S. obtained some "notes". 

Can you imagine high military folks in Iran writing "notes" in which they "bitterly complain" about government policies with regard to nukes? Wouldn't that risk their immediate demotion or something much worse?

No way I'll swallow that one.

If the U.S. has information on a Iranian weapon program it should give that to the IAEA so it can be verified. Unless the IAEA confirms this information, there is absolutely no reason to believe any of it.

That the U.S. is refusing to hand over its 'information' to the IAEA is simply an attempt to create new 'issues' and to make it impossible for Iran to defend itself against the accusations and the 'secret evidence'.

For now a hot war with Iran is unlikely. But a warm war on Iran is already going on. This is economic warfare.

Like with Iraq after 1991, the U.S. is trying to degrade Iran's economic capabilities through sanctions. It took 11 years to get Iraq so far down that it could not put up any resistance to the U.S. invasion. It will take longer with Iran, but the U.S. is trying hard.

When Bush declared the Al-Quds force, part of the Iranian military, a "terrorist organization" that was big news. But the steps really taken were not against the Al-Quds. The order Bush signed put the top three Iranian banks, Bank Melli, Bank Mellat and Bank Saderat, out of business with the "west".

Imagine Goldman-Sachs, Bank of America, and Citigroup being unable to conduct any foreign transaction. They wouldn't survive long and the U.S. economy would be hit hard.

The U.S., both parties, want to keep these instruments in place: slow economic death or at least diminishing Iran's capacities to a point where a future invasion becomes viable. The Carter doctrine is well alive.

The whole "nuclear issue" is only a device to achieve regime change and unrestricted hegemony of the U.S. over the Persian Gulf, its countries and oil.

Posted by b on December 6, 2007 at 05:07 AM | Permalink

Comments

Does anybody believe anything they are told by liars? There is absolutely no reason to believe anything that 'America' says. Does anyone really give a fuck?

Posted by: DM | Dec 6, 2007 5:32:43 AM | 1

The basic NIE argument I make above is made by other people too. See Is the Iran NIE a Trojan Horse? which gives further links.

Posted by: b | Dec 6, 2007 6:08:16 AM | 2

Pfaff with some strong but true words

There has, for example, been little or no honest mainstream public debate on Iran, Iraq, the Palestinians, the other Arabs, and Israel, in the United States since the Israeli war of 1967 and the Iranian revolution of 1979.

The debate has been systematically distorted by considerations of American government desire (and to a considerably lesser extent, that of the American public) for revenge on Iran for the 1979 humiliation of the United States, taking American diplomats prisoner, and the fiasco of the failed American rescue operation a year later.

It is distorted by Israel’s identification of Iran as its most important enemy in the region, now that Saddam Hussein’s Iraq has been destroyed, producing global efforts to exaggerate Iran’s regional and international importance, its military potential, and its threat to its neighbors.

It is distorted by a counterproductive American policy to dominate oil production and commerce in the Middle East and Persian Gulf, and to exaggerate the true significance of nuclear proliferation, whose interest to a state like Iran, confronting major nuclear powers, is wholly deterrent. Nuclear weapons have no offensive value for a state like Iran; they simply limit the freedom of action of others.
...
It has all been bunkum, if not calculated lie. There was no Iraq mass destruction weapons threat. There is no Iranian nuclear threat. It was never a serious proposition that Islamic terrorists had to be fought in Iraq to stop them from attacking American cities. There has never been a serious intention in Washington or Jerusalem to allow a two-states settlement in Israel-Palestine. Allied countries nonetheless took all these lies seriously. So did the Palestinians. So, for that matter, did the Iraqis, and so – most of all – did Americans. As the great American carnival showman P.T. Barnum said, “There’s a sucker born every minute.”

Posted by: b | Dec 6, 2007 6:10:05 AM | 3

#3

My sentiments exactly. like DM says.

