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Monday, February 21, 2011

New National Intelligence Estimate: Iran is half pregnant

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper testified before Congress on Wednesday regarding the new National Intelligence Estimate on Iran. The estimate seems to have trouble deciding whether Iran is pursuing a weapon or not. But pursuit of nuclear weapons is like pregnancy: You can't be half pregnant.
A comprehensive new U.S. intelligence report concludes that Iran has resumed research on key components for a nuclear weapon, but that the slow and scattered nature of the effort reflects renewed debate within the government over whether to build a bomb, U.S. officials said.

The finding represents a significant, if subtle, shift from the main conclusion of a controversial 2007 estimate that Iran had halted its weaponization work.

In finding that Iran has again begun taking steps toward designing a nuclear warhead, the new estimate is likely to be seen as erasing doubt that the earlier document created about Iran's intent.

But the new report reaches no firm conclusions about when Iran might acquire the bomb. The classified estimate has already triggered debate among American officials over whether Iran's apparent hesitation is the result of U.S.-backed sanctions meant to derail any weapons program.

Overall, the National Intelligence Estimate concludes that Iran is conducting "early-stage R&D work on aspects of the manufacturing process for a nuclear weapon," said a U.S. official familiar with the report. At the same time, the estimate describes "serious debate within the Iranian regime . . . on how to proceed."
One has to wonder how much pressure was placed on the intelligence agencies not to come right out and say that Iran is weaponizing.

Read the whole thing.

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At 8:55 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Carl - my guess is the Obama Administration didn't want to have its hand forced to stop "engagement" with Iran.

What could go wrong indeed


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