Sunday, March 01, 2009

The administration's muddied message on Iran

Iran has enough material for a nuclear weapon, says Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, picking up on a misleading and debunked interpretation of the latest report from the IAEA. But Secretary of Defense Robert Gates says Iran "is not close to a weapon at this point."

Confused? You're not alone, as the Obama administration has failed to coalesce around a unified message on Iran's nuclear program. The most visible administration officials, from the president to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, have all claimed Iran is developing nuclear weapons. CIA Director Leon Panetta has also claimed there is "no question" in his mind Iran is pursuing nukes.

On the other hand, the 2007 National Intelligence Estimate on Iran declares with "high confidence" that Iran ended whatever nuclear weapons program it may have had more than five years ago -- a conclusion that The Los Angeles Times says "U.S. officials now discount", but one which Director of National Intelligence Admiral Dennis Blair said just this past week remains valid.

Indeed, while claiming that Iran is, "at a minimum," keeping open the option to develop nuclear weapons, Blair told the House Select Intelligence Committee that Iran long ago halted its weapons activities:
"The halt, since 2003, in nuclear weapons design and weaponization was primarily in response to increasing international scrutiny and pressure, so it leads us to believe that some combination of threats of intensified internal scrutiny and pressures, along with opportunities for Iran to achieve its security goals, might prompt Tehran to extend the halt to some other nuclear weapons-related activities."
So while Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton overstate the intelligence on Iran's nuclear program, choosing politically convenient fear-mongering over politically inconvenient facts, the administration's top intelligence official reaffirms that while Iran may not have entirely innocent intentions, they ended their nuclear weapons program years ago. Under Bush, this would have merited a post at the slavishly pro-Democrat Think Progress as an example of the government's indefensible distortion of intelligence -- and rightly so.

Now the greatest threats to the Republic are opponents of the president's agenda and Rush Limbaugh. Who says elections don't change anything?

No comments:

Post a Comment