Posted by: anna missed | Dec 6, 2007 6:17:51 AM | 4

"slow economic death or at least diminishing Iran's capacities to a point where a future invasion becomes viable"
That's probably Plan B, in case Plan A, direct military assault, isn't feasible. I also suppose Iran knows that. But then, given the current situation of the US, militarily, economically, and its global position in the international community, if the US is forced to try to use sanctions, then the whole thing means an American defeat in the end. It worked against Iraq because the US overall position strengthened throughout the 90s, China wasn't powerful enough and was playing nice to get US industries, Russia was vassalised, and US economy was booming under Clinton.
When the whole house of cards collapses in a few years, and US GDP is cut by half, I don't think Iran will have to fear much invasion, and US sanctions won't mean much.
Add peak oil and the fact that in a couple of years, most countries won't give a damn about sanctions but will just want access to the oil they'll so badly need, and the weakening of Iran through sanctions will be all but doomed.

Posted by: CluelessJoe | Dec 6, 2007 9:27:31 AM | 5

I quite agree with the Trojan Horse bit. I thought the statement that Iran had stopped working on a weapons programme in 2003 closely resembled the famous question: "And when did you stop beating your wife?"

However, pushing back the crisis by a few years, even if it comes back again, is not without its uses. The present cabal in the US administration is of a harshness and extremity, idiocy and simple madness, which is unlikely to be repeated, although the same general trend of policy seems likely to continue.

Posted by: Alex | Dec 6, 2007 9:31:41 AM | 6

OFAC list here. a number of iranian banks made the list.

Posted by: b real | Dec 6, 2007 11:06:20 AM | 7

"Does anybody believe anything they are told by liars? There is absolutely no reason to believe anything that 'America' says."

Indeed.

And as others have also said, the Iran NIE is a Trojan Horse, and imho , to be used either now or later. In others words, if the current criminals do not attack Iran, it has now set the ground work for war profit at a later time, perhaps, under, (hold your breath) the democrats!

The show must will go on...

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Dec 6, 2007 12:27:33 PM | 8

"Does anybody believe anything they are told by liars? There is absolutely no reason to believe anything that 'America' says."

Indeed.

And as others have also said, the Iran NIE is a Trojan Horse, and imho , to be used either now or later. In others words, if the current criminals do not attack Iran, it has now set the ground work for war profit at a later time, perhaps, under, (hold your breath) the democrats!

The show must will go on...

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Dec 6, 2007 12:28:33 PM | 9

Oh yes, dearies...The New World Order Must Go On. Gaze upon your grim meat hook future.

Posted by: Ghost of Saddam Hussain | Dec 6, 2007 12:45:52 PM | 10

The NIE is worse than a ruse. It highlights a corrupt US intelligence bureaucracy and an evil but cowardly "elite". After a comprehensive cost/benefit analysis, most sane decision-makers realized that the costs of attacking Iran far outweigh any percieved benefits. The insane President and VP were (and probably still are) gung-ho for extending the great clash of civilizations. The NIE provides the rationale and the means to oppose any immediate military action against Iran.

Compare this to Iraq in 2002. The desire to hit the "ragheads" to show them we mean business, coupled with the belief that Iraq was so weakened by sanctions that an invasion would be a cakewalk, overwhelmed any analysis that Iraq did not pose any threat to the US whatsoever. It was not jut Bush, the MSM, and the Republicans, but also most of the Democrats (Kerry, Clinton, et al.) and most of the American people (who supported the invasion until the Iraqis started fighting back).

The Iranians should probably thank the Iraqi resistance for educating us on the costs of illegal military operations.

Posted by: SimplyLurking | Dec 6, 2007 1:05:04 PM | 11

test --- my comment was flagged as spam, what bout this one?

Posted by: Tangerine | Dec 6, 2007 1:17:46 PM | 12

The Iranians should probably thank the Iraqi resistance for educating us on the costs of illegal military operations.

Make that: "All Americans and the world at large owe a huge debt of gratitude to the Iraqi resistance for making the cost of illegal military operation unbearable." The price they have paid to achieve this has been beyond our ability to imagine.

Posted by: | Dec 6, 2007 1:47:04 PM | 13

tangerine, i'm getting the same "antispam filter" error msg when trying to post plain text. it appears to be filtering on the text of one of the fields or else the system is bugging out. (and in the past few days, everything i go to post requires the code intercept)

Posted by: b real | Dec 6, 2007 2:26:42 PM | 14

Word is being circulated that sanctions were effective in curbing Iran’s nuclear weapons program. First, as discussed above, Iran did not have a nuclear weapons program, and second, Iran voluntarily halted its enrichment program two years BEFORE sanctions wre imposed on it

Posted by: b real | Dec 6, 2007 2:28:14 PM | 15

@b real
@tangerine

Don't know what typepad is doing there, but I already kicked their a** on it.

