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Wednesday, February 06, 2008

US spy chief retreats on National Intelligence Estimate on Iran

Writing in the New York Sun, Eli Lake reports that US National Intelligence director Michael McConnell is retreating from the National Intelligence Estimate on Iran that was issued in December. (Hat Tip: Cliff May)
At a hearing yesterday of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, the intelligence director, Michael McConnell, said, "If I had 'til now to think about it, I probably would change a few things." He later added, "I would change the way we describe the Iranian nuclear program. I would have included that there are the component parts, that the portion of it, maybe the least significant, had halted."

Mr. McConnell was referring to the specific Iranian program to design potential nuclear warheads, which the December estimate said had halted in 2003. But in his opening testimony, Mr. McConnell noted that two other components of the nuclear program were moving ahead — the enrichment of uranium, which he said was the most difficult part of making a bomb, and the development of long-range missiles capable of hitting North Africa and Europe.

...

Yesterday, Mr. McConnell struck a different tone. "Declared uranium enrichment efforts, which will enable the production of fissile material, continue. This is the most difficult challenge in nuclear production. Iran's efforts to perfect ballistic missiles that can reach North Africa and Europe also continue."

He went on, "We remain concerned about Iran's intentions and assess with moderate-to-high confidence that Tehran at a minimum is keeping open the option to develop nuclear weapons."
Unfortunately, McConnell's turnaround may be too late to re-open a military option on Iran for the Bush administration.

1 Comments:

At 5:45 AM, Blogger Kae Gregory said...

What an incredible self indictment of the intelligence agencies. He in as much, admits that they guessed. But not to worry, the next guess is sure to be better.

I've got to go... feeling a bit insecure right now.

Sheesh

 

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