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Friday, October 16, 2009

US 'considering rewriting' 2007 National Intelligence Estimate on Iran

The Wall Street Journal reports that the United States intelligence agencies are considering rewriting the 2007 National Intelligence Assessment on Iran, which concluded that Iran had stopped developing nuclear weapons in 2003 and took the military option out of George W. Bush's hands.
The intelligence agencies' rethink comes as pressure is mounting on Capitol Hill, and among U.S. allies, for the Obama administration to redo the 2007 assessment, after a string of recent revelations about Tehran's nuclear program.


So far, intelligence officials are not "ready to declare that invalid," a senior U.S. intelligence official said, emphasizing that the judgment covered the 2003-2007 time frame only. That leaves room for a reassessment of the period since the December 2007 report was completed, the official suggested.

The spy agencies "have a lot more information since we last did" a national intelligence estimate, the official said. Some of it "tracks precisely with what we've seen before," while other information "causes us to reassess what we've seen before," the official added.

If undertaken, a new NIE likely wouldn't be available for months.


A shift in the U.S. intelligence community's official stance -- concluding Iran restarted its nuclear weapons work or that Iran's ambitions have ramped up -- could significantly affect President Barack Obama's efforts to use diplomacy to contain Tehran's capabilities.
Let's say that I doubt that last sentence. I find it hard to believe that there is ANYTHING that is going to motivate President Obumbler to go to war against Iran. He has staked his presidency on 'engagement,' and while he may be willing to see 'engagement' fail (and Israel - God forbid - destroyed) and say 'we tried,' I doubt he is willing to go to war with Iran and certainly not while he is pursuing the 'just war' in Afghanistan.... Well, sort of pursuing....
"At some point in the near future, our analytic community is going to want to press the reset button on our judgments on intent and weaponization in light of Qom and other information we're receiving," the senior intelligence official said, referring to Mr. Obama's recent revelation that Tehran was secretly assembling a uranium-enrichment facility at a military base outside the holy city of Qom.

Intelligence analysts have been plying the White House with shorter two- or three-page analyses on Iran, and Vice President Joe Biden's office and National Security Council officials have expressed interest in a new estimate, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Representatives for the director of national intelligence, the vice president and the NSC declined to comment.
Can someone please promise me that once the current occupant of the White House has been put out to pasture, the words "reset button" will leave our political discourse just as the words "kinder, gentler" have left our political discourse once Bush left? "Reset button" is just about the biggest fraud I've heard in the last nine months.

Anyway, my guess is that the NIE will be rewritten but far too late to have any effect, and that Obama wouldn't do anything with it anyway.

What could go wrong?


At 5:48 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Nothing will happen on Iran. There is no indication the world wants to hold any kind of line against the Islamic regime.

Don't hold your breath waiting for the US to suddenly start getting tougher on Iran.

Hopenchange, indeed


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