Posted by: b | Dec 6, 2007 2:32:28 PM | 16

sometimes if you type the word soc-ialist (without the hyphen) you will be flagged because it has the "brand" Ci-alis enclosed.

Posted by: pb | Dec 6, 2007 5:10:55 PM | 17

faith in the comrades

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Dec 6, 2007 5:29:22 PM | 18

sorry, that should be on open thread, evidently

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Dec 6, 2007 6:07:36 PM | 19

And now, Sarkozy has shown just how much of an evil despicable piece of shit he is by fully agreeing with Bush's position. I truly, sincerely, really hope that one day the French will wake up, rebel, put him on trial, and then just shoot him.

Posted by: CluelessJoe | Dec 6, 2007 6:31:56 PM | 20

Also keep in mind Iraq was "softened up" by being pummelled by a coalition of major powers headed up by the US in Gulf War I, and after that hammered for twelve years by periodic air raids, some of them pretty heavy-duty, by the US and UK air forces. So even with the economic softening up, taking down Iran won't be the same deal that taking down Iraq was, not by a long shot.

Posted by: Loveandlight | Dec 6, 2007 8:42:40 PM | 21

Interesting that Moody and Toll both predict an economic slide through 2010, at which
point the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) will have their common currency, oil will be
bought and sold in that currency or EU's, Yen or Yuan, and through this period of the
next 2 to 3 years, the US Government, already at its pinnacle of incompetence, will be
transitioning from a revisionist anal retentive plutocracy into an open sore democracy
of sorts, the kind you find with alderman, bag drops and clandestine meetings in public
parking garages, but nothing in the way of a unified field theory of e pluribus unum,
tipping, sliding, rather smoothly, like some broken Titanic, into the abyssal depths,
arms linked and bravely singing Nearer My God To Thee as looters break down the doors.

Or maybe not! Hey, there's always carbon credits for selling windfarms door-to-door!

Posted by: Boddle Enfronte Ami | Dec 7, 2007 1:33:43 AM | 22

For the record:

From the beginning Iranian nuclear program had been civilian and Iran honors religious prohibition of nuclear arms, Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini said on Wednesday.


He welcomed the report on civilian nature of Iranian nuclear program by the US National Intelligence Estimates (NIE), but, at the same time strongly rejected allegations in the report that Iran had weapons program before 2003.

"Iran had never had weapons program to stop it in 2003," he said.

Hosseini said that Iranian nuclear activities had always been in line with Non-Proliferation Treaty and that the International Atomic Energy has verified non-diversion of Iranian nuclear program several times so far.

"The Supreme Leader has already made it clear that Iran respects the religious prohibition of nuclear arms and the international conventions consistent with the nuclear program." Hosseini said.

Posted by: b | Dec 7, 2007 2:28:49 AM | 23

I'm not so sure acceptance of the one (Iran currently has no nuclear weapons program) implies an automatic acceptance of the other (Iran once had a nuclear weapons program).

Sure Bushistas and other fellow travellers may want to try and drag that out at a later date, but we're far too close up to the time of the release of this NIE to be able to see how it fits into the larger scheme of things.

If we pull back a bit and look at National Intelligence Estimates during the BushCo years with our specially constructed retro-fitted Hindsight scope one thing becomes immediately apparent.

This NIE is a tiny pimple on the dogs hindquarters, it led nowhere, didn't take the world to war. In comparison to that other NIE, the one summarized by Powell's performing circus at the UN, which sticks out like dogs balls in comparison, because it led amerika into what will come to be regarded as the most stupid corrupt and murderous foreign policy an amerikan administration has implemented thus far.

NIE's, and more importantly the process by which intelligence is collated, sorted and winnowed in Washington won't have a ton of credibility for a long time yet. At least not until a major investigation followed by a set of fundamental reforms has been implemented.

Exactly what the neo-cons are hanging on like grim death trying to prevent. We all know the Cheney/Rumsfeld view of what a disaster the post Watergate Church Inquiry reforms were, but something similar will have to happen again. Until it does amerikan intelligence findings won't have credibility.

