Friday, October 16, 2009

U.S. Considers a New Assessment of Iran Threat

In today's Wall Street Journal, Siobhan Gorman and Jay Solomon report that U.S. spy agencies are considering whether to rewrite the 2007 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) which concluded, "We judge with high confidence that in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program."  Considering?  Considering? From the moment the NIE was released, devastating contradictions to its findings began to emerge.  Remember this?
The Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), Germany's foreign intelligence agency, has amassed evidence of a sophisticated Iranian nuclear weapons program that continued beyond 2003. This usually classified information comes courtesy of Germany's highest state-security court. In a 30-page legal opinion on March 26 and a May 27 press release in a case about possible illegal trading with Iran, a special national security panel of the Federal Supreme Court in Karlsruhe cites from a May 2008 BND report, saying the agency "showed comprehensively" that "development work on nuclear weapons can be observed in Iran even after 2003."
Did you ever see this from the Heritage Foundation?
A senior British official anonymously revealed that British intelligence analysts suspect that Iranian officials, knowing their phones were tapped, delib­erately deceived U.S. intelligence monitors with false information:
"We are skeptical. We want to know what the basis of it is, where did it come from? Was it on the basis of the defector? Was it on the basis of intercept material? They say things on the phone because they know we are up on the phones. They say black is white. They will say anything to throw us off."
And predictably, this:
The U.S. assessment is flat-out wrong, say Israeli leaders; Iran's covert weapons program is very much alive. Israel cannot afford the luxury of equivocating, given the mortal danger presented by an Iranian bomb. If the U.S. fails to act on the danger (recognized by the NIE) that Iran's activities could still be used to create a bomb, the Jewish State will be forced to act alone.
And what about the 3000 centifuge facility in Qom? Western intelligence agencies have known about it for years, but somehow, it was omitted from the NIE, giving Russia's Putin a robust, if transient PR boost and the chance to say about Iran, "see, I told you so"; and giving Iran what it always gets. More time to build a nuclear weapon.

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