Wednesday, February 03, 2010

New Intel. report says Iran not developing nukes

Just last week President Obama in his State of the Union claimed Iran was, along with North Korea, “violating international agreements in pursuit of nuclear weapons. . . . That's why the international community is more united, and the Islamic Republic of Iran is more isolated. And as Iran's leaders continue to ignore their obligations, there should be no doubt: They, too, will face growing consequences. That is a promise.”

In the the 2010 National Intelligence Estimate Annual Threat Assessment (pdf) -- representing the consensus view of all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies -- Obama’s director of national intelligence, Admiral Dennis Blair, calls him a liar. In a filing with the Senate Intelligence Committee, Blair declares that “Iran is keeping open the option to develop nuclear weapons in part by developing various nuclear capabilities that bring it closer to being able to produce such weapons, should it choose to do so. We do not know, however, if Iran will eventually decide to build nuclear weapons.

In other words, the U.S. intelligence community, which has every incentive to play up the threat of a foreign enemy, is declaring it has no solid evidence Iran is actively building nuclear weapons, contrary to numerous statements from Obama, his secretary of state, his UN ambassador and his press secretary. Politicians distorting intelligence to suit their political needs, dear liberals, is not a partisan affair.

The actual text of the NIE also rather starkly contrasts with a “scoop” reported by the Washington Times’ Eli Lake two weeks ago:
U.S. intelligence agencies now suspect that Iran never halted work on its nuclear arms program in 2003, as stated in a national intelligence estimate made public three years ago, U.S. officials said.
Differences among analysts now focus on whether the country's supreme leader has given or will soon give orders for full-scale production of nuclear weapons.
I eagerly await the correction.

Lake's last big story? The purported “outing” a few months back of the strangely still a free man Trita Parsi, head of the National-Iranian American Council, as a foreign agent working for Tehran. With that record of reporting false but ideologically convenient fairy tales, you can see why Lake is one of the few reporters the Rev. Sun Myung Moon has decided to keep around.

Spencer Ackerman, meanwhile, a liberal reporter/blogger/punk rocker for The Washington Independent, has yet to retract comments he made last month praising Lake for supposedly knowing that the intelligence community's original claim Iran had halted development of a nuclear weapon seven years ago, contained in the 2007 NIE, "was bullshit from the beginning" and would soon be formally overturned. Remember, though, that Ackerman is the same reporter who backed the Iraq war as writer for The New Republic, once credulously wrote of "Obama's focus on progressive goals for the Middle East" -- such as preventing Iran from getting nukes (and expanding the war on terror to Yemen, presumably) -- and claimed his national security team represented an "emerging progressive foreign policy consensus", so we should probably cut him some slack. When it comes to analysis, however, he should probably stick to Fugazi.

(H/T Steve Hynd)

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