Everytime the new post 08 administration, which will have to make a big deal out of multi-lateral consultation whether it likes it or not, tries to use amerikan intelligence at the UN or any other multi-lateral forum they will cop the hairy eyeball from the sceptics, unless they have gone through some sort of publicly advertised 'reform' process.

now I'm not trying to say the reform will be genuine, it won't probably, but this is all just the usual window dressing anyway.

that same play to the crowd bullshit that these assholes negotiating ordinary humans' futures pull, means that any intelligence findings from bushCo years won't be worth jack shit.

Even though the new process will probably be no better, ie just as subject to political interference, anything from 'the bad old days' will be discounted. They will probably have a complete lexicon of jargon to describe why it is that BushCo intelligence aint worth shit.

As I have said elsewhere historic circumstances now mean that BushCo generated intelligence findings that reduce the demand for amerikan aggression won't demand rejection, however anything which does buttress an argument for aggression carries the taint of the WMD furphy and couldn't persuade a cat outta the rain.

The tide of war by amerika in the ME is on the ebb. That doesn't mean it's all OK because even though there won't be any new wars unless someone nukes Israel, the old shit is still going strong. and showing no signs of abating. Lots of humans are still dying in Iraq, maybe not as many as last xmas, but enough to need to be stopped asap.

Hundreds of human's whose only crime was to be a Muslim whilst living in a Muslim society are still locked up and quite a few are still minors even though they have been incarcerated at Guantanamo for more than 5 years, so how old were they when they were kidnapped?

The guard who ass fucked the young boy at Abu Graib, who claims he did it for his country to get the boy's dad to confess, still walks the streets of amerika, unpunished for his paedophilia. The video of that buggery along with other images of other rapes and tortures have been kept from amerikans, who need to know the depths their military fell to, otherwise nothing will be changed.

There are plenty of despicable atrocities which amerikan institutions have already committed which they need be held accountable for. That is a much better way of preventing future crimes than continuously worrying about stuff that may never happen. That can cause everyone to be regarded as alarmist then nothing gets listened to again whenever people speak for peace.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Dec 7, 2007 4:21:25 AM | 24

Yeah, I looked at my post to see if it contained some freaky sign-s but could see nothing. ... what I meant to say was: As b said somewhere, Iran had no nuclear program ever, as it stated, and the IAEA never denied, though El Baradei left the door open a crack - it is impossible to prove a negative. I heard him hint that he could do no more if he wanted to keep his post, in a TV interview.

Under the NNPT Iran has the right to develop nuclear power for peaceful purposes. Not allowing them that spells the end of the international order, agreements, treaties, kills off adherence, goodwill, negotiations, AIEA inspectors, and all the rest. Iran could not allow that. It could either insist on the international order being respected, or prepare for war. (To make it stark and short.)

Might one consider that the US moves against Iran- never meant to lead to war, according to me - had as *one* of their main aims specifically the destruction of that international order, returning greater, that is arbitrary and unlimited, power to those who already hold it, the ‘nuclear’ countries who are occupying those cosy armchairs on the Security Council, with the top dog position being awarded to the country that manages to dominate the others there?

It seems, after Iraq, a case of ‘so far but no further’ - chaos can only bite so much. (I’m optimistic right now.) Yugoslavia was a Democrat/Nato, humanitarian war, new colonialism with a vengeance; and Afgh. a sort of combo of clanking cold war skeletons, humanitarian bs, economic rapine, NATO demosntrations, the drug trade, oil company desires, etc. etc...The destruction of Iraq was signed on to long ago, when sanctions began, and so all the hype (yellowcake, bio war, green clawed dictator, etc.) worked. One time. Going further would completely void the whole structure, not that it isn’t half dead already..

Posted by: Tangerine | Dec 7, 2007 10:23:01 AM | 25

my darling tangerine

the empire is finished - it just doesn't know it. we owe a debt of gratitude to the resistance in iraq for revealing the hollowness of the 'military strength' of the empire, its last paper tiger. its only armnament now - is its madness - as it was for the nazis after stalingrad & kursk

ô yes they will soil the world with this madness. & the madness will no doubt create enormous casualties but it cannot hide that irrevocable & implacable fact - the empire is finished

when superstar models don't want your currency - you know it is finished except for the details

tangerine, don't know if you can get sky on cable - but i have the eerie feeling all its announcers wear nappies in case they shit themselves. in sky murdoch has merged life & birth covered in lies

& the so called experts continue to swim in their seas of shit

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Dec 7, 2007 10:50:48 AM | 26

Review of Iran Intelligence to Be Sought

Senate Republicans are planning to call for a congressional commission to investigate the conclusions of the new National Intelligence Estimate on Iran as well as the specific intelligence that went into it, according to congressional sources.

