Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Obama v. the US intelligence community

President Obama today:
But what's clear is, is that they have not said yes to an agreement that Russia, China, Germany, France, Great Britain and the United States all said was a good deal and that the director of the IAEA said was the right thing to do and that Iran should accept.

That indicates to us that despite their posturing that their nuclear power is only for -- for civilian use, that they in fact continue to pursue a course that would lead to weaponization. And that is not acceptable to the international community, not just to the United States.
Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair in testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee:
“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.
Enriching uranium to 20 percent is far from the 97-99 percent enrichment necessary to build nuclear weapons, as the Associated Press conceded when it withdrew an article that conflated Iran's enrichment for medical research with a weapons program. And it's far from clear that enriching uranium to 20 percent, which some experts doubt Iran is even technically capable of doing or sustaining, "would lead to weaponization." In fact, it's so unclear that even the normally reliable U.S. intelligence community -- reliably alarmist, that is -- acknowledges it has no evidence Iran is developing nukes, or whether it will even "eventually decide" to do so. Iran's announcement it plans to increase its uranium enrichment level has no impact on that assessment of its technical capability and political will, or lack thereof, to build nuclear weapons.

But the president and officials in his administration continue to suggest otherwise, exaggerating the claims of their own intelligence officials as they make the case for more economic sanctions against Iran -- sanctions that will inevitably impact poor Iranians more than the elites. If Obama spoke in a faux-Texas drawl, perhaps there would be more outrage about that.

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