The move is the first official challenge, but it comes amid growing backlash from conservatives and neoconservatives unhappy about the assessment that Iran halted a clandestine nuclear weapons program four years ago.
...


Posted by: b | Dec 7, 2007 11:46:39 AM | 27

Pat Lang

I am told that the reason the conclusions of the NIE were released is that it was communicated to the White House that "intelligence career seniors were lined up to go to jail if necessary" if the document's gist were not given to the public. Translation? Someone in that group would have gone to the media "on the record" to disclose its contents.

It is no wonder that the AEI crowd and their congressional helpmates are running around with their hair on fire over this estimate. In sharp contrast to the ease with which the neocon Jacobins were able to control the content of the October 2002 NIE on Iraq, this time they failed utterly to use a national intelligence estimate as a propaganda tool.

Posted by: b | Dec 7, 2007 11:48:36 AM | 28

surely i meant birth & death, about murdoch evidently

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Dec 7, 2007 2:03:42 PM | 29

badger has a post up.. worthy of consideration.

Posted by: | Dec 7, 2007 10:32:27 PM | 30

Tangerine above: “Might one consider that the US moves against Iran- never meant to lead to war… one* of their main aims specifically the destruction of that international order, returning greater, that is arbitrary and unlimited, power to those who already hold it.

Hey, U.S. Senator John McCain wasn’t singing “Bomb bomb bomb; bomb Iran” because he liked the old Beach Boy song. The fact that this guy is still running for President shows the ignorance and/or depravity of our population. But as far as the goal – returning greater power to those who already have it – yeah, of course.


Regarding Debs #24,

There is little problem with U.S. (or Israeli Intelligence) regarding accuracy. The various people of the U.S. Intelligence Community, almost to the man or woman, were against the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq. What was “presented” as intelligence to the media and to the U.N. by the U.S. Secretary of State, Colin Powell, was pure propaganda. You are 100% correct when you said: ”Powell's performing circus at the UN … led amerika into what will come to be regarded as the most stupid corrupt and murderous foreign policy an amerikan administration has implemented thus far.”

Colin Powell knew that Saddam was not a threat, and the World leaders knew it. It was a stage show primarily for the populations of the U.S. and Britain, nothing more. Still today, every time most of our leaders talk, it is a show. And it will continue to be a show for a long time, even after 2008 here in America, unless responsible people are prosecuted on a different World stage. I’m certain you are aware of this, so I state the above only for further clarification. In addition, I comment here to illustrate my utter contempt for Colin Powell in hurting the people of America by turning them to war, and for his part in the genocide that has occurred in Iraq. Powell was the one man whom most easily, and without need for another’s help, could have prevented this catastrophe.

Bernhard is totally correct as he concludes:
”The U.S., both parties, want to keep these instruments in place: slow economic death or at least diminishing Iran's capacities to a point where a future invasion becomes viable. The Carter doctrine is well alive.
The whole "nuclear issue" is only a device to achieve regime change and unrestricted hegemony of the U.S. over the Persian Gulf, its countries and oil.”

Yes, we have seen this show before, almost the same playbook as the Iraq performance. This is an attempt at a repeat performance – so far, we are still in Act One of this Iran script. Hopefully, the curtain will close permanently before Act Two arrives, where new actors are already waiting and eager to take the stage. And this is all for the world’s benefit and pleasure – at least that’s what we are told. I suppose most of the actors believe this also.


Posted by: Rick | Dec 8, 2007 12:59:36 AM | 31

"Hopefully, the curtain will close permanently before Act Two arrives, where new actors are already waiting and eager to take the stage."

Indeed.


Iran Intelligence Report: More Psychological Warfare?

Snip:

The NIE claims that ‘Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003’. This report now in circulation, and being repeated by every media outlet, and as importantly, by way of word of mouth, is giving credibility to the warmongers that Iran actually had a nuclear weapons program, with the idea that ‘repetition begets belief’. Drumming home a false message, the White House will get the justification it needs to impose further sanctions, with the idea of escalating into a war.


As others have said, the Iran NIE is a Trojan Horse, and not the one you think. It is imho, to be used either now or later. In others words, if the current criminals do not attack Iran, it has now set the ground work for further war profit at a later time, perhaps, under, (hold your breath) the democrats!

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Dec 8, 2007 2:59:59 AM | 32

Ritter on the recent Iran NIE

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Dec 8, 2007 3:30:59 AM | 33

Happy Coincidence Week. Just after the CIA releases the NIE, ready to go jail rather than fall for Bu$hCo's lies on Iran...lo & behold...it comes out that the CIA destroyed torture tapes. And "the President" knew nothing about it. Cries everywhere that CIA destroyed evidence - obstruction of justice 'cuz they knew they were breaking the law...unconscionable they thunder across Washington...Something is seriously wrong at the CIA...Even "Democrat" Congress is braying...

No worry. Anticipating this report was coming out neoFascist Wolfowitz was appointed to Chief of WMD Evidence Manufacture at State Dept. last week, and the Great Ship Mad Fascist will soon be righted..

Posted by: jj | Dec 8, 2007 4:21:56 AM | 34

Interesting tidbits in a very interesting story in yesterday's WAPO (not sure if anyone has posted it yet on here)... About the whole process that was involved in arriving at the new NIE, and particularly, who knew what, when. From this piece we learn:

As they digested the new findings, Bush and his aides chose to focus on the part that confirmed their suspicions -- that Iran previously had a secret weapons program and might still restart it. In their discussions at the White House, officials said, no one suggested Bush tone down his public rhetoric or change his policy.

Still, they understood the sensitivity of the new conclusions. At first, Mike McConnell, the director of national intelligence, decided to keep the new findings secret, but reluctantly reversed course in a flurry of discussions last weekend out of fear of leaks and charges of a coverup, officials said. At that point, only the Israelis had gotten a heads-up. Congress, European allies and the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency were not given full briefings about the report until hours before it was released.

That irritated European allies. "The administration is going to pay a price for not allowing allies in on it at an earlier date," said Robert J. Einhorn, a former State Department nonproliferation official. "The French had carried the administration's water on this issue and really went out on a limb to get the European Union to adopt tough sanctions. And now the rug has been pulled out from under them."....

By mid-November, the agencies were ready to deliver their conclusions to the White House. Intelligence officials gave a preliminary briefing Nov. 15 in the Situation Room to Vice President Cheney, national security adviser Stephen J. Hadley and other senior officials.

The process was climaxing just as Bush was convening a Middle East peace conference in Annapolis, a meeting designed at least in part to rally the region against Iran. No one told participants about the new information, but on the same day they were gathering in Annapolis on Nov. 27, the National Intelligence Board met to finalize the new NIE. McConnell and others briefed Bush and Cheney the next day. Even though intelligence officials planned to keep it from the public, Bush later that day passed it on to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Cheney told Defense Minister Ehud Barak.

By last weekend, an intense discussion broke out about whether to keep it secret. "We knew it would leak, so honesty required that we get this out ahead, to prevent it from appearing to be cherry picking," said a top intelligence official. So McConnell reversed himself, and analysts scrambled over the weekend to draft a declassified version.

On Monday, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called counterparts in Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China, which have been negotiating a new set of sanctions against Iran. Foreign officials groused about how it was handled. Had they known before the [Annapolis?] summit, a senior Israeli official said, "I'm not sure we would have shown up."

Can anyone help me interpret that last quote? It doesn't make sense to me. Who is "they" -- the Americans or the Europeans? If it is the Americans, does that mean that this official states that Israel's only reason for going to Annapolis was its concern over the threat of nuclear weapons in Iran???

And don't we love it that the Israelis are our bosom buddy intimate confidantes and the entire rest of the world is just an "oh by the way..."??$%@$^%@?

Posted by: Bea | Dec 9, 2007 10:01:39 AM | 35

@Bea - while the article says the Europeans protested, neither Brown, nor Sarkozy or Merkel have changed their rethoric.

(Though Merkel, who turns out be neo-conned more and more each day, did get an earfull from business folks here.)

Posted by: b | Dec 9, 2007 11:38:51 AM | 36

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